Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Integration Imperative

I had the pleasure of reading Suzanne C. Lowe's book, The Integration Imperative: Erasing Marketing and Business Development Silos - Once and for All - in Professional Service Firms. Before reading it, I was struck by David Maister's endorsement, "An amazing blend of insight and in-depth real world examples. All professional firm marketers and managers should read this book." I figured if David put his name to it, it must be valuable. Needless to say, it really is.

While the title suggests a concept with which most of us would agree, there's a difference between agreeing with it and being able to execute it in your organization. Marketing and business development should serve the organization, not the other way around. And they'll be most effective when their efforts are at a minimum, congruous and at best, synergistic. In many organizations, they are neither. Thus the need for such a book.

As I mentioned in my last post, Lowe has written more than a book that one reads and puts back on the shelf. It's a valuable resource, grounded in extensive research, worthy of constant reference for the professional services firm seeking to maximize its marketing and business development efforts. (By the way, its utility extends to any type organization). Lowe reminds us of the importance of believing and pursuing a mission and vision for our organization that's larger than ourselves. I can't think of a more valuable resource for the professional services firm - particularly during these tough economic times.

It reminds me of a book called The Customer Comes Second by Hal Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin Peters in that the concept is so simple, one wonders what the rest of the book could be about. I was amazed at the extent to which Rosenbluth's firm so consistently and completely delivered on its philosophy. As a result, I kept the book on my desk, constantly referring to it for new ideas and insights. The more I looked at it, the more I discovered. From my perspective, The Integration Imperative achieves the same result.

I'd recommend getting a copy and keeping it close at hand. Mine sits right next to Hal's book.

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