During this episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Joseph Jaffe, co-founder at the HMS Beagle, author, consultant, keynote speaker and thought leader on marketing and change. Jaffe’s current book, “Built to Suck: The Inevitable Demise of the Corporation…and How to Save It?” addresses the ideas behind why companies are heading towards a collision course with their demise. Jaffe provides tangible ways to address how survival is a gift to right the wrongs to achieve preservation in our capitalist system. 

Jaffe talks about the failing of business models and why marketing has to get better and do so extremely fast. He notes that marketing alone may not be enough to save corporations and that capitalism itself need to evolve, too. Jaffe also breaks down what he feels are the four pillars of how not to suck, which include digital disruption, talent resurrection, customer obsession and corporate citizenship. Digital was always meant to disrupt and turn businesses on their heads. 

Jaffe talks about the HMS Beagle and its mission statement to help people adapt, “when we talk about digital, social and innovation and start-ups, at the end of the day, if you had to try and find one common thread that runs right through, it would be the ability to change.” 

He discusses how companies lose their competitive edge when they are scaling with such a huge global footprint that they struggle to adapt quickly, “‘overhead, in and of itself, has become this cement block that is kind of dragging us down to the bottom of the ocean.” He also talks about how “losing money is the enemy or at least the foil of short-term ROI,” and why meetings that are only creating more meetings without creating tangible solutions are filled with “oxygen invaders” that aren’t adding anything, and instead, are slowing down the process. 

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Where did Joseph start, and how did he get to where he is now? (01:55)
  • Why this book and why now? (05:32)
  • Are growth and scale a strength or a weakness? (11:03)
  • What does he mean by age, the nature of public ownership and culture? (18:57)
  • Joseph talks about short-term return-on-investment. (26:48)
  • What are the four pillars of not sucking? (30:24)
  • What is the survival planning canvas, and what value does it provide to companies? (37:10)
  • What should marketers do and not do these days? (43:01)
  • Is there an experience in Joseph Jaffee’s life that has defined who he is today? (48:03)
  • Do they have a Nando’s in London? (50:30)
  • What advice would he give to his younger self? (51:42)
  • What fuels Joseph to keep going in his career and life? (54:32)
  • Are there brands that he thinks we should pay attention to? (57:06)
  • Are there brands that he thinks we should pay attention to? (57:06)

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.