Whether war or business, communication is key

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Last month I wrote about the impending war with Iraq. Last week, CNN showed scenes of U.S. soldiers and jubilant Iraqis toppling a massive statue of Saddam Hussein in the center of Baghdad.

Unlike any war before it, the U.S.-led coalition’s military victories were chronicled in near real-time. Reporters accompanying front-line troops carried satellite-equipped video phones; network anchors and military commentators employed 3D maps and computer simulations to help explain breaking events on the battlefield; and Internet sites (ABC’s, in particular) offered 24/7 news—including live video feeds from downtown Baghdad—to a worldwide audience.

Communications played an enormous military role, too, from GPS-guided weapons to wireless headsets worn by soldiers.

On Page 1 in this issue, we start with a pair of articles about how trade publishers and b-to-b advertisers planned for, then reacted to, the war. In Senior Reporter Kate Maddox’s story, a communications manager for Dow AgroSciences explains why his company spread out its media schedule for a new product. "We knew the major networks would be focused on war coverage and would not be interested in hearing pitches on termite control," he said.

Unfortunately, such basic blocking and tackling still isn’t happening between sales and marketing departments, as Aberdeen Group’s Harry Watkins notes in his excellent column in our Special Report on sales software (Page 17). Watkins’ column begins: "There has long been a critical, crippling disconnect between the marketing and sales functions." His point-by-point recommendations for getting sales and marketing on the same team is a blueprint that should be required reading for both departments.

Assuming you’ve managed to bridge the sales/marketing gap, skip ahead to our other Special Report in this issue, an update on campaign management systems (Page 23). The report covers the latest systems for tracking and analyzing campaigns and includes a detailed vendor chart.

As contributing writer Roger Slavens puts it, "With marketers curtailing broad brand advertising, many have returned to traditional direct marketing strategies, both online and offline, to generate specific, measurable returns on their campaigns.

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