Beware the Chimp! | Internet Marketing and Teamwork

October 23, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Chimps

If you've ever bemoaned the idea that your business was being run by a bunch of chimps, consider this: recent studies have shown that chimps possess superior short term memory (check out the video below at the 4:00 mark) than humans and quite possibly have a better sense of strategic planning than us.Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute set up a test for measuring competitive success. 6 chimps were given a head-to-head competitive game to play with food as the reward. Then the same game was then played by 16 students who received money for winning.
 The result?

Rahul Bhui, a grad student in Caltech's department of computational and neural systems, said that the chimps outperformed their human counterparts across the board. They played so well, in fact, that they bumped up against the theoretical success limit identified by Nobel Prize-winning game theorist John F. Nash, jr. (featured in the film "A Beautiful Mind"). 1

"Let's hire more chimps!" you say. Before you call the zoo, you might also want to consider the fact that competition is not always the best feature in an office team. Can you keep the competition aimed at your competitors, not each other?

The reason we don't live on the Planet of the Apes is that humans have the ability to transcend a short term goal for a much better, delayed objective. A successfully competitive individual is a very different animal than a successfully competitive group! Humans have a unique ability to set aside a personal agenda for the purpose of achieving a collective agenda that has the potential to yield much greater results than an individual could accomplish on her own.

While not at chimp level, we're still competitive beings- a great thing when a food supply is limited and there are rivals behind every bush.

But most businesses are a collective effort; so how do we maximize cooperation and save the competitiveness for the marketplace?

How do you attract customers, convert them to buyers, close the sale and exceed their expectations as a team? At United WebWorks, we are partial to internet marketing and inbound marketing as a solution. It not only works for the sales funnel, but can reduce competition between your teams. (Watch for a future blog about this...)

How can you humanize your employees?

Let's face it, Sales doesn’t appreciate internet marketing or any marketing for that matter. And both are suspicious of Customer Service. Sometimes all three act like chimps toward each other:

  • Keeping information secret, or hoarded
  • Complaining about each other to each other
  • Seeing each other as rivals for funding, approval, prestige
  • Protecting territory from perceived threats by those outside their specialty
  • Embarrassing the company because of the lack of timely cooperation
  • Time and energy wasted on protecting their own banana pile

Where to begin?

Establish the facts about your company. Your customers not only buy a product or service, but an entire experience. Marketing creates demand and awareness. Sales can paint a picture of what the buyer can expect, and persuade them to go for it. Customer Service is in charge of keeping the growing number of delighted customers happy.

When a business is small, everyone wears all three hats. When that business hires its first dedicated salesperson, a change begins. What was once an interconnected homogenous clump starts turning into a complex multi-cellular organism. This is not a bad thing.

  • Now Marketing is free to give full attention to increasing demand for your product
  • Now sales is free to go forth and close deals
  • And Customer Service is free to keep customers delighted
And yet, each specialty must be equally passionate about the transcendent vision of the entire operation.These are not new ideas, but is it time for a refresher for your people? It's easy to drift into a jungle mentality as the daily grind takes its toll. What have your people forgotten about? Is it time for a restructure? A foray into internet marketing or inbound marketing? Developing new communication channels? Even the physical setup of your employees spaces matters- do you need to rearrange the furniture?
Explore the possibilities! Click on our FREE Internet Marketing Assessment to start an evaluation process that focuses on internet marketing. At least it will spur your thinking about making needed changes.internet marketing assessment


Be honest about your core values. Companies that care only about the bottom line will show it. Corners will be cut, staffing will be overworked, quality will be lessened.

Companies that care about valuing customers will spend money and time on it. A look at your strategic plan and budget will tell you a lot about your core values.

Hire the right people. Be wary of a dynamic salesperson who can make it rain, but has nothing but contempt for "money-wasting marketing people." Ask them to own the vision and values of the business first, then allow them to grow into their role. Unload people who can't or won't do this. Any hint of territorialism must be dealt with quickly.

internet marketingAt United WebWorks we believe strongly in a team approach. When Sales has a problem, it's everyone's problem. When Marketing comes up with a great solution, everyone celebrates. When customers request a change or ask for advice, anyone is allowed to help. The talented people we have assembled know that they can rely each other.
If chimpanzees ever learn to do this, we're in trouble. They are already much stronger than us and almost smarter. If they learn to talk, don't be surprised to find yourself someday being studied in a lab by Coco and Caesar.


Topics: Inbound Marketing