Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12 Reasons Why Marketing Has Lost Its Dazzle.

The marketing profession has lost some of its mystique lately. If you take the time to read this list, you probably care about marketing and allied professions that include product, brand, advertising, public relations, communications and business development. Here are a dozen observations I offer as contributing the new realities of being a marketer.

1. Media is not about mass marketing anymore. In fact, success stories from Lady Gaga to political elections are living proof that it ain’t about buying primetime TV anymore. To move people you need to think about grass roots and social media.
2. Advertising Agencies have lost their grip on clients. Mad Men are no longer cornering the market on unique selling propositions and brand strategy. It can happen much more organically now and it does.
3. Public Relations might be more actively leading marketers. Flacks have a much better handle on measuring web content and contributing to the frenetic world of instant gratification of information. It doesn’t feel like marketing as much as it is swimming in a sea of Likes, Tweets and Blogs.
4. Marketing is the new “undecided” major in college. Marketing students are too often unclear about what it really means to study marketing. Unfortunately, a marketing major has absolutely no edge over a smart finance, accounting or economics major in the job market – even for so called marketing jobs.
5. Companies are reluctant to invest in Marketing. In tough times, Marketers are not making a strong enough case for the longer term equity and payback.
6. Marketing Communications is too often an afterthought. Instead of planning and maintaining an integrated marketing communications program the tail is wagging the dog. The marketing department is playing catch up instead of leading.
7. Marketers are generally pretty bad at measuring results. In a tough economy, the CEO wants a return on an investment THIS YEAR. (Sad but true and the marketing maven isn’t ready to defend him/herself.) The quest for market share is being replaced by the much more one-to-one interface with consumers.
8. Market Research and the discipline of studying consumer buying behavior is losing too. Research methodology isn’t funded and analytics are coming from web activity and pop culture instead.
9. The sales function is finally getting some respect. The new hero in business is the impresario who can understand the market and match it with customer services and a bundle of value that starts with (drum roll) personal selling. Sales. Marketing isn’t fighting with Sales anymore. The sales function is now leading the way with data to support its quick reactions to the marketplace.
10. No more bandwagon. People are able to be much more selective about products that meet their preferences and needs. Being an individual is much cooler than being a conformist. So now it’s not about keeping up with the Jones’ but rather about having your own personal brand.
11. Culture trumps marketing. Southwest Airlines, Starbuck’s, Apple and Google are just a few companies that show us that living the brand is much more powerful than trying to apply a sort of ivory tower and remote marketing function.
12. Marketing isn’t magic. It can’t reverse an economic downturn or invent a breakthrough in a vacuum.

Still I hope there are marketers out there who believe the principles of marketing still apply. I hope a few enlightened companies understand that a systematic and routine application of marketing programming can and should be a part of a winning and profitable corporate strategy. Go Team.

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