Monday, August 27, 2012

Reports of Death of Marketing

Jerry Della Femina, Fairfax Cone, Rosser Reeves, William Marsteller, David Ogilvy, George Lois and Bill Bermbach are just a few names that came to mind at the coffee shop today. A professor friend of mine sent me an article someone wrote about marketing being dead. The e-mail from Dr. John Lewington got me thinking.  A part of that article (in Harvard Business Review) suggests the premise is supported by the fact that people don’t seem to be paying attention to advertising messages any more. Well shoot, ad guys have been making that point since the late 19th Century. People read what interests them. You have to break through the clutter. We are bombarded by thousands of commercial messages every day. You need a unique selling proposition. Use humor and you will increase the likelihood of breaking through. All of these lessons are part of the era leading up to the successful retro Mad Men TV drama. I will grant that the playing field has changed and the challenges facing marketers is certainly greater. Of course lot of the focus has shifted to technology, digital and social media. But, try to give credit where credit is due. Those icons of advertising, blazed a trail that leads us to this point in time. Go back and read some of the things they wrote and you will find plenty of relevance. We still lionize leaders in communications, design and marketing. Maybe now it is less likely to be coming from Madison Avenue but we still look for leadership that is essentially within the marketing realm. Innovation, customer capital and brand building via engagement with existing customers (retention) and new customers (acquisition) is still at the core of business success. 

To those who want to kill Marketing as a profession I would like to suggest a response borrowed from Mark Twain after hearing that his obituary had been published in the New York Journal: Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

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