Marketing is Dead – Long Live Marketing
His view of marketing is that the “traditional” definition and tools are no longer totally appropriate to this new environment. Let’s take a look at his evidence, which consists of three areas.
First, as Mr. Lee puts it, the “buyer’s decision journey” has changed from passive information coming to consumers (amidst tens of thousands a day) to interactive information gathering requested by consumers. The traditional journey, which begins with awareness and familiarity, continues, but now those decision steps are based on Internet searches, word-of-mouth, consumer reviews and other people to people efforts.
I don’t know about you, but before I make a significant purchase decision, I’m all over the net and call friends and family whose opinions I trust. To me, ‘significant’ doesn’t just mean big ticket.
His second point hits at the heart of being a CMO. Mr. Lee cites a 2011 global study of CEOs and decision makers by a London company called Fournaise Marketing Group that shows a significant loss of patience in marketing. Check out these survey results – 73% said CMOs “lack business credibility and are not the business growth generators they should be.” (Ouch.) 72% agreed that CMOs are always asking for more money but rarely explain how it will generate more business. Most devastating of all, 77% of those surveyed are “tired of all the talk about brand equity” and how this relates to financial equity. (Double Ouch.)
It seems to me that CMOs all over the world are 1) using old language to explain what is really “share of mind” but are stuck on the word “equity” from 20 years ago and 2) CEOs look at market expenditures and think costs, when they should be thinking investment.
Finally, he presents the notion that the traditional marketing process is out of date since the people behind it (agencies, business partners, consultants, etc.) don’t always relate to the consumer and present ideas that are not relevant. (It reminds me of the David Ogilvy quote, “The consumer isn’t a moron, she’s your wife.”)
However, I don’t agree about the criticism of the marketing process. The quality of marketing is a function of the vision and leadership of the CMO. Traditional or new “a fish stinks from the head down.”
Whether you agree with Mr. Lee or not, there are fundamental changes underway in marketing. And, I buy into his view of the future. It’s all about authenticity via people to people marketing, including: peer influence, community oriented marketing and customer relationships.
In the booze business, we’ve always known about the influencer role in brand choice. Choices that are based on “I’ll have what he’s having,” “What do you recommend?” “What’s the story behind that brand?”
It would appear that the world of general marketing might very well be moving to where we have always been. Maybe not all of the big players, but just ask the successful start up brands.