Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Meet The New Year, Same As The Old Year.

In the past year, I've not posted that often. My reasoning was that after four years of blogging, I didn't think I had that much new to write. Marketing isn't rocket-science and genuinely new things don't come along all that often, so I was convinced that everybody must have heard it all before.

Of course, if that were true, the conference business would be in a parlous state indeed but the real point is that too many marketers are seduced by the new rather than the useful.

I'm not saying ignore the new. Far from it. It's your obligation to be aware of it, to understand it and to evaluate it. But, don't obsess about it to the expense of taking your eye of the ball. Some few elements of the new may have a medium to long term impact on your business, but they will do so in the medium to long term and that's not this year.

So, in 2011, dont think about new, think about better. Better may perhaps be something new, but it's more likely to be doing the old things much better.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Art Of Marketing.

"Paint what you see, not what you know."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Strategic Mismarketing.

Yahoo are pilloried for closing down a number of their acquisitions after failing to develop them. Nokia have been called the place where great ideas go to die for similar reason and Google, News International and many others have received similar appraisals.

Outside the digital world, we know that the vast majority of product launches fail and I've often repeated the dirty secret of investment banking that most mergers denude shareholder value.

It's all symptomatic of a failure to understand markets; the consequent pursuit of quantity of customers over quality of customers; and the failure to recall that realisation that having high quality (i.e. long-term) customers is dependent on exhibiting requires high quality customer-centric behaviour at all times.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Flash Helmuts.

BMW's cinema ad above is getting a lot of online attention, but to me it's all flash and no substance. The portentous nonsense at the start of the clip is the worst type of quasi justification that says everything about creative cleverness and nothing about creative relevance. It's an attention-grabbing gimmick that draws attention to the gimmick.

Until you can link the clever idea to a genuine marketing goal, the clever idea should stay in the drawer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pursue Greatness.

A new documentary focuses on Bruce Springsteen's recording of Darkness on The Edge of town back in 1977. In an aside he recalled his musical ambitions back then.

I didn't want to be rich.
I didn't want to be famous.
I just wanted to be great.

Not a bad marketing philosophy when you think about it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Fiddling With Value.

A woman and a friend sit in a coffee shop at a railway station. They're engrossed in their iPhones and serving staff later report that they also kept a close eye on their computers.

So much so that they didn't notice that the other package beneath their table had gone missing. All very 21st century. A busy environment, attention in one tech-related direction, thieves in the other. Nothing to write home about, except that the package contained a bow worth £62,000.

What does that tell us about our concept of value today? The social value of the phone connection and the related value of the computer seem to take precedence over the greater financial value of the package. The social tools were more important than the tools of her trade - for yes she was a violinist.

I don't know if that's a new phenomenon, but it's a timely reminder that value is constantly shifting depending on context and mood.

And yes the violin went missing too. It's apparently worth £1.2 million, but when you get into figures like that, you perhaps lose sight of what was really going on.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Future Of The Marketing Director

Everyone’s writing self-serving pieces about the future of advertising, yet few of them seem to realise that the true subject is the future of marketing. Central to that is the future of the marketing director, an important role that has, all too often, relegated itself to some kind of administrator of outsourcing.

The reversal of that trend starts with knowing what marketing really is: acknowledging that it’s not just promotion, that it involves every touch-point with customers (how ever tangential) and knowing therefore that it includes the work of a lot of departments outside one’s own.

This means that the classic role of evangelist must be for much more than simply the product/service, it must also evangelise on behalf of marketing itself as well as its specific aims within the company. The future of the marketing director will therefore involve:

The marketing of marketing.

Firstly, the Board and senior management have to be convinced of the value of marketing as an integral part of the product/service (in accounting terms, an element of cost of goods sold rather than an expense). Until this is achieved, marketing will be under-valued.

Relating marketing to corporate strategy.

By relating it directly to corporate strategy, the business credibility of marketing is enhanced. It also serves to ties in all stakeholders, most notably customer-facing staff. Moreover, it encourages longevity of vision and consistency of voice and thereby reduces short-term gimmickry.

Marketing to third parties.

The outsourcing of the creation of certain marketing elements may be inevitable, but your partners will serve you better if they are convinced of your mission. Faking such conviction is part of their job spec, but it’s better if they can truly be persuaded.

Becoming the account manager.

Being the manager not the outsourcer (internally with other departments and externally with third-parties) ensures a flattening of hierarchy, a continuous exchange of ideas and information and an increased ability to oversee processes so that there’s no need for sudden deadlines and rushed creativity.

Realism regarding your customers.

Acknowledging that you’re not marketing to your colleagues, your agencies or your imagined self is key. Spend lots of time with them - not in focus groups but in the real world – and know everything they do in relation to your product/service and to the rest of their lives.

Shaping the culture.

Marketing by creating the culture is more effective than marketing by interrupting the culture. The goal is to shape the ecosystem around and within your business through your interactions as described above and by all your promotional activities.

The result can be a unified marketing effort and that, after all, is what a marketing director should be ensuring.