Marketing Must Change

As an ex marketing professor, I have always been interested in the evolution of marketing as a discipline. This week an interesting article that I read in Ad Age got me thinking more about the fact that marketing must change or what I observed in my 2004 book, Marketing as Strategy, “markets change faster than marketing”. As true today as was then.

The Ad Age article makes several salient points which I think are worth reflecting on both for marketers as well as non marketers.

  • The old model where one made a few 30 second advertisements a year and then blasted them on TV is over. This does not mean that these 30 second ads are not relevant anymore, only that marketers face a much more complex marketing landscape. What has exploded is the customer touch points, the need for quick responsive, and creativity. The observation by Brad Jakeman of Pepsi is spot on: “For a brand like Pepsi, it was once sufficient for us to produce four pieces of content a year — mainly TV — and we could spend about six to eight months developing that one piece of content and spend $1 million on each piece of film. Now, that four pieces has turned into 4,000; eight months has changed to eight days and eight hours; and budgets have not gone up.
  • The challenge of making both the block buster TV ads and the many small social media and e-commerce personalised interventions puts a stress on capabilities. Luke Taylor of Publicis observes this in the article: “There’s going to be a bifurcation between the folks who create amazing original content and big ideas … and the more nerdy specialists that do all that personalisation…people who understand data and omnichannel ultimately become the most responsible custodians of a company’s money and how to spend it. That is a shift.” However, the efforts of the two groups are interdependent and integration is needed to make them both more effective from the brand / company’s perspective.
  • The need for data analytics to fuse whatever happens in marketing makes the collaboration between CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and CIO (Chief Information Officer) much more necessary. While the traditional part of the CIO budgets may not increase anymore in traditional companies, the budget for data analytics will increase and it has to be housed somewhere, either with the CIO or the CMO. Someone has to orchestrate the spending on the various channels via what used to be silos in companies – PR (Public Relations), CIO, and CMO. Each of the three groups, who have differential and complementary capabilities, are needed to resolve this but talk very different languages. The integration could be in-house within the company, outsourced to a consultant or advertising agency, or managed by a new type of organisation.

Perhaps, looking at the immense need for personalisation and small interventions, one way to counter is to go the opposite way – Focus on and advertise the master brand more. Instead of finer and finer segmenting, just go more mass. Not sure I agree, but still anything that makes us think deeper is always good. The need to advertise and support the master brand is of course unquestioned.

Finally, an interview with a professor known to me and who does insightful work, David Bell of Wharton. David makes some insightful points about location and marketing. How we integrate the ability to deliver ad messages at the right location at the right time is a big challenge. Beyond that, is the entire “creepy” intrusive dimension but that requires a separate blog post 🙂



Magic Dust

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