It’s brand new world out there. 500 million tweets are sent every day. Amazon sells over 250 million products. Over 27,000 reviews are posted on Yelp every minute. The average U.S. TV home now receives 189 TV channels.
For decades, marketers plied their craft according to a simple formula: Advertising creates awareness which in turn produces sales. This was not, as many would argue, a mistaken belief. Virtually all of the great brands of the 20th century were built using that model and many still prosper with it today.
Everyone is an expert in marketing these days. And with social media, everyone is an ad critic. Not entirely a bad thing, but as marketers you need to know how to filter the noise. People need to understand the difference between STRATEGIC MARKETING, MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS and CHANNEL MARKETING.
Marketing used to be pretty simple. You developed a compelling message, used mass media to broadcast that message to large audiences and grew market share. Mostly, you aimed for the meaty part of the curve, where the law of averages conspired in your favour.
Great marketers have great guts. Leo Burnett didn’t need a legion of focus groups to come up with the Marlboro Man. Steve Jobs, arguably the greatest marketing mind ever, famously eschewed market research because he didn’t think customers knew what they wanted until he showed it to them.
Descriptions of how marketing is changing usually refer to new digital capabilities and media channels. But a more foundational transformation is also taking place - one that is elevating marketing into a critical, core company capability and shifting the scope of what marketing entails.
Marketing is often confused with promotion, but it’s more than that. As Peter Drucker put it, “the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” In truth, marketing is about insights more than anything else.
“Change is the dominant fact of life in every business today. And the ability to master and exploit change has become one of the most sought-after management skills. This is particularly true in marketing, where the very tempo of change is constantly quickening.”