There’s a renewed meme going around these days about marketing being dead somehow. Well, to paraphrase Mark Twain – the reports of the death of marketing are greatly exaggerated.
Look, the landscape in marketing has been rapidly shifting over the last ten years and mostly because consumers now have the ability to better control, block and share the messages they consume. I’ll grant you that bad marketing is dead, lame marketing is dead, one way marketing is dead, broadcast marketing is dead, shouting is dead, and ignoring your customers is dead.
The thing is, these things have always been dead, but it used to be that if you pushed enough money at them you could make them work a little.
Two articles in the last year, both titled Marketing Is Dead, (dead 1 and dead 2) seem to suggest that all of a sudden educating prospects, building communities, and exchanging value is, first and foremost, not marketing and, this is the amusing part, somehow a new concept.
I find it most ironic that dead 1 was written by an executive of a book publishing company – an industry on the brink of extinction due to a seeming unwillingness to keep up with this new world of marketing he describes.
The success of most every business book in the last ten years is due in large part to the author’s platform or ability to use the forms of marketing that this industry executive has now chronicled in his own successful book. So, I’m at a complete loss as to how he concludes marketing is dead.
The second, dead 2, was published in the Harvard Business Review and for proper context on the irony of this one I’ll turn to my friend Mitch Joel.
This is the kind of talk that comes from people that have never really understood what marketing is. They find in social networks where they can generate lots of fans or they can build a readership for their blog, but crossing the chasm to where you turn that tribe into paying customers most certainly takes marketing by the boatload.
In my first book, Duct Tape Marketing, again ironically published by the publishing company I alluded to above, I shared a definition of marketing as – getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you.
That’s what marketing is and always will be.
I meet on a quarterly basis with some of the most brilliant marketers in the world and I’m here to tell you marketing is not dead. These folks understand, and always have, the power of building a tribe, but they further understand how to turn that relationship into millions and millions of dollars of revenue and it’s a science.
There’s no question that marketers still playing the old game with the old tools are now finding their careers and businesses in peril.
But, there’s a strong and vibrant army of marketers that have always learned and adapted to each impending change. These are the people that have long understood the value of blogging, have long understood the value of educational content, have long understood how to integrate social with email, have long understood how to segment and match leads, and have long understood it’s all about the community.
Now, you can use the science and art of marketing for evil or for good, but suggesting that marketing is dead is one of the most naive claims I’ve ever heard.