In this newest C360 blog, respected regional economist Marla Dukharan, financier and CEO of Bitt Inc. Rawdon Adams, and regional marketer and Chair of GHA Inc. Greg Hoyos share their points of view on various issues.
The original theory of marketing embodied a shift away from supply-side economics; it was about allowing consumer demand to dictate the supply of goods of services, with production at their beck and call.
Well, the world tried it for a while, but it never really worked. In fact, marketers succeeded – by powerful advertising and distribution muscle – in largely shaping consumer demand towards what they produced anyway. Ask any of the huge packaged-goods international companies, or Apple. Marketing was hijacked and undermined by the forces of production.
But today, people are smarter, more informed and more demanding than ever. They know more about themselves than marketers do. And now they have access to goods from around the world. So marketing – as appropriated (perverted?) by the large companies – is over and consumer anarchy rules. Or does it?
I don’t believe we are living in a post marketing world. One of the aspects of marketing that always made me uncomfortable was how tough it was to measure its impact. Yet I could still admire the messaging and the research behind it. That’s still true – skilful messaging is an art.
What the digital world offers is the ability to quantify the impact of that art and fine tune it: stick with what works and dump what does not—fast! That’s all possible because it’s so easy to collect data in near real-time in the digital world. This simply opens up a wider vista for the industry to consider its messaging. So now we’re asking, did awareness go up and how much did sales rise by?
The challenge for marketers is merging the old and new, and the danger is probably over-reaction to the sheer quantity of noise coming at them from social media. But brands still need protection, nurturing and building; that job does not belong to a Facebook posse.
So maybe the real question is: Should marketing and PR work much closer together than they once did?
I am not sure whether we are living in a post-marketing world, because as an economist I can barely spell ‘marketing’, and my very basic understanding of it actually makes me cringe. That marketing people use not just data (which I fully support, and which you guys both discuss) but also ‘tricks’ premised upon human behavioural patterns to coerce people into buying things that they may not otherwise consume, is to me somewhere along the spectrum of cunning (e.g. harmless stuff like food, clothing and toys) to nefarious (junk food, sugary drinks, pharmaceuticals, alcohol and tobacco). So perhaps we don’t live in a post-marketing world, but one in which ‘marketing’ has morphed into a much more sophisticated and analytics-driven discipline.
Social media must have also changed the way ‘marketing’ is conducted, in a significant yet evolving way. What could possibly be more frustrating than to have an unpredictable and powerful reaction on social media that swiftly destroys the positive feelings for your product/service (think recent Dove and H&M ‘racist’ advertisements)?
And because we love drama – amplified by social media – it’s all the negative sentiment and not the love for your product that gets attention, and there goes your share of the wallet.
* Marla Dukharan is a regional economist.
* Rawdon Adams is a financier and CEO of Bitt Inc.
* Greg Hoyos is a regional marketer and Chair of GHA Inc.