Brian Creath

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Marketing is Losing Its (Perceived) Value.

In Brand, Communications, Corporate Marketing, Marketing, Messaging, Strategy on April 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

The devaluation of marketing certainly hasn’t happened overnight. It is a generational trend. And the more pervasive technology becomes in the marketing world, the faster marketing (especially marketing strategy) is losing its perceived value.

In our experience over the past three decades, we have seen five (5) factors emerge as major contributors to this decline:

  1. The growing separation of business and marketing strategy and the inevitable question that follows: What value are we getting from marketing? This question starts with the board of directors and CEO, filtering down from executive management to those in charge of the marketing function.
  2. The devaluation of marketing strategy: a generational problem that continues to confuse tactics for strategy.
  3. The devolution of traditional marketing management, as strategic thinkers continue to be replaced by tactical ‘do-ers.’
  4. The accelerating speed of technology, converging with audience fragmentation and splintering communication distribution outlets.
  5. The divergence of internal disciplines, such as sales, marketing, operations and the executive suite. As these silos strengthen, so too does insular thinking. There’s no better example of this growing ‘disconnect’ than the separation of business and marketing strategy—to the point where marketing no longer truly fulfills its original intent.

It’s why we built Cohesion in the first place: to reestablish the value and purpose of marketing, based in the reality of today’s ever-changing business climate. And, to help organizations more effectively and consistently deliver relevance to their stakeholders.

(By the way, if your organization is ready to reestablish the value of its marketing, or if you’re simply looking for stronger brand and communications messaging, I know a firm that can help.)

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations successfully align structure, strategy and messaging to consistently deliver more relevance to stakeholders, here.

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Truth In Marketing. (Will anyone buy it?)

In Advertising, Brand, Business strategy, Communications, Corporate Marketing, Marketing, Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Pawn.Shop

We are experiencing a seminal turning point in the history of marketing: the power shift from company to consumer.

Until very recently, communications have been a one-way street, an imbalance that favored organizations. They have held all the power, reinforcing their decisions based on research conducted in artificial environments outside of true human experience. But no more. Today, social media is tilting power toward buyers for the first time in history, shifting the imbalance in the opposite direction. Now, customers have an instantaneous platform for telling the world how they feel and in what they believe.

In CMO Thought Leaders: The Rise of the Strategic Marketer, John Hayes, CMO at American Express stated, “In the 20th century, we did monologue marketing. We did most–if not all–the talking. And we expected the consumer to listen. Now, in the 21st century, we’ve moved to a dialogue. Consumers want to be heard. In fact, they will not tolerate not being heard.”

Which means that in the future, companies that tell the truth–where words mirror action–will succeed more often than those that don’t. Customers won’t buy anything less.

But there’s a problem. A problem so dark and secret that few would dare acknowledge its existence: Marketing isn’t very good at telling the truth. Never has been. Good at stretching it, yes. But telling it verbatim…hmmm, let me talk to legal.

Because business has been ‘talking at’ customers for so long, many a bad habit has crept in. With few, if any, checks and balances from customers, marketing has run amok with claims, promises and overstated benefits. With all the advancement made in the field of marketing, far too much of the underlying assumption is still founded in, “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

But to succeed, the craft must change. Marketing is no longer about driving a top-down message at customers. Today, marketing is about managing an active and ongoing conversation with customers–promising, yes, but delivering on that promise every time. And, working with customers to determine what that promise should be in the first place.

Perhaps Lincoln said it best: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” (By the way, if you need help finding the real truth about your business and brands, I know a firm with an approach that can help.)

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth, here.