26/03/2016

[En] Is the world upside down? (part 2 of 4)

Por

Managing Partner

This is the second of a four-parts article wondering on how marketing seems to have lost its inventiveness and irreverence, no longer being able to surprise, and on how finance seems to have reinvented itself and taken over the traditional marketing’s primary position in the corporate ladder.

 

Marketing has been more and more playing by the book. Indeed, what did the discipline of marketing invent (of significantly new) in the past thirty years? Marketing scholars are mostly studying the same issues that they were studying thirty years ago, disregarding the themes that they have borrowed from other disciplines. Marketing practitioners, disregarding some trendy twists and swings, dictated by form rather than by substance, basically do the same things they did thirty year ago. Certainly some improvements have been made and many things are now called by different names, but the pace of change in marketing has been dramatically slow in comparison with the pace of change of technology, the economy, and society overall. Resistance to change, rather than proactive innovation, has been the norm.

 

While technology has changed how billions of people communicate, have access to information, learn, shop, or, in just a single word, live, marketeers insist in following marketing’s long-held tenets. Unquestionably, people are watching much less television than they used to and, even when they watch it, they now have an array of means to just skip intrusive ads. Additionally, for a growing number of consumers, having the TV turned on does not necessarily mean that they are really watching it, as the usage of TV sets as wallpaper is spreading. Yet, despite these well-known facts, marketeers are still calculating GRPs with a meters technology that fails to capture this consumer behavior. Ignoring audience shifts, TV advertising remains the most important marketing communication channel. Whereas the Internet, social networks and mobile are more and more pervasive in people's daily life, the development and adoption of digital marketing by most companies, large and small, is falling behind the pace of change of these behavioral trends.

 

Most marketeers seem to have adopted an easygoing, risk-avoiding approach that keeps them inside their comfort zone. Not surprisingly, marketing effectiveness has been declining, in parallel with the decline of the credibility and influence of marketing within companies and in society. It is not by accident that, according to several surveys, the average tenure of CMO’s has never been shorter, being these days just a little more than a couple of years. Moreover, marketing has lost its halo of glamour and prestige and is no longer attracting the cleverest university students, which is a major threat to the future of the profession.

 

To conclude, it seems that marketing turned conservative, renouncing to its long-standing impetuosity and irreverence. And it also appears that this conservatism has been seriously harming both the discipline and the profession. Already for some time now, marketeers have been under unprecedented scrutiny, both from the inside (not delivering on their promises, unreliable, little accountability) and the outside (cheaters, useless, doing more harm than good) of companies. It does look like that marketeers turned too conservative for their own sake.

marketing finance businessdevelopment

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