Monday, October 3, 2016

Marketing is More than BS

I have been a marketer for more than 30 years. And, as a brand strategy consultant, I have worked with more than 20 marketing agencies and 200 different companies and brands. Over time, I have heard people refer to marketing as "BS," "overhead," "the dark arts," "fluff," "a necessary evil," "disconnected from reality," "soft," "manipulation," and "baloney." 

If you have read my book Brand Aid or have been following my blog posts, you know that I disagree with these assessments. Marketing is a discipline that uses both the left and right sides of the brain, drawing on qualitative and quantitative research, sales metrics and brand equity measures but also tapping into human and creative insight. 

And, increasingly, one can measure the ROI of specific marketing programs, whether it is tracing online ads to views, click-throughs and product purchases or trade show investments to name and contact information acquisition, salesperson followup and, ultimately, sales. 

And each marketing sub-discipline has its own very specific skill set - marketing research, new product development, advertising, promotion, direct marketing, social media, mobile marketing, (big) data mining, retail merchandising, brand management, product management, pricing strategy, distribution strategy, brand licensing, public relations, guerrilla marketing, product marketing, sales support ... and there are many more. 

It bothers me when someone with no education or experience in any aspect of marketing thinks or says he or she "can do marketing." And I really don't like it when I hear someone say "a monkey can do marketing." Neither of these are true. 

While common sense and intuition regarding human motivation and behavior are important qualities of a successful marketer, they alone are not sufficient to create outstanding results. 

Admittedly, there are some in our profession who are less than well qualified while believing that they are fully qualified. This can be explained by the Dunning-Kruger effect

The one thing that writing Brand Aid has taught me is that there is more to marketing than meets the eye. There are many formulas, templates, metrics, rules of thumb, insights and other inputs that go into writing a winning marketing plan and developing a winning integrated marketing campaign. 

So the next time someone calls marketing "BS," don't take it personally but make sure you are not treating it that way but rather are a student and practitioner of all of the aspects of the art and science that comprise marketing.

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