What is “Marketing”?
Many so-called “Digital Marketers” believe that marketing is a synonym for advertising and promotion.
That’s OK… if they focus on the implementation of online promotional tactics AND IF those tactics follow genuinely valid marketing strategies set by someone who understands the true meaning of the word, “Marketing”.
I am occasionally attacked by self-taught promotional people, lacking formal marketing qualifications, who insist they know everything about marketing without a degree. Some are digital marketing people who (I think) see this as “protecting their turf”…
Asking them if they would respect a medical practitioner who was self-taught without studying to become a qualified doctor, only seems to increase their determined resistance to genuinely grasping my point – they don’t see it as an effort to open their minds.
I’ve had digital marketing experts refuse to even consider the definition offered by the world’s leading marketing experts or representative bodies such as The American Marketing Association, Philip Kotler, Peter Drucker, Theodore Levitt: It appears, the world’s experts know much less than people who have worked in Google ads and social media promotion for as little as two years! (I produced my first web site in 1996, have built web sites since ‘00s – but would not DARE call myself a web development expert by any means.)
I ponder why it is that some feel is so necessary to discard 100’s of years of tertiary research and study, business acumen and volumes of proven corporate reinforcement, the revolution that followed the birth of the discipline of Marketing and the thousands of corporations that prosper by it every day.
I was recently chastised by someone, who promotes herself as a digital marketing strategist, despite lacking any marketing qualifications. She justifies her claim because she is a self-taught google analytics user. She has a certificate in an unrelated field, and just over two years administrative marketing employment experience. Boy, did she flame me for suggesting that a Quora question be referred to a genuinely qualified marketing expert. She rejected globally approved definitions and insisted she knew better.
How do you feel about the definition of the word, marketing?
Of course, PART of Marketing is the management of marketing communications. Within the marketing mix, it is called “Promotion” and under that activity (the promotional mix) are the skill sets of advertising, sales promotion, PR and personal selling. These four components, when coordinated together to create synergy, are the MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS set and represent one eighth of the function of “Marketing”.
Marketing takes a lifetime to learn and no-one person can ever master it!
When we think about ALL THE ROLES that fall under the umbrella of marketing, it becomes blatantly apparent that you could study your whole life and not know it all.
Advertising alone, is a lifetime learning curve: From David Ogilvy to David Droga, no advertising guy knows it all about advertising. In specialist disciplines as diverse as loyalty, pricing, logistics, packaging, personal selling, category management, direct mail… and hundreds more ALL marketing activities, no one can know it all.
But at least realizing the reach, co-dependency and significance of Marketing, people are more empowered to see where they true worth lies, and when to make observations and contribute valid perspectives rather than poor decisions.
Is Adopting the Hierarchies of Marketing a way forward?
A CEO from Geneva recently sent me a note, telling me how profound and insightful my e-book, “The Four Faces of Marketing” was, despite 22 years’ experience and his MBA, it was a milestone revelation.
An ex-CMO of Fuji Xerox, once told me “If only I’d read your book three years ago, it would have saved me three years of angst and frustration!”
My book was about the Hierarchies of Marketing (still available from Bookboon in 2nd edition) which explains a model my form uses to help clients structure their marketing departments and succession plan their marketing teams.
Is this a way forward for Digital Marketers and anyone else “in marketing” to move to a new respect for the meaning of the word?