The Biggest Mistake in Business for the Last 100 years?

February 24, 2020

The 21st Century’s Most Costly Business Mistake?

Probably the most expensive mistake of the 21st century is perceiving marketing as meaning advertising and promotion.

How the business-world came to close itself off from the science of marketing strategy, the vast and rich knowledge base that makes profitable businesses spark and explode, is a matter of debate…

What has created a world that doesn’t understand the meaning of the word, Marketing?

Is it tertiary marketing education devoid of real world worth, now that academics have significantly displaced practitioners in teaching?

Is it because the efficiency of the medium that is the internet is so profound that the aggressive snake-oil hawking of digital promoters, describing themselves as marketers, without understanding anything beyond rudimentary marketing communications tactics?

Is it because the leaders of sophisticated marketing organisations are hording the knowledge because it represents such potent and potentially sustainable competitive advantage for them if they keep it to themselves?

Is it because the marketing professional has fought off mandatory accreditation and control… so that anyone can say they are a marketer without challenge?

Or could it be that middle management and senior executives who have lobbied so hard to rise above their peers in corporate organisations, shout down anyone with knowledge that might interfere with their planned career progression?

Is this due to the fact that over 50% of business executives working in marketing lack ANY tertiary qualifications in the discipline?

Where Did Marketing Go Off the Tracks?

Perhaps, in the ‘80s, if the marketing professional has screamed “wrong” when the term, “direct marketing” was incorrectly coined to describe direct response advertising, the nonsensical term, “content marketing” may not have be adopted and a more accurate phrase to describe “online publicity promotion” might have formed? The same goes for “search engine marketing” which really is “prioritization of search engine ranking”. (At least somebody tried when they coined the phrase “Search Engine Optimization”.)

Poor lay people are left in a soup of confusion daily when terms sprout such as “Influencer Marketing” which is simply utilization of group opinion leaders to disperse information utilization  in context with the multi-stage mass communication model.

Whatever the causes, the cost is incalculable!

How much damage is done when people are unaware that they must balance the 8P’s of marketing scientifically if they are to protect their companies from sub-optimal profits?

How destructive is it when quality executives are appointed to roles they THINK they can handle when they are simply ill-equipped with inadequate training and knowledge to make strategic marketing decisions?

How profound are the losses as the commercial world graciously accepts the dominoes that are retail chains collapsing world-wide, without even questioning that these occurrences might be a clue that the leadership models in business are faulty?

How corrosive is it when employees simply leave their jobs in frustration because their corporate guidelines are soiled by silos, blurred by secret agenda, eroded by office politics, undermined by poor morale?

How much worse does this make frustrated middle management as they vent on their own staff because they are fighting a losing battle with the same demons they are creating because of complacent leadership and corporate governance?

Even though Gartner, Inc,  have made $4B a year reminding us that employee engagement has been consistently around 25% of all employees since they began surveying it in 2002, where is evidence of quality internal marketing?

History will tell a sorry tale.

How they will giggle in decades to come when the historians recall the anecdotes of 21st century  business people ignoring the lessons of history only to repeat the mistakes.

Students of Marketing in the future may shake their heads in disbelief when they discover that the body of real knowledge was not in universities, but secreted away in the coffers of just a few large companies and consultancies, remaining virtually known except to only to a few outsiders.

Incidentally, on the topic of academia worth and value to the business world…

Is Academia Failing Society BIG-TIME?

For years I’ve have complained that the focus of Universities on “publish or perish” instead of “teach well and share knowledge” is a big mistake.

So, I couldn’t help capturing this post when I found it on the web recently…

Who cares about your PhD thesis?

Colin Riegels, Doctoral candidate: Law, University of Oxford

There is an old joke about this: only five people will ever read your doctoral thesis.

  •     You
  •     Your supervisor
  •     Your two examiners
  •     Your unlucky spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend who has to act as unpaid proof-reader for you

In 99.9% of cases, nobody else will ever read it or care what it says.

When I arrived at Oxford I went to the archives and checked out a number of completed doctoral theses in my field so I could read them and get a flavour of what they are meant to be like. In every single case except for one, I was the first person ever to check them out. And, in each case, they weren’t randos – I picked those ones because they were names that I recognised as people who went on to enjoy success in the field.

By the time I read this post, it had 203,900 views and been liked or shared over 6,100 times! Academia KNOWS its failings yet academia are ignoring (laughing at!) what most certainly will be its downfall!

I imagine historians of the future will share my disdain of unoriginal, regurgitated marketing theory being submitted as justification for their existence by the incumbent  pure academics in power now, representing a fake body of knowledge,  thrown up as a smoke screen to disguise it profound absence of advancement; too crammed with irrelevant and unusable findings  that the “publish or perish” mandate has forced them to create.

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