It is HARD to change some people’s beliefs…

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”.

When combined well, marketing mix synergy is formidable

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.

Are organizing a trade stand and drafting a corporate purpose statement both Marketing roles?

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?

During my Feb 2012 presentation at the FMCG summit at MGSM in Sydney, I asked the group of about 60, “When did you do your last segmentation study?”.

I was appalled to find only 1 company had undertaken a segmentation study in the past seven years… SEVEN YEARS!!!!!!!! (Less frequent than 3 years is considered intolerable!)

There was once a time when FMCG marketers were recognised as leaders, gurus even, in the execution of marketing science: An FMCG marketer was the herald of super-normal profits, profit maximising decision making, and management leadership.

When segmentation is the most powerful tool in the arsenal of a marketer’s weaponry, and the professional standard slips to such a low, no wonder FMCG companies are crying poor!

But, are their marketing executives to blame? I wonder….

Could it be the declining quality of market research services in Australia has so declined as to undermine the anticipated value, insight or trend identification?

Could it be that senior management is so diluted in marketing training that those who control the purse strings – ignorant of how much they don’t know – simply are not allowing marketing departments sufficient budget for segmentation studies – denying resultant sustainable competitive advantage and brand equity investment?

Could it be that the pure-academic standards in the tertiary education of marketers has simply eroded the passing down of commercially important training and skills to the point where marketing graduates simply are not empowered with proper education in marketing anymore?

I sit, jaw agog, sometimes at the wasteful and poor marketing communications efforts in TV advertising spend and creative, at outdoor ads, online ads and other marketing communications execution that just denies justification, and I wonder… but with the revelation of such poor strategic marketing management helps me understand the woes of the industry and from where they come.