Marketing is NOT Dead!

My boss emailed me a blogpost from Bill Lee titled “Marketing is Dead” from The Harvard Business Review. What Lee meant was that traditional marketing was dead.  Traditional marketing includes advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications.
I don’t know if I agree 100% with this statement.  I agree that it has changed but hey, isn’t everything going to change at one point?

Lee states that first buyers are no longer paying attention.  I would have to disagree.  I looked at McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey video that was linked in the blog and carefully listened.  It’s not that the consumer isn’t paying attention as Lee stated.  As McKinsey said, consumers are getting bombarded with media that you can’t remember every single potato chip brand commercial that you saw or every smartphone print advertising you have seen.

McKinsey also states that once a customer has been triggered about a specific product, then comes the “Active Evaluation” stage.  During this process of the cycle, the consumer knows about the product so he is going to do more research on it.  This will introduce the consumer to even more brands than in his initial stage.  Sure, consumers are doing it in their own way but it will only take them on a journey to the traditional marketing communications as before.  Technology has improved since we declared what is “traditional marketing” so you cannot blame the consumer for paying even more attention.

Let’s say it was a commercial of a product that came on.  The consumer may not have been paying attention to it until the end.  In my mind, they would wait for it to come back on and pay even more attention to the commercial to find out more information.  Then it’s possible they could research the product online through the company’s website and product reviews along with consumer reports.  Being a social media nerd, I would take to twitter and ask my followers what they like or dislike about the product if they have already purchased it.  Then I would go in the store and look at the product in my hands and for the last time compare it with other competitive brands.

Lee also states in his blog that traditional marketing in social media doesn’t make sense.  I think all brands should have some sort of presence in social media.   Social media isn’t a trend!  It is here to stay and should be implemented in companies’ marketing strategies.  Mashable wrote an article back in June of this year stating that 49% of respondents are loyal to brands online and occasionally “like” or follow a brand on social media sites. The most common reason people gave for “liking” their favorite brands online? — “To show support for it.”  What is a mistake is assuming social media is just a trend and not research the demograhics of social sites such as Facebook.  Moms are the leading demographic when it comes to liking a brand on Facebook.  Fifty eight percent of moms follow or like brands on social media sites.

While I disagreed with a few points Lee made, I do agree with his tips for reviving traditional marketing.  I especially like the example he provided when he recommended getting customer advocates involved in solving a problem the industry faces that your company works in.  He talks about how well a nonprofit did this.  The tobacco companies targeted teens to replace the older generation that died (often of lung cancer).  These teens were outraged to find this out that they formed an organization against teens smoking.  This led to teen smoking in Florida drop nearly 50% between 1998-2007!

What’s wrong with integrating traditional marketing with today’s trends such as digital and social media marketing?  What are your thoughts on traditional marketing?


Author: Cassandra Williams

Public relations and marketing professional. Subscribe to share my journey to fulfilling my dreams as a marketing and public relations professional.

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