Wednesday, November 14, 2012

“Marketing Is Dead.” Agreed?

Author Bill Lee thinks so and shares that view in his August 9 Harvard Business Review blog post of the same title.

The post, which has generated over 600 comments, laid out Lee’s case that, “Traditional marketing isn’t really working anywhere.” Lee says, don’t despair. “Actually, we already know in great detail what the new model of marketing will look like. It's already in place in a number of organizations. Here are its critical pieces:”

1. Community marketing via social media that replicates the community-oriented buying experience.

2. Participation of customer influencers who are given “something to talk about.”

3. Customers who advocate for the brand with an eye to building their own “social capital” (for example, access to special knowledge) via affiliation networks

4. Customer advocates who get involved in solution development via participation in a “peer-influence” effort.

Not surprisingly, Lee’s post drew some vivid disagreement. Winston Groom III complained, “Why is anyone even talking about this blog post? The headline has been done before. The author's strategic recommendations are stale. His writing style is distinctive and formulaic. The author's experience/background is unimpressive. I don't get it.

Others, like Chris W agreed that marketing is terminal. “If I go to make a major purchase on something such as electronics or a car I'm going to first go through multiple websites and see what the ratings are.  Next I'm going to talk to someone I know that has knowledge on such products and get opinions from them.  Also with online shopping being as big as it is you can look up what you're already thinking about purchasing and look at what others have to say that have already bought the product.  I don't think that traditional marketing will ever have a place with how technology has advanced in social media, and product research.”

But the aticle has many defenders, too Deniz Ayaydin says, “I think this article makes a good point and has some powerful examples.  I think the thesis is not that marketing is dead, but more acurately that *traditional* marketing is dead.  This is pretty clear by the end of the piece … The smart marketers get this idea and it's incredibly powerful.  Not to drop lingo, but in the marketing community there is a concept called 'Earned Media' -- this term basically referrals to endorsement from people you know and trust that are not associated with the company (the company earned their endorsement somehow, presumably through a positive customer experience That's what this article is suggesting is more important than traditional.”

Other commenters were amused. Howard Slow wrote, “I've just read all 573 comments... sparked terrific debate, that means a lot of marketers are probably scared! :) I remember the debate "IT is dead" created too. Well done peeing on the hornets' nest, Bill.”

Why not read it yourself?

Source: Harvard Business Review blog (, August 2012

--scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

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