2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

poor ned better off deadImage by yewenyivia Flickr

...(Subtitled) Or at Least Marketing as We Know It!

But first, since this is my first blog post as a Forrester analyst, I thought I'd make a quick introduction.  I'm Augie Ray, a new Sr. Analyst of Social Computing serving interactive marketing professionals.  Prior to joining Forrester's Bay Area office, I was a Managing Director at Fullhouse, a social and interactive communications agency in Milwaukee, WI.  I'm very excited to be part of the Forrester organization and eager to help clients with research, data, and consulting on the profound and exciting changes underway with Social Media Marketing. 

While the title of my blog post is (obviously) intended as a deliberate bit of provocation, I believe we cannot underestimate the level of change that is occurring in marketing.  Forrester has been writing on this topic for some time, including some great reports on the role of the CMO across the company, the new Adaptive Marketing, Measuring Social Media, and the impact of the Media Meltdown on Marketers (note, these link to report excerpts for Forrester clients).

I hope you'll find my first Forrester blog post thought provoking:

It is that time of year when every blogger, reporter and analyst is publishing their 2010 Social Media and marketing predictions.  (It's a rather odd phenomenon--aren't we interested in what's happening in the next twelve months other than in December?)  Forrester's own Social Media prediction report will soon be released, but I'd like to make my own big prediction:  2010 will be the year marketing--as we know it--dies.  Let's explore the trends and what they mean to marketers. 

Marketing's been under attack for some time, but in 2009 we witnessed the most profound evolution the marketing world has seen in fifty years or more.  The pace of change is not going to lessen in 2010.  Core elements that have driven marketing practices for decades--such as messaging strategy, mass media, PR, advertising, and others--will continue to change rapidly. 

The latest news from the print world is unsurprising:  Average weekday circulation at 379 U.S. newspapers fell 10.6% during the six months ending in September--the steepest decline ever recorded by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  And although a recent study found that consumer spending on subscription media increased 7% in the past year, that didn't mean subscriptions in the traditional sense--the number of households subscribing to magazines dropped two percentage points while subscriptions for home video and smartphone services were both up. 

On the television front, households with DVRs tripled in just three years, more consumers are avoiding ads, and a majority feels there is "too much advertising."  One cannot help but feel sorry for networks and media companies worried about matching ad revenue to expenses, but their response is a bit hard to swallow. TiVo is showing ads to viewers as they are trying to skip other ads, and TNS Media Intelligence tells us that "marketing content represents 43 percent of a prime-time hour"--11:46 minutes per hour of in-show Brand Appearances (a 31% increase from a year ago) and 14:07 of network commercial messages. 

Certainly, someone has to pay for Fringe, Glee, and The Office to be produced, but chasing down consumers and bludgeoning them with more advertising messages hardly feels like an effective strategy. (By the way, I selected those three shows for a reason: according to the latest Entertainment Weekly, almost one in five people viewing those programs is time shifting, and you can guess what that means for advertisers.)

The story on the Internet isn't much better.  Hulu is striving mightilyto avoid being forced to go the way of TV and load their content with more ads.  Social Media sites like Facebook are so loaded with ads that a consumer spending ten minutes on the site might be exposed to as many as 90 easy-to-ignore ads.  To improve low attention and meager clickthrough rates, advertisers hope to enhance their targeting of consumers based on their online behavior, but the long-threatened intervention of the government may be at hand.  This year could finally be the year that the Feds change the way online advertising works; said  FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz recently, "We're at another watershed moment in privacy, and the time is right for the commission ... to take a broader look at privacy." 

Marketers have, of course, taken note of the power of Social Media, but they continue to struggle with what to do and how to measure it.  In a recent study, 64% of CMOs said they plan to increase their social media budgets next year, but "at least half of respondents expressed uncertainty about ROI."  It strikes me as quite concerning that the top metrics being utilized--mentioned by more than 80% of the CMOs--aren't deep measures of influence or attitude but shallow measures of presence, such as number of fans and page views.

Meanwhile, it's possible (although not likely) that the Social Media landscape could change yet again if Facebook stumbles in 2010. (Don't think it could happen?  Remember that 13 months ago MySpace was drawing more visitors than Facebook;  today Facebook draws 150% more than MySpace.)  Facebook is facing potentially serious challenges.  Some are predicting that young people could soon stream off the site to avoid status updates from mom and dad; by one report, just 50% of the 15-24 crowd is checking Facebook regularly, compared to 55% last year.  More people are complaining (and suing) about being caught in scams from third-party developers on Facebook.  And faced with the growing privacy concerns of its users, how did Facebook react?  By implementing changes that many feel make it not just more difficult to protect their privacy, but actually remove privacy protections from some sorts of data. 

Facebook seems unlikely to go the way of Friendster (if for no other reason than a serious competitor has yet to emerge), but even if Facebook finds itself being MySpaced in 2010, Social Media is here to stay.  The influence of the masses will only continue to grow as Social Media tools improve and more and older consumers climb the Social Technographics Ladder, moving from Inactives, Spectators, and Joiners to Collectors, Critics, and Creators.  

Social Media has just begun to change the way marketing and business operates.  The coming year will see advertising put under the microscope by a connected, savvy, and critical consumer (just ask Motrin and Unilever).  Consumers will use Social Media to exert more influence over marketing and business decisions (see Tropicana and EA).  The best practices for brands in Social Media will continue to evolve (and woe be to brands caught violating consumer trust, as demonstrated by recent missteps by individuals at Honda and Belkin).  And some multi-million-dollar marketing budgets will be challenged and undermined by simple consumer-generated videos (see the Domino's employee video--or better yet, don't!) 

 As we enter 2010, consumers have new partners that will help to expand the reach of Social Media dialog even further--the big three search sites.  Bing, Yahoo and Google recently made changes to the way their search engines index the real-time web, and status updates and tweets are rapidly finding their way into top search results.  This means that consumers searching for brands and campaigns are increasingly likely to see results that include blogged and tweeted criticisms as they are links to official brand sites. 

The search engine changes mean that 2010 will be the year when brands can run but they cannot hide.  Gone are the days when marketers could carefully craft messaging and then broadcast that message in a few channels to huge portions of their audiences.  Oh, you can still spend money that way if you want to but in our transparent world, no marketing budget can possibly overcome the actual experience consumers have (and share with friends, followers and Google) with the product, service, or organization.  It no longer matters what you say;  in 2010, your brand will be more defined by what you do and who you are! 

Of course, if marketing burns to the ground in 2010, a new and more powerful marketing will rise from the ashes.  The role of the new marketer:

  • Won't be simply to focus on outbound messaging but to consult with sales, customer service, and human resources on how the brand must be communicated in every consumer interaction, every tweet, and every touchpoint,
  • Won't be merely to imagine creative messages but to fashion programs that are seamless with the actual product and service experience,
  • Won't be to plan bursts of communication on a yearlong calendar but to respond to and be part of the ever-changing dialog with consumers, 
  • Won't be to count friends, page visits, eyeballs, readers, or viewers but to measure changes in consumer attitude and intent,
  • Won't be merely to talk at consumers but to listen and engage one to one,
  • Won't be to build campaigns but relationships,
  • Won't be to create impressions but experiences, and
  • Won't be buy media but to earn it.

To some of you, these changes sound easy, but they represent painful transitions for marketing organizations.  In 2010 and the years that follow, everything will change:  job expectations, skills, metrics, structure, budgets, agency demands and compensation, and the role of the marketing function within the organization.  While the changes will be difficult, they will also be extraordinarily exciting.  In the end, the marketing organization will be integral partners in everything the enterprise does, living up to Peter Drucker's famous quote:

"Business has only two basic functions -- marketing and innovation."

Marketing is dead.  Long live marketing!


I think the key point for me

I think the key point for me is just how rapidly marketing has been and may keep changing. The comment about the swap in leadership for social media sites (facebook vs. myspcace) demonstrates that what may be hot today may not be hot tomorrow.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

This is so B2C focussed. I market IT services out of India to Global 1000 companies and the dynamics of my B2B market is entirely different from the doom and gloom you describe.

The significant buyers and influencers among my target audience are not active on social media, are easy to reach through targeted advertising, still set great store by high quality PR, and continue to frequent conventional watering holes like trade shows -- in other words, we are still boringly old fashioned. Is marketing as we know it going to die in 2010? I don't think so!

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Tv killed the radio start. Video streaming killed the tv star. Social media takes a shot at the old commerce.SM is bringing the marketing fight to a new level. Old ecommerce was based on segmenting the audience and delivering to it. Now attention shifts towards creating a cult around your product. It's still segmentation, but not for making a sell, but for creating a need, setting a trend. Product development has also shifted in the sense of tailoring to social media interests. Instant research is what drives marketers here, you're no longer thinking about population characteristics, but actually dealing with complete user profiles: demographics, and socio-psychological elements. The internet is a community of people, and thanks to social media everything will be linked.

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Vijay, your point is well taken. My blog post is very US and B2C focused. That said, we're seeing some fairly rapid adoption of B2B Social Media marketing. It might not be Twitter that is changing the face of B2B marketing, but it seems apparent communities and sites like LinkedIn are changing the way companies market to, service, and promote themselves to other companies.

Thanks for the comment.

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Mihai, Thanks for making the point about how marketing is becoming real-time. The rise of Adaptive Marketing is certainly changing the way we plan and execute marketing campaigns. Creating annual plans is already seeming so old fashioned!

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Well, basically, there is no such thing as social-media marketing. In the traditional communication model, AIDA, we move from Awareness to Interest to Desire to Action. Brand and offline are dealt with through offline functions, which relate to Awareness and Interest. But people use websites voluntarily, so Desire and a course of Action require different tactics. Social media are a subset of these activities; unlike traditional marketing, which is based on demographices, social media represent behaviours. This is an opportunity to create a dialog between your brand and your customers. Marketing hasn't died. But the traditional marketers haven't yet figured out how to deal with a major paradigm shift.

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You are right: but, it's just the next step in marketing evolution. Marketing has changed drastically over the years and as marketers, we just need to adapt and try to stay ahead of the curve, influencing it whenever possible but not trying to force change (or stop it). I believe that this change is happening faster than others in the past, but everything is moving at a faster pace (think of "evolution" of the time it took to reach mass market with radio, TV, computers, cell phones, Facebook). Simply put - bring it on! The strong (creative) will survive.Sarah at GY&K (@gyktweets / @sarahdoespr)

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Excellent post Augie - I was nodding my head in agreement as I read it but didn't realize it was you until I got to the end. Great to see your writing on the Forrester blog! Hope all is going well in your new position.I was just about to write a post about 'causes' and how they are becoming increasingly important to brands in their connections with people. This quote really resonated with me: "in 2010, your brand will be more defined by what you do and who you are!" This is exactly the kind of thinking that I believe will propel the successful brands of the future. It's not just about learning how to communicate in new mediums (i.e. blasting messaging through social channels) - it's about connecting on a deeper level and truly understanding the passions of the people that use your products or services.Thanks for this inspiring post and for continuing to spread great information for us all to consider and act on.@brandon101

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The headline is pure hyperbole. A sensationalistic attempt at attracting eyeballs.Marketing "AS WE KNOW IT" may change in 2010, but the act of promoting and selling products/services is not going away. Ever. That is unless "Capitalism Will Crumble to Its Knees in 2010," or "The World Ends in 2010."

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Jeffrey, you are absolutely right--the headline was designed to attract attention (which is why the first line of the blog post was intended to put the headline into context). That said, I stand by what I wrote--that this change will be painful and will affect the skills, budgets, demands on, and structure of marketing organizations.Think of it this way--when we moved from horses to cars, we still got from point A to point B, but transportation (as we knew it) died and was reborn. I see profound changes coming for marketing professionals in the next decade.

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Brandon,Thanks for the positive feedback. It's nice to connect with you here (and not just on Twitter)!I like your thoughts on causes and brands! Causes will be important, but it will still be important how the brand adopts the cause. Does the cause speak to the brand's purpose and vision of the world, or are they supporting a cause so that they can put a ribbon in the corner of ads?Don't get me wrong--any support for a needy and worthwhile cause is a good thing--but in terms of how much benefit the brand gets in return for the benefit it gives, the alignment between brand and cause will be important. And while cash will always be the primary way for brands to support causes, the more a cause can be integrated into the organization and supported by its people, the more both brand and cause will get out of their relationship!Thanks Brandon--see you on Twitter!

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Sarah,I appreciate your insights. While I agree with you--this is a next step in marketing evolution--I also see this simultaneously as a step back to core relationship marketing principles.Marketing existing before mass media, and what I think we're seeing today is both old and new: a return to the importance of listening and building one-to-one relationships, while at the same time finding ways to make mass media support the creation of relationships and influence rather than merely as a messaging medium.Thanks for the comment!

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Excellent post. It's all about developing a deeper engaging relationship with the consumer. Marketers that don't get this by now are in for a rough ride.

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Eric,I'm not sure I understand your point that there is no such thing as social media marketing. I like that you approach the question from the traditional AIDA model--too many folks are suggesting that Social Media has somehow altered the consumer's brand journey, which I think is ridiculous. That said, I still see Social Media, where people are getting more information about brands from friends than they are through traditional advertising channels, as having a profound impact on each step in the AIDA journey. For that reason, I see Social Media marketing as a new and evolving approach.Feel free to expand on your thoughts or drop me a message directly at aray--at--forrester--dot--com.Thanks for the dialog!

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Thanks for the thoughtful comments! It will come as no surprise that I agree with "There have never been more challenging times for marketers. And there have never been more exciting times for marketers."

As for whether marketing "doesn’t even smell bad," I'm not so sure. Adweek six months ago had the headline, "CFOs Aren't Big Fans of Marketing." The CMO Club polled its own members about who has the most credibility to the CEO and CMOs themselves said they had little credibility--31% said the CFO, 24% said Head of Sales, and just 13.8% felt the CMO was most credible. Look at the average tenure for CMOs. Look at the trust people have in marketing communications. (According to Forrester, "less than 25% say they trust even the emails they sign up for"--and this was the highest trust level of any traditional advertising channel, beating TV, radio, print, in-store, and online ad media.)

I'm not as confident as you that the recognition of Social Marketing has gone deep and wide. I think marketing leaders are *interested* in the power of social and the trend, but as to whether they've adopted social, look at where the lion's share of marketing budgets are spent--mass media. Pepsi's recent move is an important one--trading Super Bowl ads for Social Media marketing--but it's still one big step in the early going of marketing's transformation.

Appreciate the conversation! Thanks!

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Heidi,It is (and will be) hard for some marketers to think about shifting some attention and priorities away from advertising that reaches XX million people (albeit with no to little engagement) and toward engaging in communities, blogs, forums, and Twitter with much greater engagement but much less scale (ranging from tens of thousands down to one). We'll need to continue to develop our understanding and approaches toward measuring impact and influence and not merely impressions!Thanks for the comment!

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Augie - thanks for writing an interesting post, and using a provocative title for it!

I'm not a marketing guy. In fact, I've long held that marketing shouldn't govern an organization's communication strategy -- it's too narrowly focused and tends to diminish its effectiveness when it opens the lens too far. The branding programs of the 90's come to mind -- some thinks are better left to communicators with a broader perspective.

Laura Scholz's comments and your reply help shed some light on the social media PR challenge. PR as practiced in the classical, Arthur Page sense, has always been more about relationships and two-way communication than pure message-sending. That's why I believe Al Ries's prediction "the Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR" applies to social media as well.

There will always be a role for straight persuasion, even if conducted in dialogue, but the challenge of our day will be whether organizations are willing to change their objectives and strategies based on the needs and wants of their various publics -- what Dr. James Grunig termed symmetrical communication. Social media, with its ability to facilitate gathering information from publics, should help advance that goal.

The practice of Public Relations has been denigrated by the political spin doctors, and it's very unfortunate. As a profession, we're moving ever gradually away from press agentry and pure publicity, measured in comparison to advertising, toward the promise of honest relationships between organizations and their publics.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

You seem to be confusing marketing with advertising. Most of the "death of marketing" examples you have are advertising.There's more to marketing than that.

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Thanks for the comments. I’m from the marketing profession, so I tend to see a broader role for marketing in communications than you do. For example, how should the brand be communicated when customer service reps offer support in Social Media—which has broad implications to consumer perception and search engines—seems like an appropriate area of focus for marketers.

In the end, you hit the nail on the head when you said, “The practice of Public Relations has been denigrated by the political spin doctors, and it's very unfortunate.” I feel the same way about some of the “branding programs of the 90's” you mentioned—it was an era of a lot of hype, great deals of cash, and very little accountability in marketing (at least within some tech and startup circles).

I see a collaborative role for marketing, PR, Customer Service, HR, and other areas of the company in the future of communication strategy!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Josh,I appreciate the feedback. You're right, the blog post is slanted toward advertising--in much the same way I've seen marketers' attention and budgets slant toward marketing. Heck, we're still seeing an evolution in marketing where, for example, interactive is an equal part of the marketing mix instead of being thought of as support for the ATL campaigns.I'd also suggest that the traditional media meltdown (and growth of Social Media) has an impact on more than just advertising. For example, the PR discipline is changing a great deal as traditional news outlets disappear and contacts end up as bloggers and not journalists.Of course, I want to make sure I'm making the right point and communicating it in a way that resonates. Feel free to share your guidance (either publicly or privately).Thanks, Josh!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

I take a different viewpoint from most of the others.

The *only* that has changed is our acceptance of technology and it's integration into our lives. Every day it is becoming more of 2nd nature/mainstream item. Technologies like Twitter are actually very immature compared to other real time interations out there. But it hit at at time when we are more willing to accept it. Marketing has not changed, but since we are willing to give to and get so much from online channels that is where the focus when it comes to marketing.

My shopping experience has not changed since 20 years ago ; I always seek out friends and trusted partners for product/service advice. To suggest that Social Media (the phrase gags me to say it) has changed how we shop is laughable. The vehicle may have changed, but the destination and the road we take is still the same.

Patrick Allmond

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

When's the last time you checked how marketing is understood nowadays and what are the "main" theories? Those bullet points you list are nothing new. Marketing is (and for a long time has been) defined as business seen through your customers eyes. The concept of relationship marketing, for starters, is nothing new (and it alone covers pretty much half of your points). Attitudes, yes, marketers have been measuring those too (although the challenge is how one can measure attitudes reliably). Anyway, my point is that there is no point in this article. Social media is rising but it doesn't mean that marketing is dead... i don't see the connection anywhere. And the fact that people are avoiding ads has only a little to do with marketing but more with advertising.@linnanjuhlakuva

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Hello Augie,

Well.. I missed out on your good post for a while.. Ended up on my radar in a tweet today..

I think our thoughts have a lot in common and that's a good thing. I would appreciate if you could check out my post at Customer Think of November last year that takes "not as we know it" one step further..


And please let me know what you think either here or via twitter. I'm @wimrampen


re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Harry,Thanks for the comments. I clearly was being a bit provocative with the title of my post.I appreciate your comments. I agree relationship marketing is nothing new, but I do envision it being turbocharged thanks to Social Media. And I also believe that consumers will learn more about brands from each other than from brands, which will increasingly force a different marketing mindset--marketing through people and communities is a vastly different approach than mass media advertising (which has and continues to take the vast majority of many marketing budgets.)As for the fact we've been measuring attitudes, certainly marketers have done that via focus groups and market research. The point I was trying to make (and perhaps failed) is that marketers seem to forget (or at least struggle to execute) the measurement of attitudes and intent when to comes to interactive and social media marketing. As mentioned in the blog post, most marketers are still measuring number of friends, retweets, and clickthroughs as metrics for Social Media programs.Thanks for the input. I hope you'll find more insight in my future posts!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

oh dear - a marketing professional who confuses marketing with advertising and PR. the author seems to be suffering from professional myopia.

we all know that advertising (and the business models that depend on it) are changing significantly because of the internet and in particular because of social media - but that is hardly news in december 2009.

the core function of marketing remains unchanged in 2010: answering questions like: "what does the market want?" "how can we best provide it?" "how should we position ourselves?" "how should we price our product?"

i predict that marketing will be alive and well throughout 2010 (and well beyond!). some of those who are involved in advertising and PR may have to adjust their tactics - but then again, that's nothing new, either.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Relationship marketing being turbocharged by social media (SM) is an interesting idea. Yet, I'm a bit doubtful whether SM can actually do that. Are people really more connected to companies or brands through SM or is it too easy to become a friend or a follower and thus there is no real value in that relationship? Maybe people are only following your company in hope for a good bargains and don't really want to be your "friend" or have a relationship with you or your brand?And what comes to the measurement of attitudes in SM I think we are measuring what can be measured. How else would you measure attitudes than through retweets for example? I mean the media itself is not social but people are and how people act is the only thing you can measure when you are not observing them directly. In that sense there's not much else marketers could do and I think it is justified to assume that becoming a friend or retweeting correlates with positive attitudes.And brands. I rather didn't start this conversation but here we go :) What is a brand actually? In my opinion a brand is always a promise - something that sets your expectations. And brands cannot be created like products. Brands are born in consumers minds and all you can really do is to try to act and communicate in a planned way so that desired brands are born. So with or without SM brands are still being born in a same way. Companies now only have a wider selection of channels to communicate their desired brands (or brand identities).Anyway, I admit it is extremely interesting to follow how SM affects marketing. I just think that SM is too often too overrated. It's just a bunch of websites and apps (and at the same time it is a lot more) but it hasn't or will not kill current marketing knowledge.@linnanjuhlakuva

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I agree with you--to a point. I have long contended that Social Media is nothing new but that it has been given scale and reach thanks to new Social Computing tools, such as YouTube, Twitter, Ning, Facebook, Digg, and the like.

To ignore the power these tools give consumers and the way this changes the playing field for marketers is dangerous. It's like saying, "The car is nothing new--when I rode my horse I still got from point A to point B, just like now."

Marketers and brands that ignore how Facebook and Twitter supercharge WOM are likely to stumble into mistakes like Toyota made with the recent Yaris campaign (http://is.gd/5KMsF) or sit on the sideline and ignore a brewing UGC disaster as United did with the recent "Guitar" debacle. (Sean Corcoran mentions the United incident in his report, "No Media Should Stand Alone," http://is.gd/5KMB8.)

There are tremendous changes coming. While they may leverage the sort of human need for interaction and WOM that have existed since the beginning of mankind, marketers MUST recognize how these technologies change consumer habits and marketing strategies.

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Hi Augie,Some great points! We've been using the phrase, "Marketing is dead. Long live marketing!" at Alterian for awhile. Our CEO used it to launch our newest product: http://bit.ly/7ff1uGWe agree that customer engagement is the answer for marketers in 2010.ConnieDirector of Community Strategy, Alterian@cbensen

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Thanks for the comments.

I like your thoughts about Service Dominant Logic. Since your link got truncated in the comments, here is a shortened link for others who wish to reach Wim's post and see his deck: http://is.gd/5KMSH

I agree with you that service is increasingly important. Marketers should not and cannot abandon mass media, but they also need to pay more attention to how the brand is created or harmed by the millions of consumer interactions that happen when service is provided via Social Media. These service opportunities used to have no scale or reach--just one-to-one interaction between consumer and service provider. Today, these same service opportunities occur in an arena where any single experience--positive or negative--can be seen, shared, added to, commented on, or broadcast in real-time.

Thanks for the comment!

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Thanks Connie! No surprise we'd be pretty much on the same page. So, do I now owe David Eldridge a royalty for the phrase "Marketing is dead. Long live marketing"?Thanks for the input and the link!

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Thanks for the input. I've admitted my headline was a bit of a provocation for others to read the blog post. I was just using marketing to promote my blog post about marketing!

That said, I'll disagree with your charge of professional myopia. Given the way marketers' focus and budget continue to be consumed by mass media (advertising and PR, as you stated), I would suggest that the lessons of Social Media are still being learned and implemented.

I certainly agree Marketing will be alive and well forever, but I may see the changes coming as more profound than you do. Marketers need to do far more than "adjust their tactics."

As a marketer who experienced the revolution that occurred as the Internet was adopted by consumers, I saw the painful process of change at work. Agencies lost their relevance and lost business; brands lost and gained marketer share; and marketing leaders once secure in the traditional ways consumers interacted with brands found themselves out of touch (and out of work). It wasn't merely that the Internet represented a new medium but a sea change in the media habits, expectations, and attitudes of consumers. Social Media is the same, and I believe these changes are still in the early stages.

Thanks for dialog!

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I couldn't agree more. In 2010 we're going to continue seeing the voice of marketing co-existing with the voices of customers and customer service. The idea that Marketing "controls the message" will take an even more prominent turn than it has the past year or so. I think we see shades of this change in the current AT&T vs. Verizon blue map / red map war. Verizon launched their campaign (that they have superior 3G coverage). AT&T responded (our 3G is better than yours). Now they've taken the fight to http://www.facebook.com/ATT and http://www.facebook.com/verizon?v=wall. But, 2010 will be more than a digital version of the Hatfields vs the McCoys. The marketing challenge will continue to be balancing and blending the traditional with the contemporary -- and this applies to both online and offline. Of course there's still a marketing function, and the challenge in many ways is the same -- identify, refine and deploy programs that achieve branding and demand generation goals. But, all marketers will need to develop new ways to stay relevant in a fast changing environment. As more people go online and join the conversation, the voices of the combined "amateur experts" persists along side the pundits and the marketers. The marketing challenge now more than ever is communicating directly with the target market. Companies that best meet the challenge win. But the difference is that meeting this challenge goes way beyond the marketing function, and therein lies the paradox.

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Nice to see a friendly Milwaukee face on Forrester, Augie. I hope that the new gig is going well and best of luck to you.

I was nodding vigorously throughout the article, but for me the key point was how so much of what's passing for analytics just now are measures of clickstream data like followers or connections. I'm looking forward to seeing how listening tools for the social web grow and mature in 2010.

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Great post! Even though there is an array of challenges in the marketplace, this is an exciting time to be a marketer. Marketers absolutely play a catalyst role in their organization. Integration within a company’s overarching strategy is key and analytics can provide insight into what is and is not working. Seriously – if marketing efforts aren’t aligned with sales or employee recruitment, what’s the point. Now is not the time for marketing to be siloed into its own world. Without a doubt, the media landscape has been changing over the past decade. As new tools become part of a marketer’s arsenal, in theory, it should be easier to listen to consumers and the target audience and create messaging that resonates enough to create engagement.

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Nailed it. I wrote a piece on our sales blog inspired by what you said. http://3forward.com/sales-leaders-blog/marketing-meet-sales/

All the best,
Matt Smith, 3forward

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Mike and Jenn,Thanks so much for the feedback. I agree completely! Marketing, more than ever, needs to influence what happens throughout the organization.Jenn, I love your statement that "if marketing efforts aren’t aligned with sales or employee recruitment, what’s the point?" In a transparent world where product successes and failures, service successes and failures, and even employees themselves are visible so easily and widely, marketers need to focus on integrating message, strategy, brand, product and service!Thanks for the comment!

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Todd, thanks for the comments. Hope you're staying warm in the Midwest!

Matt, thanks for sharing the blog post and the thoughts. Nice post!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Enjoyed your post, Augie, from my perspective of the VP of marketing for Razorfish. I'm sure the word "marketing" and "dies" mentioned in the same headline has many readers squirming in their seats. But to me marketing has to die, and become reborn, constantly. Maybe the way to think of successful marketing is "reincarnation." And not just in 2010. By the way, I do not believe it's enough for marketers to consult with Sales, HR, and Customer Service to communicate the brand across all touch points. In fact, we need to consult with as many employees as we can -- the people on the front lines -- to make our brands more authentic and organic. Through social media tools like Twitter and employee blogs, we have the tools to do so in a more transparent way. Employees have always represented one's brand; now marketers can be more in touch with employee sentiment. We can use that sentiment as a feedback loop in our roles as brand stewards. In doing so, the marketer is in a position to exert more influence than ever before. We can manifest that influence in many ways, such as applying what we learn from employees to write our company social media guidelines (something a marketer is best suited to do).

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Augie: Your post on "when marketing dies" emerged during research on my current book. Very perceptive comments, but permit me to expand on a dimension that you just touched on. "One-size-fits-all" marketing is dead. IMHO, that means all the theories and tactics associated with such mass marketing are dead too (eg, "positioning" theory, brand equity, brand personality, etc.) I think the issue then that we are all struggling with is: "What is going to replace such one-size-fits-all marketing, and what are the strategies, tactics and tools required to succeed?" I believe that it is segmentation, but it is different from the demographic, behaviourial and other segmentation common to the mass economy. So my book focuses on ethnic, cultural and religious segmentation. If you want your brand to connect with people, then what better way to connect than to be representative of their values, heritage, language and backgrounds? Case in point: TV tries to sell "males, 18-35," but how many "males, 18-35" groups are there on Facebook? Good luck in your new position; I'm sure you'll enjoy great success.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Marketing has been around for a long time and will remain - the number of channels and technologies do expand and change over time. In 1450, Gutenberg's metal movable type led eventually to the mass-production of flyers and brochures. That was a while ago and I'm still removing flyers from my mailbox. Magazine ads have been around since about 1730 and yes, I still see those too. However, I haven't received too many spam messages via telegraph lately -- which was the first technology to host spam around the time of the American Civil War.Yep, it's harder to hide lousy products and services today but, great companies have always been built on great craftmanship in every aspect of the business so, I see this transparency factor just hastening the death of rotten companies; great news!I think the risk we run as we move into this brave new digital world is what Seth Godin calls the "Meatball Sunday" effect -- or the tendency to shovel old practices on a new platform.In the words of Morris L. Hite, Advertising Hall of Famer, “Advertising is salesmanship mass produced. No one would bother to use advertising if he could talk to all his prospects face-to-face."So on this I concur with your statement, "...be part of the ever-changing dialog with consumers"We now have the technology to communicate, one-on-one, two-way, with each person around the world to understand their needs and preferences; let's use it.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Thanks Nick. It's nice to hear from you.

I'm not sure I see a world where positioning, brand equity and brand personality are meaningless; in fact, I may feel opposite--they are ever more powerful. But here's the rub in the Social era--your brand personality which creates brand equity must be distinct from other competitive brands in a way that's *real.* Your brand isn't what you say you are; it's what you really are in your actions, behaviors, beliefs, product, and service.

Brand strategy is beginning to look and feel more like corporate strategy (which one might argue was always the case, even if it wasn't always recognized as so). Positioning is no longer something marketers do in their ads or with the packaging; it becomes a very real at the core of the business, its beliefs, the people it hires, the relationships it creates, and the experiences it forms with customers and stakeholders.

I'm sure you and I are actually in agreement, even if we're approaching the topic from different angles. I agree that positioning as a mere marketing task is dead, but the need to position an organization's culture and strategy to be distinct in the marketplace of customers, vendors, shareholders, and employees has never been more alive and well.

Best of luck on the book!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Devon,I appreciate and enjoy your perspective. I'm not suggesting we have to throw out every traditional tactic or strategy; to the contrary, I agree with you that the growth of social (and the stagnation of traditional media) is encouraging a return to pre-mass-media marketing based less on messages on more on relationships and experiences.Where I see the risk of a "Meatball Sunday" is that brands can't be in a race for clicks, eyeballs, or even followers on Facebook and Twitter; instead, we need old relationship marketing thinking married to new technologies to produce real (and measurable) change in consumer attitudes.Thanks for the thoughts!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Augie, you left off an important part of the Druker quotation: "Business has only two basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results. All the rest are costs." Without the missing part, you get an especially incomplete view of Druker's picture of the position of marketing in business.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

David,Thanks for the comments. You are very right--while I knew "Dies" would get attention, the idea of constant reincarnation is a much more apropos description. And I also appreciate your suggestion that my set of corporate departments--Sales, HR, and Customer Service--is too narrow. I agree that marketers need to consider the role each employee plays in fashioning consumers' brand impressions in our more transparent world.Thank you for the feedback! I hope the holidays are treating you well in Chicago!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

I love this post. It's always fun to meet a kindred spirit. I recently eulogized the death of marketing on my blog. Got a lot of comments - supporting and denying. So I posted the Five States of Death by Elizabeth Kubler Ross to help people move on.

Marketing/Advertising, whatever. Stalking people is out. Talking to people is in.

Long live common bond and communication!

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Great read, I believe the current situation is going to be a testament to creative talent. Creative marketing is ALWAYS going to win, and the talented individuals who create it will succeed. It is not that consumers dont like looking at ads, people look forward to the creative ads during the Super Bowl, it is just that most ads sux. Most ads are just trying to sell you something instead of making it worth your while to be sold. Companies are going to have to hire true talent and not just resumes, they are going to have to realize the people who can execute. Look at how Bmw and Audi were able to place their products in the James Bond series, consumers did not mind that type of marketing. If I am watching a football game why do I want to watch an ad about bed pans? or toe nail clippers? Those type of misaligned ad placements are going to make me skip through the ad and get back to the game. People have to be entertained, as Maximus said in the movie Gladiator "Are you not entertained", then people might watch more ads.

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Seth, thanks for sharing the rest of the Drucker quote!

Denise, I appreciate the comment. So, how are marketers doing in the five stages of grief?

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Augie! Wow. That wasn't a blog post, it was the Iliad. It was epic. Great to "meet" you, and after reading this post, I am already planning on placing an inquiry. My Forrester membership just became a lot more valuable!Joe@jchernov

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Augie - great post that does a nice job of looking at current dynamics in the media world and extrapolating how this will impact marketing in 2010 and beyond.

You point out in a comment that this post is mostly focused on advertising, but much of this applies broadly to the whole "influence business" that is marketing, including PR, AR, campaigns, messaging and on.

By the way, I've always hated that Drucker quote - "innovation" seems like a convenient shorthand for "everything else", and besides, isn't marketing innovative?

re: 2010: The Year Marketing Dies...

Augie, Nicely articulated and timely message. And some great feedback too. I'd like to give you two quick follow-up points and a link to a slightly longer post for those interested in more information.Thinking about digital as another channel is limiting. We can no longer approach digital and emerging technologies as channels, separate and distinct from those we traditionally view through the lens of mass marketing and advertising. Digital is the thread that increasingly connects consumer touchpoints and enables all-way communication and social organization. I will add too that social connection and engagement is driven by peoples’ choices and preferences rather than marketing goals and objectives.Relationships between consumers and brands have expanded beyond dialogue to an always-on marketing ecosystem. The logical extension of conversations between marketers and their audiences is not merely the individual connection with a person, but the rise of an infrastructure that enables people and brands to interact more like the relationships we have in our personal lives. Think about how you communicate with your friends and family. There are obviously some differences, but marketers today have to learn, deploy, manage, optimize and occasionally build an expanding network of touchpoints that enables interaction and that supports a brand’s ability to respond intelligently (and even thoughtfully) at the individual level. But brands have the added challenge of having to do this at scale – and this is a variable that can vary greatly depending on the size of the brand’s typical audience and engagement triggers that tend to cause large numbers of people to be intensely focused at time-sensitive moments.The new system within which marketers must operate depends less and less on a CPM to persuasion to transaction and repeat approach, and more on contribution to the ecosystem of touchpoints within which a person actively, passively, and socially navigates. It is this always-on ecosystem that’s been enabled by digital and now social media that impacts both trust with a brand and level of transaction.For more, feel free to visit http://relationshipera.com.