Marketing Is Alive And Well.

Over the past 2 weeks, we have seen a lot of buzz from a HBR blog post written by Bill Lee.  The title, "Marketing Is Dead" continues to get Bill's blog post quite a bit of mileage and even today, there is still much heated debate over the article's intent.   

The fact is, I agree with many of the points Bill makes in his post...except for the title.  A more accurate title would be"Traditional Marketing Is Dead In The Social And Digital Age", but the marketer (and analyst) in me always appreciates the impact of a bold and controversial statement!  Here's my take on the points Bill makes in his post:

- Traditional marketing tactics are having less relevance in an age where buyers lead the journey and increasingly tap into online resources and social networks for information.  Yes, marketers face the difficult challenge of competing for their buyers' attention in a crowded and noisy online environment.  Traditional tactics may have less influence on buyers in social networks, however they should not be abandoned!  Our research shows that buyers are still influenced by traditional tactics like physical events and even printed content.  Successful companies use an effective mix of complementary traditional and social tactics.

- CMO's are under a lot of pressure to show marketing's impact on lead generation and revenue.  True, but the good news is that technology will enable CMO's to better track the effectiveness of marketing tactics through the funnel (ex: marketing automation, social platform integration, CRM integration).  The catch? CMO's will need to collaborate more closely with their IT colleagues as a result.

- Traditional marketing tactics are simply not cutting it in today's digital and social age.   Marketers need a new mind set in today's social age.  Content should be consumable, impactful, and sharable.  The focus should be on social interactions instead of on the media.  Traditional tactics work well in traditional channels, but assuming they will be effective in social and digital channels is like assuming a square peg will fit into a round hole. 

- Marketers should "restore community marketing".  I am in complete agreement with Bill on this point. Forrester's data confirms that customers prefer to first turn to their professional and social networks to get feedback and references on products and services. Community interactions influence a buyers' decision, therefore marketers need to take a more active role in setting and executing their community strategy.  I hosted a recent webinar on this topic which sparked some positive buzz on Twitter. Marketers are rapidly seeing the value in customer communities and eager to participate.  I expect to see a flurry of activity in the upcoming months as companies dial up their online community efforts.

- Marketers need to engage more with their customers' influencers.  Great point.  These influencers reach out to their own social networks and can quickly spread messages about a company's brand and products.  Identifying these influencers and providing them with social capital in the form of reputation rewards and recognition will ultimately drive positive business results.  

Is marketing dead?  Absolutely not, as long as marketers evolve their strategies for todays digital and social customer.   What are your thoughts?



I don't think marketing is dead any more than I think public relations is dead, but I do think marketers need to collaborate more closely with their public relations colleagues. As a PR professional with three decades of experience, I've been intrigued by how much of what marketers are doing today is actually what traditional public relations/community relations have accomplished. The shrinking of traditional media and growth of new media has blurred the lines and there's a convergence of the activities. And marketers and PR pros alike must be collaborating with their IT colleagues ... and their HR colleagues. Influencers ... and all of our stakeholders (internal and external) ... are engaged in the two-way communication, which traditionally has been the realm of PR. To survive and thrive, both marketing and PR need to recognize the need for collaboration.

Hi Kim, Your blog popped up

Hi Kim,
Your blog popped up in a google search and caught my eye, because we just wrote a blog countering Bill's post, as well. I, too, am always intrigued by a blog with an opposing or controversial point of view - works very well for building traffic!
In any case, glad to see we weren't the only ones... Our take on that blog here: