Rants on Marketing Pt 2 (2022Edition)

I cross my heart and hope to die when I say this, I did not mean to make a 2nd part of this. Honestly. Ok, maybe it was lingering here and there. Fine, I was just waiting to find the time to type this out. Guess I’ll die.

I had an aim this year to read more marketing books, research papers and articles to hone my skills. Well, I have read 23 books till now, starting with Byron Sharp’s enlightening book, How Brands Grow. The experience has been alleviating to say the least while trying to get a better view of this distorted and polarised world.

But, that world gets bleaker when you put yourself in it and think about real shit. So, basis my experience of 2021 so far, I have collated my unfiltered thoughts into 3 big trends that are wrecking havoc in marketing and diluting the discipline.

Dilution of the role of marketing

Marketing in a deep existential crisis right now. Shit is serious. Traditional marketing which still holds true in face of asinine additions and diversifications which make no sense on their own defined marketing as 4'P’s.

So simple. So elegant. And yet, the real world doesn’t conform to this

Today, product resides outside the realms of marketing — marketers don’t handle products anymore in most of companies, barring a few packaged products companies. They also don’t handle the pricing — its done by sales, product teams or finance (which is mind-boggling). ‘Place’ is distribution and marketing does not handle that. So, marketers are clinging to 25% of what they are supposed to do. This is not cool. Marketing today is actually a very minimised function compared to what it was and what it was meant to be.

At the same time, new (idiotic) titles are being created while eliminating the role of a Chief Marketer. Chief Growth Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Customer Officer etc. But if you take away growth, revenue and customers, what is left in marketing?

Few years back, a poll was conducted wherein chief execs of major companies were interviewed. 70% of them said they have zero to low confidence in their chief marketers and their marketing teams to be able to drive business growth.

Why? Well, I am glad you asked.

The fundamental reason is because when marketers are asked questions like, ‘ We have spent so much money on these campaigns — what exactly did the company get as return on its investment in marketing?’. Most of the time, the answers are fluffy or marketing folks look like deer caught in headlights. That destroys the confidence that the chief exec or chief financial officer may have in the marketing team. What is needed according to me, is that the current crop of marketers and newcomers have to become quantitatively savvy, to be able to connect the dots between the actions that they take and the business outcomes.

Collectively, these point to the fact that the marketers have lost their seat at the table — and they need to win it back. Are we as marketers seizing opportunities off of this? Or are we a little unaware of what is happening around us? Time to wake up if you have been napping.

Today, we need to as marketers understand technology, data, public relations, financial models and business models. The expectation for a marketer is that they have to be thorough and be able to connect the dots between these various areas and think about the impact. This means that marketers have to be true general managers and business managers, as opposed to marketing specialists. You have to realize that you’re a business leader first.

So that the next time someone from sales or finance asks, ‘All this is fine, but what is the point of investing in marketing?’. Dare them to not invest in marketing for 6 months at their own peril. They will come begging in 3 months. We have studies proving this by Prof Byron Sharp, Weimer Snijders etc.

Consumer Loyalty

I am going to sound like a broken record. But bear with me. #OneLastTime

A few days back, I was reading up on a survey conducted last year, which said that 50–60% of Indians have cheated on their partners at least once. Seriously.

And that got me thinking. No, not about the misguided and mistaken belief in the institution of marriage. But on the subject of cheating. So I did a little more digging and unearthed that this was universal. People are aware that there are consequences of being disloyal, but people are still not loyal in their daily lives. So why the hell would they be loyal to brands?

We, marketers are completely kidding ourselves if we think consumers will be loyal to us because we’re running some stupid program. It’s not going to work — people are not fundamentally wired for loyalty, at least not to brands. All I’m saying is, try and understand the true consumer. What you need is [not brand loyalty but] brand affection. What you need is brand stickiness. What you need is brand preference. You need to rethink loyalty as a concept and reinvent them for the future.

Summing up my rants, unlearn that shit you learnt in B-School. If you haven’t been to one and are in this field, learn the discipline from Books and Research Articles, not the self-proclaimed gurus on Twitter with verbose threads full of non-sense.

Trust me.

Or not. I am just a marketer.

More rants coming this year. Don’t Worry.

Bye now.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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Marketing Savant | Subscribe to my newsletter to learn how to creatively ideate, boringly effective work for your brand. Twitter: @parijatjha47

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Parijat Jha

Parijat Jha

Marketing Savant | Subscribe to my newsletter to learn how to creatively ideate, boringly effective work for your brand. Twitter: @parijatjha47

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