I’m a marketer by genetic lottery, not by choice. It’s how I’m wired. I think about business problems against a marketing backdrop – how crafting the right story changes behavior, how influencing the influencers wins mindshare, and how leveraging the parts creates something greater than the whole.
I have many reasons, therefore, to hate marketing. Four, to be exact, at least this morning. And to be clear, it might be that I just can’t stand marketers and that the entire discipline has to take the brunt of my invective this time around.
Here, based on recent reading, are four reasons to hate marketing. You may have others, which you’re free to share at your convenience.
One: I hate marketing speak.
Blank is the new blank. This is a time-honored marketing-speak institution that gets blown about with every turn of the screw. Brown is the new black. Experience is the new reality. Talking is the new speaking. i- is the new e-. Why is lack of imagination the new creativity? Hyperbole and the over use of over-blown rhetoric got marketing into the mess it’s in today.
Accountability is as big a part of marketing as it is of sales and finance. Can someone tell me why “buzz” is considered a metric? Who cares about buzz? Michael Jackson has buzz. Buzz is great when it becomes sell-through. Until then, it’s just buzz. Marketing has its own no-brainer metric: it’s called sell-through. Sell-through is what happens when people buy your stuff. Not when retailers, distributors or others stock your stuff, but when people who have made up their minds based on your impressive storytelling are pushed over the edge, actually removing their wallets from their back pockets and pulling out money to pay for the stuff you make. That’s marketing’s job.
Three: Creativity for creativity’s sake
I’m going to jam a pencil through my ear the next time I hear a company name (or better yet, a URL of a dot com) that doesn’t make sense. When companies require that you spell their names correctly in order to find them on the web choose a name that isn’t spelled like it sounds, you have to wonder about what they’re thinking. I do, at least.
Marketers can’t stand themselves. Like Groucho Marx never wanting to join a club that would have him as a member, marketers love to tell each other how unimportant they are. The latest in this great tradition is the Ad Age piece pouring gasoline on a shaky study that measures the impact of CMO’s on sales. Shaky data and lousy reporting, all in one neat bundle.
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> Authenticity is the new marketing speak. Tell the truth in a simple, compelling way and dispense with the fluff.
> Sell through is marketing’s no-brainer metric. Everything you do should convince someone to buy your stuff. Buzz, loyalty, awareness, and everything else is a means to this end.
> Clarity is the new creativity. Sorry. I’ll stop in a moment.
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All blogs are op ed pieces, so consider this an opinion that needs no action on your part – unless, of course, it all sounds too close for comfort.
Put this one up on Daily Fix and let the sparks fly!
Kevin — thanks… nah… I don’t think I need to make sparks fly with this one. “Marketing Speak” is a pet peeve of mine. The recent mea culpa reported on ANA and through Ad Age just poured gasoline on the fire. My father was a reporter for the Times Herald back in the day, so sloppy reporting always gets me wound up –and this particular writer at Ad Age has a growing history of sloppy work.
I’m sure we could come up with another four reasons to hate marketing, but there are calls to return and emails to send. Thanks!
You are in rare form here. Just today I described myself as a communicator who does the job of a marketer. To me clarity of purpose and connection trump anything else. I think marketing people do a pretty poor job at tooting their own horn.
Valeria: thanks for your note — I think you’re right. Marketers are often poor self-promoters. Does an overdevelopment of outbound orientation always come with a recessive gene for inward sensitivity?