Extra Extra Read all about it Marketing is in deep trouble

A few months ago I wrote a blog Is Marketing Dead which was in response to the controversial article by Bill Lee in the Harvard Business Review which proposes that traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Lee states that many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm.

My take on this article was marketing is clearly not dead, like many disciplines it’s constantly evolving. Just because a field is changing does not make the actual discipline dead. Is there a lot of money wasted on marketing? Yes there is. Are there people in marketing resistant to change? Of course there is and that is true of every field.

In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers 73% of them said that Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth, 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business, and 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric. The Fournaise 2012 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program,  which interviewed over 1,200 CEOs from across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia found that 70% of CEOs Admit They May Be Responsible for Marketers’ Poor Perceived Performance:

  • 80% of CEOs were not very impressed by the work done by Marketers and believed Marketers were poor business performers.
  • CEOs thought Marketers could not adequately prove the positive business impact their marketing activities.
  • CEOs thought Marketers had lost sight of what their job really was (i.e. to generate more customer demand for their products/services).
  • CEOS thought Marketers were not business performance-obsessed enough.
  • 70% of the same CEOs admitted they may be somewhat responsible for Marketers’ poor perceived business performance and reputation – but purely as a consequence of:
    a) Having steadily lost trust in Marketers’ business abilities; and b) Subsequently having given up on holding Marketers accountable.


Mitch Joel points out that marketing departments have liquidated themselves over the past two decades by focusing all of their energy on advertising and promotions. They have forgotten about the need for marketing 101 – the basics of the four Ps and the value that a well-rounded marketing department brings to an organization. We suddenly have revenue departments instead of marketing leading and nurturing the pricing strategy of the business. We suddenly have product managers instead of marketing leading the product development and placement. So, what’s left? You guessed it, just the promotion.

He adds. Can digital save the day? I believe it can . What’s required are both much more education within the marketing departments of the world (to better understand digital, measurement and analytics) and a shift in philosophy that marketing doesn’t need to be dominated by advertising? Marketers can win back the c-suite trust, so long as they’re willing do more real marketing, instead of simply focusing on the advertising (which is still important, it’s just not everything).

Now in a recent article we have marketing guru Al Reis writing an article in which we find that Too Many Marketers Are Going Soft.

He refers to the disease of major corporations around the world  spending huge amounts of time and money thinking up soft, emotional positioning slogans. He gives an example of one of the most prestigious business schools in the world Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management coming up with a very lame slogan for their school “developed by hundreds of alumni, students and faculty”. With all due respect, the last people I would have developing positioning and branding lines for a business school are alumni, students and faculty.

As I have pointed out in over 150 blogs there is good marketing and bad marketing. And I have been very critical of the bad marketing observed in my career as a practioner, academic and consultant.  The secret is to be open to new ideas,  be strategic i.e. strategy before going headlong into tactics, and most important  listen to the people you are trying to reach and influence . Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Let me know what you think.


Get out your calendar and insert the dates of exciting events at the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing

1. World Social Marketing Conference

The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing is delighted to be involved with the World Social Marketing Conference, which will take place in Toronto, Canada from April 21-23, 2013.

The conference attracts participants from many countries and you will get the opportunity to meet social marketers from Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, South and North America. This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from social marketers around the world and most important the opportunity to network with social marketers like yourself.

Note: The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing will be running a pre-conference 1 day social marketing workshop entitled: Social Marketing Planning: Implementing an Effective Campaign

For more information go to:   http://wsmconference.com/

2.  MARCOM Professional Development

The dates are set: May 28 & 29, 2013
Mark your calendar and start your training plan!
The location is set: Ottawa Convention Centre

Plan now to attend the only forum of this kind in Canada!

3. Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing

The only Canadian university certificate program for government and non-profit marketers.

Feb. 13 – May 23, 2013

7 Course Modules – 8 days over 4 months

Register Today!

4. Social Marketing Strategies that Change Attitudes and Behaviour… Moving Beyond Awareness

When: February 6, 2013

Where: Delta Barrington Hotel

1875 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 3L6

(902) 429-7410


To learn about all of our training programs

Go to our web site Cepsm.ca




Marketing Strategy… the key to Success in Private & Public Sector Marketing

People are always confused with the role of marketing. A recent article by Al Ries in Ad Age makes some very interesting points.

For example who decides?

1) What products and services to offer;

2) What to name those products and services; and

3) What distribution channels to use to sell those products and services?

Clearly this is the role of marketing but Ries points out that with companies large and small, he doesn’t see many marketing people calling the shots on 1) Products; 2) Names; and 3) Distribution.

Instead, Ries points out that unfortunately marketing people tend to focus on “communications” issues. They spend most of their time figuring out how to interest prospects in their organizations products and services.

The Mantra for our organization (i.e. Centre for Public Sector Marketing) is “Strategy before Tactics” and we clearly understand the need and importance of communications but they are only the tactics of a marketing program. The other half, the more important half, is strategy.

As Reis points out the two are related. In order to improve the communications, it often is necessary to make changes in strategy. In products, names, pricing, distribution, etc. And who is in a better position to suggest such changes than an experienced marketing person?

But as Reis point out it is top management people who are calling the shots on marketing strategy? And in most cases management people who are not trained or knowledgeable about marketing. Would top management without an engineering background make engineering decisions, probably not? But marketing … no problem.

Reis describes the most recent Presidential race for the GOP as an example of lack of marketing strategy.

“So far, there are eight Republican presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman.

Do you know the verbal position of any of these eight?

I don’t think they have any.

Doesn’t anyone remember “Change we can believe in?” After Barack Obama’s victory in 2008, I would have thought that any future presidential candidate would summarize his or her campaign with a few memorable words. But so far, no one has.Apparently, nobody wants to be tied down to a single idea or concept. Everybody wants to be free to expand their campaigns in all directions, depending on which way the wind blows.

Take Jon Huntsman. “He resigned  as the U.S. ambassador to China, but already Jon Huntsman has a logo, a musical theme, a small arsenal of promotional videos, a Hollywood narrator and a line of travel mugs, lapel pins, baseball caps and T-shirts emblazoned with the distinctive H of his infant presidential campaign. He even has a generation named after himself. Generation H, his campaign calls it.”

Jon Huntsman has everything except a marketing strategy. Source

See my blog Political Parties should have Marketers run their Campaigns

What is strategy anyway?

 According to Wikipedia Strategy, a word of military origin refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. In military usage strategy is distinct from tactics, which are concerned with the conduct of an engagement, while strategy is concerned with how different engagements are linked. How a battle is fought is a matter of tactics: the terms and conditions that it is fought on and whether it should be fought at all is a matter of strategy, which is part of the four levels of warfare: political goals or grand strategy, strategy, operations, and tactics. Strategy has been extended beyond its traditional fields, military and grand strategy, to business, economics, game theory and other fields.

Ries discusses the Marketing Warfare material that came out of his book by the same name.

He quotes the famous Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz, the world’s most-famous military strategist, “Keep the forces concentrated in an overpowering mass. The fundamental idea always to be aimed at before all and as far as possible.”

He explains it this way “strategy is like a garden hose with an adjustable nozzle. Turn it one way to increase the concentration and out comes a powerful stream of water that could knock down a child. Turn it the other way and out comes a fine mist that wouldn’t harm a butterfly.He points out that almost every military strategist recommends “concentration of forces,” while almost every business strategist recommends “scatteration of forces.” Everything about marketing strategy parallels military strategy. The principle of force. The superiority of the defense. The advantage of flanking. And most importantly, the principle of focus.” 

There is one difference. Marketing is about brands, not companies. Apple has become the world’s most-valuable company, not by expanding the Apple brand, but by launching new brands: Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

Is this what marketing has become? A discipline that execute strategies designed by somebody else?Source

Let me know what you think.