Reflections on MARCOM 2014

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Another great year for MARCOM 2014… “Canada’s premiere educational forum for public and not-for-profit sector marketers and communicators”. Great speakers and trade show; great venue at the Ottawa Convention Centre and this year’s food was the best ever. No question that my colleague Claire Mills and the advisory committee, volunteers and sponsors did a great job in organizing and running the event.

The forum Keynote, Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, was terrific as usual. This year he discussed five new movements that have changed the way we do business forever. The next five years he suggests will be about the convergence of these five major movements that will require organizations to adapt like never before. For more information check out his book; CTRL ALT Delete: Reboot Your Organization…Your Future Depends on it.

I really enjoyed doing my pre -MARCOM social marketing workshop this year; we had a great group of attendees.

The peer – to – peer round tables were a hit again this year and really pleased with doing a round table with my colleague Kathleen Connelly, on Integrated Communications and Stakeholder Engagement. We had a great turnout for this year’s round table. There is no question that public sector and not-for-profit organizations today are looking for approaches that motivate various audiences to get engaged and take action.Here is the link to our roundtable handout.

I enjoyed doing the opening panel on day 2  with my colleague Bernie Colterman and Stephen Faul (Imagine) for the Not-for-Profit and Association Sectors. It’s no secret that both sectors are facing serious challenges. Increased competition for mind-share and dollars, changing demographics and new technologies are just some of the dynamics that are forcing them to take a fresh new look at their business models.

I discussed how the traditional not-for-profit culture needs to change to adapt to today’s environment and how they need to embrace marketing as a means of making this cultural shift. For more information on my thinking on developing a marketing culture, check out How to Create and Sustain a Marketing Culture in a Public Sector or Non-Profit Organization

Also congratulations to my colleagues at Intersol for the Intersol Advice Café: Fresh Ideas for Smarter Marketing which ended the MARCOM forum. Very useful exercise and I hope we continue doing this event in future. The concept of the  marketing community of practice  sharing information, experience, best practices and advice is a splendid idea.

Finally, I would like to share something that happened on day 2. There was a presentation on Blueprint 2020: A Case Study on Engagement through Social Media. For those who are not familiar with Blueprint 2020 launched by the Clerk of the Privy Council in June 2013, it is an unprecedented engagement exercise that offers federal public servants across the country to take part in a dialogue about the future of the public service.

The session discussed the use of social media and collaborative tools, as well as more traditional methods, to participate in a dialogue on the future of the public service.

There is no question that any effort to help shape the public service of tomorrow and find fresh ways to uphold the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of Canada’s Public Service is a darn good idea. In a rapidly changing world shaped by technology, globalization and an inundation of information and data, clearly the Canadian public service needs fresh ideas.

After the presentation was completed, an interesting  question came from one of the MARCOM delegates. The questioner wanted to know if part of the process for Blueprint 2020 included consulting with clients/customers of the government.

Can you imagine any business organization who was trying to respond to questions like; Where do we need to be in five to ten years, How do we have to change to get there, What best practices should we adopt to help us do our job better  not consulting with their clients/customers?

No question that there needs to be an internal component but talking to yourselves without reaching out to those you serve is not good strategy. And no credible marketer would ever dream of such an approach. (keep in mind that the question was asked at a marketing forum)

The questioner also pointed out that public servants are continually criticized by the public and wouldn’t it be a good idea to dialogue with Canadians.

This is a pivotal time for Canada’s public service. As events evolve rapidly in an increasingly complex world, public servants must continue to ask themselves how and what they do for Canadians is relevant to the needs of the people they serve. A good start would be talking to Canadians as part of Blueprint 2020.

I hope you’ll join us next year at the Ottawa Convention Centre June 10-11, 2015 (Workshops June 9).

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There is a rising need for highly-skilled marketing professionals in the public and non-profit sectors to effectively bring their organization’s products, services and messages to the marketplace. The Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing is uniquely designed to equip participants with the information, tools and solutions necessary to skillfully and mindfully navigate their way through the fascinating and complex world of marketing. This program engages participants in a rich learning environment that reinforces theory with practical, real-life examples based upon the extensive experience of the instructors.

  • Learn what you really need to know about marketing in the public and non-profit sectors in 1 week;
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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.

 UGH!!!

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

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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

Register

To learn about all of our training programs

Go to our web site Cepsm.ca

 

 

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Is Marketing Dead?

“Business has only two basic functions-marketing and innovation.”

Peter Drucker, management consultant and author

 

A recent controversial article by Bill Lee in the Harvard Business Review proposes that traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Yes dead as a doornail.

Lee states that many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm.

His evidence:

  • Buyers are no longer paying much attention. Several studies have confirmed that in the “buyer’s decision journey,” traditional marketing communications just aren’t relevant. Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, and often from sources outside the firm such as word-of-mouth or customer reviews.
  • 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.
  • In today’s increasingly social media-infused environment, traditional marketing and sales not only doesn’t work so well, but doesn’t make sense. An organization hires people — employees, agencies, consultants, partners — who don’t come from the buyer’s world and whose interests aren’t necessarily aligned with his, and expects them to persuade the buyer to spend his hard-earned money on something. When you try to extend traditional marketing logic into the world of social media, it simply doesn’t work according to Lee.  Source

There’s a lot of speculation about what will replace the “marketing” model. Here is Lee’s take:

1. Restore community marketing. Used properly, social media is accelerating a trend in which buyers can increasingly approximate the experience of buying in their local, physical communities. For instance, when you contemplate a major purchase, such as a flat screen TV, or a good surgeon, you’re not likely to go looking for a salesperson to talk to, or to read through a bunch of corporate website content. Instead, you’ll probably ask neighbors or friends — your peer networks — what or whom they’re using.

2. Companies should position their social media efforts to replicate as much as possible this community-oriented buying experience. For example, a new firm, Zuberance, makes it easy and enjoyable for a firm’s loyal customers to advocate for the firm on their social media platform of choice. At the moment one of these customers identifies himself as a “promoter” on a survey, they immediately see a form inviting them to write a review or recommendation on any of several social media sites. Once they do, the Zuberance platform populates it to the designated sites, and the promoter’s network instantly knows about his experience with the firm.

3. Find your customer influencers. Many firms spend lots of resources pursuing outside influencers who’ve gained a following on the Web and through social media. A better approach is to find and cultivate customer influencers and give them something great to talk about. This requires a new concept of customer value that goes way beyond customer lifetime value, which is based only on purchases.

4. Help them build social capital. Practitioners of this new, community-oriented marketing are also rethinking their customer value proposition for such MVP (“Customer Champion”) customer advocates and influencers. Traditional marketing often tries to encourage customer advocacy with cash rewards, discounts or other untoward inducements. The new marketing helps its advocates and influencers create social capital: it helps them build their affiliation networks, increase their reputation and gives them access to new knowledge.

5. Get your customer advocates involved in the solution you provide. Perhaps the most spectacular example of this comes from the non-profit world (i.e. social marketing). Some years ago, with the number of teen smokers nation-wide rising to alarming levels, the State of Florida thought anew about its decades-long effort to reduce the problem. Using the techniques for building a community of peer influence, Florida solved it. They sought influential teen “customers” such as student leaders, athletes, and “cool kids,” who weren’t smoking or who wanted to quit — and instead of pushing a message at them, they asked for the students’ help and input.

Approached in this new way, some 600 teens attended a summit on teen smoking, where they told officials why anti-smoking efforts in the past hadn’t worked — dire warnings about the health consequences of smoking, or describing the habit as “being gross,” left them unimpressed. On the spot, the teens brainstormed a new approach: they were outraged by documents showing that tobacco company executives were specifically targeting teens to replace older customers who’d died (often from lung cancer).

And so the teens formed a group called SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) who organized train tours and workshops, sold T-shirts and other appealing activities to take their message into local communities. The result: despite a vicious counterattack by Big Tobacco lobbying firms, teen smoking in Florida dropped by nearly half between 1998 and 2007 — by far the biggest success in anti-teen-smoking in history. Put another way, Florida won half of the “non-buyers” of its anti-teen-smoking “product” away from its much bigger, much better funded competitor. They did so by tapping the best source of buyer motivation: peer influence. Source

For more information on the Florida Truth campaign go to link.

Lee concludes that traditional marketing may be dead, but the new possibilities of peer influence-based, community-oriented marketing, hold much greater promise for creating sustained growth through authentic customer relationships.

Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image.  responded to the article by arguing; that marketing isn’t dead. Marketing (which encompasses everything from product, price, place and promotion) is not only alive and well… its core to a business’ success. In short marketing isn’t dead. Marketing is everything.

Joel states “In fact, I would tell Mr. Lee, the Harvard Business Review, and anyone else who asks that advertising (as we have known it to date) is not dying. In fact, it’s not on life-support, it’s not sick, and it probably doesn’t even have the sniffles. Does that mean that social media and digital media has not disrupted the model or added new layers and opportunities? Of course it has. Does it mean that newer components like community management, engaging influencers, building social capital with customers, and engaging with consumers in more collaborative ways (the four core pillars that Lee argues have put the death knell on traditional marketing) hasn’t changed the game? Of course it has.” Source

Maggie Fox points out in her blog that Marketing isn’t dead – the big disruption is simply that it’s now everywhere, and everything, that a company does.

Here are some of the other comments on Lee`s article. Note there were close to hundred comments but here are a few I think are relevant from my perspective.

“Traditional” marketing may not have the stand alone effectiveness, and some forms of media may not have the pull or glamour they once did, but many of the “traditional” methods still work as essential elements to creating effective campaigns/brands/plans. Social media is only one part of the puzzle and social media needs good marketing behind it to be at all successful. “

“Marketing as it has been practiced is evolving owing to the changes we witness around us. Some of the tenets of marketing will get questioned, some of them will come to the forefront and assume greater importance, some will become short term fads and dissipate in a few years as the societal evolution will confine them in a dustbin and some of them will pass the test of time with flying colors. Let’s not start writing premature obituaries”.

“Social media and peer-to-peer marketing have a vital place; at the same time, there’s much data to show increased sales, revenue, market share etc. from the use of traditional marketing.

“Technology is a game changer and today a greater percentage of investigation is done online before a prospect ever talks to a sales person. However, saying marketing is dead is just foolish. Marketing and sales both are evolving and the Internet and technology growth on the Internet is having a substantial effect. Marketing will evolve to incorporate new technology and the way buyer research purchases before they move to a purchase mode. “

“Marketing is not dead; it’s just changed to be in the hands of the consumer and businesses, brands, whatever need to get on board with that. The dinosaurs of ‘traditional’ marketing are struggling to grasp that and hence this type of article rears its ugly head. It’s a shame, as this article has some great insight and advice mixed in, especially around advocates.”

Source

Here is my take:

Marketing is clearly not dead, like many disciplines it’s constantly evolving. 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.

Lee is not telling us anything we don`t know.  Of course you need to use a variety of integrated marketing approaches to reach audience these days. Yes the idea by some marketing practitioners thinking that using one approach to market is “dead” but frankly since the introduction of integrated marketing communications (see my blog ) I would argue it has been dead for at least three decades.  As I have pointed out in over 150 blogs there is good marketing and bad marketing. I have been very critical of the bad marketing observed in my career as a practitioner, academic and consultant.  The secret to successful marketing is to be open to new ideas,  be strategic i.e. develop a marketing strategy before going headlong into tactics and most important  listen to the people you are trying to reach and influence .

Is marketing dead? Hardly!

Let me know what you think.

 

 

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