Marketing is NOT dead. What needs to die is the “everything is dead” meme.
Marketing is dead in the same way a caterpillar dies in its cocoon. Only i’m not sure marketing will emerge as a beautiful, magnificent butterfly. A moth maybe. The biggest difference is, that as a butterfly or moth is constrained by genetics and evolution to emerge as only one thing, marketing has the option of choosing how it will emerge. It can choose what it will look like and how it will act.
While some forms of marketing are on life support, others are thriving. While some argue that social media has killed marketing, I believe that social media is still dependent on traditional media for growth. They are still inextricably linked. Look at the emergence of social TV. Every commercial now has a link to a Facebook page. Many shows are including Tweet streams on a scrolling bar at the top of the screen. The idea is to get people talking about the show and continue the conversation. But here’s the kicker, you won’t leave during the commercials to go Tweet your friends. You’ll keep going through the commercials and most likely include them in your conversation. Win for the network, win for the advertisers. This is marketing adaptation.
The same applies to the magazine and newspaper industry. They start the conversation in print and move it to a different medium to facilitate and accommodate conversation. Yes, we’ve moved from a monologue to a dialogue. Some even argue that social media has now put consumers in charge of the market. Here’s some news, consumers have always controlled the market, now they just have more control of the message. Before social media and the internet, we voted with our wallets. If we didn’t like a business, we simply went elsewhere. Now we go elsewhere, but we tell a thousand people on the way.
Saying customer service is killing marketing is another invalid argument. Customer service has, and always will, be a vital business component. Businesses aren’t just waking up in the social media age and saying, “Gee, I think we should be nice to people because they now have a voice”. People have always had a voice, just not on this scale. And the fact that everyone now has a voice and a platform, doesn’t necessarily mean that they all deserve to. Heck, many should have their microphones turned off. Most of the time we’re so busy spouting of at the gums that we forget to listen. Often businesses are willing to make things right but we’re so busy being right that we don’t give them a chance to.
Questioning the ROI of social media is not the solution. If you were to not question the ROI of a newspaper ad, a magazine ad, a TV ad, etc. Any business owner would call you a fool. What’s the ROI of the phone? Well, in the 1860s when the phone was new technology, Bell had a difficult time getting businesses to use phones as they were unnecessary. How did they convince businesses to start using their technology? They showed them how they could save time, money, travel expenses, etc. They showed them a positive return on their investment.
What’s the ROI of conversations?
You ever been shopping for shoes and you know exactly what you want but some other person is hogging all of the salesman’s time with inane questions? You eventually leave without purchasing those $200 shoes that you already decided on, while the other person leaves without making a sale. Now the salesman is out the commission he was going to make on your sale because he spent all his time dealing with that other customer who bought nothing. What is the ROI of this conversation? What is the ROI of a relationship that you invest 100 hours into maintaining, fostering, growing, that ends up making your business a sale of $500 and a profit of $50? What is the ROI of your time? Well, since time is money, we can actually calculate that. Figure out what your time is worth by the hour, we’ll say $25 just for fun.
A simple ROI calculation is (Gains-Cost)/Cost x 100 So now plug in your numbers. Relationships are great, if they’re the right ones. I would never undermine the importance of relationships as that’s what solid business is built on. But without ROI, it won’t be long until you no longer have a business. But I guess you can cash in on all your misguided relationships when you need a couch to crash on.
Content: What is the ROI of your mother? Context: Ask that question in an orphanage.
Every industry has, is, or will change the way they market. The advent of the internet has forced that, just as print did. As TV did. As radio did. Marketing is not dead, it is evolving. It is re-inventing itself. It’s shifting mediums. The argument that marketing is dead hold as much water as a colander. Your theory is full of holes.
Social media is a tool. It does not in itself make people social. Social is something humans already are. it’s something we always have been. Social is medium agnostic. We will always find a way to be social. It’s human nature.
“You NEED to be on social media”. This is a bullshit argument. What you need to do, is what’s right and what works for your business, period. Anyone that tells you that you NEED to be using social media is probably trying to sell themselves as a consultant and has no idea how any other forms of marketing work. Do I advise you to not use social media? If you’re going to half ass it, absolutely. But then again, if you’re going to half ass anything in your business, I would advise you not to bother.
Much of the founding of the social media industry was raised and spoon-fed a steady diet of pablum made up of unicorn shit, fluff, and other assorted fillers. As we shift from social media to social business, many of these charlatans and their theories will be tossed aside to make room for the uprising of those who can tie social media to real business objectives and show tangible results. Businesses are tired of being made fools of. It’s time to weed the garden. The church of the unicorn is being exposed in all its self-righteous glory.
The reason many folks in the social media industry can’t produce real results is because they don’t know how. When the economy started tanking, and social media started taking off, it became a natural transition for may people to make a quick buck. What happened though, was that many of these people could formulate a mean Tweet, or write a wicked status update, they had no business acumen. How the heck can you integrate social media into a business if you don’t know business? If you’re a business looking to jump into social media, ask yourself a few questions before hiring a consultant.
You can find a list of questions here.
Everybody wants to claim something is dead. Heck, many of them want to be proclaimed the hero for swinging the death blow. Marketing is dead in the same way that neanderthal man is. It may not exist anymore the way it once did, but I can assure you, that it lives on to this day.
Marketing is more alive now than ever. Marketing is more important now than ever. In a marketplace that’s become so over-crowded and a talent pool that’s so watered down, good marketing is necessary to stand out and be seen.
Marketing is not dead, but some marketing rumours should be. And all bad marketing will be.