Gini Dietrich

Marketing is Dead?

By: Gini Dietrich | August 23, 2012 | 
86

We live in really interesting times.

Technology is coming at us more quickly than ever before.

It took the following technologies to reach 50 million users: Radio – 38 years; TV – 13 years; The Internet – four years; iPod – three years; Facebook added 100 million users in just nine months; and iPod app downloads hit one billion in nine months.

Last year we had two big social networks introduced – Google+ and Pinterest – and the latter is the fastest growing social network…ever.

It’s no wonder “experts” continue to claim certain things are dead. SEO is Dead! Public Relations is Dead! Advertising is Dead!

Marketing is Dead?

The most recent?

In a Harvard Business Review blog post, Bill Lee claims Marketing is Dead and he’s not being cynical; he’s really serious.

He makes a good case. He says buyers are no longer paying attention (half true) and CEOs are losing patience. In fact, he quotes a study of 600 CEOs who are frustrated with their chief marketing officers.

In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% of them said that 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.

This complements some of what we hear from clients and prospects, as well. But it certainly doesn’t mean marketing is dead. It just means marketers are under even more pressure to measure return-on-investment instead of brand awareness and credibility.

What Should We Be Measuring?

I have for-profit experience so the efforts we’re accustomed to measuring at my integrated marketing communications firm are: Increased revenues, shortened sales cycles, and/or improved margins.

In order to do that, we integrate social media, the web, and traditional marketing disciplines – media relations, advertising, direct marketing, and more.

Take Catalytic Products International as an example. They make oxidizers, which are not something you a) buy online or b) use the social networks to connect with the business leaders. If marketing truly were dead, they wouldn’t be doing anything to support their sales.

We used a combination of online advertising, trade shows, email marketing, content (white papers, case studies, educational newsletters), search engine optimization, media relations, and search engine marketing to market their business.

Notice the traditional and new marketing tactics in that list?

Last year, the marketing program generated $2.2 million in new revenue or an 8:1 return-on-investment. As it compared to margins, the return-on-investment was 3:1.

Marketing is long from dead. Don’t let the shiny, new penny distract you. Learn about it, figure out how it can be implemented, find ways to measure the results around the efforts of using it, but always integrate it into what is already working really well for you.

This first appeared in my weekly Crain’s column.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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86 Comments on "Marketing is Dead?"

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katskrieger
3 years 9 months ago

Great read Gini. Imagine that, marketing bringing in real revenue. You’ve been a big inspiration for me as I build out a marketing department that never really existed before. It’s reassuring to know I’m going down the right path! Thank you!

HowieG
3 years 9 months ago

 @katskrieger you do know that @ginidietrich only promises her clients will increase their cupcake consumption right?

katskrieger
3 years 9 months ago

 @HowieG  @ginidietrich Wait a second. Somehow I just promised Gini cupcakes. Something has gone very wrong! 🙂

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @katskrieger  @HowieG HOWIE! These things are supposed to be kept secret. Now you just ruined it!

KenMueller
3 years 9 months ago
Apparently everything is dead: social media, traditional media, blogging. At least that’s what I’m reading on the Internet. Oh, wait, the Internet is dead, too.    The one thing I’m curious about, and I’m not sure how you measure this…perhaps it’s more anecdotal, but I’m curious as to the expectations of the CEO’s regarding marketing, and how in tune with reality they are. Yes, we need to measure, but we’ve seen studies where many CEO’s are rather isolated from how things are done, particularly in areas like social media. Are they trying to fit a square peg into a round… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @KenMueller As you know, I spend A LOT of time on the road talking to business leaders through Vistage and I think it depends on the region of the country they’re in. For instance, business leaders in LA, Atlanta, and Washington, DC really get it. Of course, this is all anecdotal…I’ve done no real research. But it is pretty interesting to see how, if they have one savvy business leader who understands the web in their group, they all get it.

HowieG
3 years 9 months ago
 @KenMueller I think it is different for big business vs little business. As you climb the corporate ladder you tend to be less specialized and deal with other internal divisions. And unless you went to school for marketing you get trained everything is measurable. You can do quick math to see how an investment in a new machine a new hire a new product paid off or not. Then these folks have marketing and whether B2B or B2C by nature it is harder to measure because inputs and outputs for most things are hard to connect. So it takes a… Read more »
HowieG
3 years 9 months ago
First off the HBR has no credibility to me. I read their stuff and get flabbergasted that an mba from harvard means anything besides ‘I spent a ton on a piece of paper’.   First off marketing will never die. A smart business school professor will teach ‘Direct Sales is for high ticket items’ and marketing for ‘small ticket mass produced items’. Though technically both exist together. a stock clerk at walmart is technically a direct sales person just like the person who created the catalog to sell $1000 flow control valves to oil refineries for the direct sales person… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @HowieG Your last paragraph is the real trouble I see with what we deal with daily. If you really, really, really want more Facebook fans, you’ll find someone out there who will do that for you. But don’t call me when you’re upset because it didn’t do anything for you. It’s the Oprah effect to me. Because I’m in Chicago, people used to say to us ALL THE TIME, “Can you get us on Oprah” because they thought that was the golden ticket. People want to get rich quick and they see stuff like that as getting there.

KenMueller
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @HowieG Can you get Howie on Oprah? I’d pay to see that. 

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @KenMueller  @HowieG No.

HowieG
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @KenMueller No because you can’t or No because you refuse to jumpstart my flagging career on TV?

GeoffReiner
3 years 9 months ago
 @KenMueller I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “many CEO’s are rather isolated from how things are done, particularly in areas like social media.”  It’s so true. They are strategic and they shouldn’t understand the details but rather focus on result. I read the HBR article and I was instantly curious to find the average age of the 600 CEO’s interviewed. I think this would greatly impact the study.     Also, the way they positioned the article was a bit misconstrued to me. First they say that marketing is dead. Then at the end of… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @GeoffReiner  I think the guy probably had a compelling argument, but was met with a deadline and didn’t think all the way through his blog post. There was a lot of back and forth to what he meant.

GeoffReiner
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich Absolutely!  I felt the entire post to lack any real depth to back up his argument. Regardless, they got us talking about it 🙂

jono.smith
3 years 9 months ago

Your Catalytic case study takes me back to my very first marketing class. The professor said that designing a marketing communication platform that integrates multiple channels with consistent messaging and calls to action is the best way for a marketer to strengthen brand recognition while simultaneously bolstering sales. But for many very small businesses, this is not an economically viable option. Assuming you agree with this approach, what are everyone’s favorite examples of being multi-channel on a very limited budget?

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @jono.smith Yes! Hire us! 🙂
 
The nice thing about the web is a lot of the tools are free. So if you have someone in marketing who understands how to integrate the new with the old, you’re not going to spend a gazillion dollars, but you’ll achieve really strong brand awareness and sales. It does take some elbow grease, though. 

TishWine
TishWine
3 years 9 months ago

RT @ericamallison Marketing is Dead? http://t.co/0xLhlqsy via @ginidietrich

ericamallison
ericamallison
3 years 9 months ago

@TishWine @ginidietrich not on our watch! Thanks for sharing Gini’s post!

Danny Brown
3 years 9 months ago

People that compare luxury non-essential items to free social platforms, and quote the time it took to reach a certain critical mass, need their nether parts rubbed down with sandpaper and dipped in vinegar.
 
Shitdiots.

KenMueller
3 years 9 months ago

 @Danny Brown I think you just created a new business idea. Now…how to market that….

Evolve_Digital
3 years 9 months ago

 @Danny Brown Shitdiots – that rocks!

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @Danny Brown That sounds like it would hurt!

Danny Brown
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich Not as much as statements like these ones hurt our intelligence.

barrettrossie
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @Danny Brown  No Gini, it doesn’t hurt as much as you’d imagine. 

djordon
djordon
3 years 9 months ago

Welcome back, @ginidietrich.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@djordon I want to move to Maine. For good.

djordon
djordon
3 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich I felt the same way after a few days on the Oregon Coast. Sounds like you had a blast!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@djordon Ohhh. I love the Oregon coast, too

djordon
djordon
3 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich I mean, how could you not? Where in Maine did you visit?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@djordon We were south of Portland, right on the coast. My dad lives in Portland, OR and I’ve done the mountain to coast ride with him.

djordon
djordon
3 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich There’s a lot to love about that part of the country!

sydcon_mktg
3 years 9 months ago

Geez, I cant keep up with all these obituaries of dear old friends.  I think I need to expand my wardrobe to attend all the wakes/funerals. 

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @sydcon_mktg Just wear the same thing…it’s all black anyway.

sydcon_mktg
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich I can wear the same thing as long its not jeans right?!? 🙂

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @sydcon_mktg Well, I think you could probably wear black jeans unless you’re giving a eulogy. 

Carmelo
3 years 9 months ago
“What should we be measuring” how do we measure it, what does it mean? “What to leave out, what to leave in?” as the song goes … And yes, the blending of the old and the “new.” It really does get confusing if you keep it all at arms length but to honestly insist that marketing is dead is like saying food is no longer necessary now that we all take vitamins, fiber supplements and protein powder.   Is Marketing Dead? Pffft! Those 600 frustrated, detached, confused, crying meat-heads might want to relax, add a bit of fiber to their… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @Carmelo I think you just answered @jonmikelbailey question! We can create a new Call Me Maybe to these lyrics!

jonmikelbailey
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @Carmelo  @jonmikelbailey Don’t make me hurt you!

DavidRM
DavidRM
3 years 9 months ago
I would be more apt in agreeing that home-grown full-time marketing departments are not meeting expectations.  It’s like any competitive industry, a company’s full-time employees can get complacent and stagnant.  They don’t have to grow their knowledge base to stay on the bleeding edge, they get in grooves of “that’s how our boss wants it done”.     While, on the opposite end of the spectrum, are the companies that look towards finding relationships with external firms (The external firms have to stay bleeding edge or risk becoming obsolete.).  By partnering with these firms, they hopefully find not only more success in… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @DavidRM Now that I agree with! We all get complacent; it’s human nature. But not all of us stay that way.

Carmelo
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @DavidRM 1000 extra points to anyone who can show me the last time … ANY time Gini was complacent. Hmm? Anyone?

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @Carmelo  @DavidRM I was totally complacent the other day when my phone was dead and my phone charger was upstairs and I didn’t want to go alllll the way up there to plug it in. Or is that just lazy??

DavidRM
DavidRM
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @Carmelo No, you have just transcended activities that you shouldn’t have to do.  The universe, is just saying you need a personal assistant with you at all times (to search for things for you.  and remind you of your phone needing charging.)

DavidRM
DavidRM
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich  @DavidRM You are my superhero.  Nothing about you could ever remotely be mistaken for complacent.  Miss You.  

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @DavidRM Miss you, too!! 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@merubin Thank you!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@amarie5304 The “dead” memes drive me nuts

amarie5304
amarie5304
3 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich Agreed. All too often it’s used as a “must read” headline.

trackback
3 years 9 months ago

[…] our efforts.Marketing Is Dead – Bill Lee – Harvard Business Review.Related Story: Marketing is Dead?TweetNo related posts.Tags: Harvard Business, MarketingLeave a Reply Cancel replyYou must be logged […]

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@TroyClaus LOL!!

INBlaqkInk
INBlaqkInk
3 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich that was a very informative article!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@INBlaqkInk Why, thank you!

jonmikelbailey
3 years 9 months ago

Why can’t bloggers kill really evil things like racism, hunger or that “Call me Maybe” song???
 
Great post. I tend to question any statement or argument that is based on absolutes. CEOs are frustrated with CMOs? Is this new???

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @jonmikelbailey Maybe CMOs are frustrated with CEOs!

kristathomas2012
kristathomas2012
3 years 9 months ago

Great post and conversation Gini; appreciate your work.

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @kristathomas2012 Thanks Krista! I was just stalking Fan Appz online!

Leon
Leon
3 years 9 months ago
G’Day Genie,   Of course it’s not dead!  I’ve run a business for over 30 years. I coined—I think_— the phrase “marketing isn’t everything but everything is marketing.” a while back. Lots of people seem to like it includins Al Ries and John Jantsch.   I suspect that lots of managers have lots of different ideas about what constitutes “marketing.” So I’m a tad suspicious about surveys tellling us what CEOs think of marketing.   It’s also true that surveys may not provide the totally objective data they claim   A survey done here in Australia a couple of years… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @Leon Leon! I miss you! You good?

mdbarber
3 years 9 months ago

I am so tired of the ____ is dead posts from people who really don’t understand but instead want to promote their latest shiny penny. There are so many more important things in our world to be concerned about that which communications discipline is dead this week. But, as long as these folks continue to get business this way, and keep the rest of us frustrated, it will continue. I really appreciate your writing this post and hope it will make a difference. 

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @mdbarber I realize some of it is for link bait, but this particular article got me riled up because there really wasn’t a point to it. Oy.

mdbarber
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich  it’s the link bait that really gets to me. They aren’t about doing what’s right. They are about doing what generates clients in the short term. 

JayDolan
3 years 9 months ago

Perhaps the better argument is that “Marketing is Undead.” It has changed into a form that is recognizable, yet wholly different. It still functions in many of the same ways, but we need to approach it differently.
 
Otherwise it might take a bite out of our arm.

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @JayDolan Do you think it could make me a sammich?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@circlefive Thank you!

largento
largento
3 years 9 months ago

Someone ought to tell the CEOs how frustrated we are with them!

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @largento Ha! Maybe you could commission a study.

jeremyvictor
jeremyvictor
3 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich me too Gini … that article made my blood boil.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@jeremyvictor Some people’s children!

mitchellfriedmn
mitchellfriedmn
3 years 9 months ago

@mdbarber @ginidietrich Hey Hey my my marketing will never die (thank you, Neil Young)

mdbarber
mdbarber
3 years 9 months ago

@mitchellfriedmn exactly!

barrettrossie
3 years 9 months ago

It would be helpful if the author offered a definition of marketing. I like @Leon ‘s definition:  “marketing isn’t everything but everything is marketing.”  So if marketing is dead, the Mayans are right. Let’s just drop everything and party till the end. 

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @barrettrossie  Well, they could be right…we’ll find out in a few months.

Rodriguez247
3 years 9 months ago

And that is why I’m so against the term “unmarketing” While engaging with your customers is the ideal way to carry out your business, it requires planning, strategies and most importantly an understanding of the various ways to possibly market an ‘unconventional’ business like your example. The way that people are used to marketing is definitely dead, but I believe that it is evolving into a new form… 

ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

 @Rodriguez247 It’s definitely evolving…all of it is. But none of it is dead. It kills me that people forget about email marketing, but it’s still one of the most effective ways to do direct marketing (if done well). And, because no one is mailing anything anymore, it turns out to be pretty darn effective. 

Rodriguez247
3 years 9 months ago

 @ginidietrich I think it was Gary who said that email was the original social network. I think that is the reason that I was so drawn to your book, you explain all the different tools from a different perspective. Part of our strategy is to build and maintain an email database in case any of those networks in which we currently have a community decide to close shop (I’m sure it’s not going to happen, but email will be around for a long time…) 

ginidietrich
3 years 8 months ago

 @Rodriguez247 Why, thank you!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 9 months ago

@MarkMathson Thank you!

elijahmay
elijahmay
3 years 9 months ago

@lizscherer @ginidietrich let’s hope so 🙂

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
3 years 8 months ago

@joyadele Ha!

joyadele
joyadele
3 years 8 months ago

@ginidietrich 😉

joostharmsen
3 years 8 months ago

No marketing = No Sales = No Business = No Revenue = Bankrupt! Marketing is very important!! Great post and keep up the good work!

trackback

[…] Citing a Harvard Business Review article that said as much, Gini Dietrich posts “Marketing is Dead?” at Spin Sucks. […]

JTCattle
JTCattle
3 years 8 months ago

@MKTGdrA : Agreed. Much more to MKTG than Social Media, but hard to show ROI from a pic on Instagram and such

trackback

[…] Refine these strategic messages until they ring true. Check for consistency. Test them informally with customers or influencers, or use more formal research. Don’t commit to them without scrutiny because they will inform nearly all your marketing communications. […]

trackback

[…] the Skeptical Marketer will hear this, and immediately spot the big problem: She didn’t sell any tickets! Hello! And not […]

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