A recent Harvard Business Review article posited the idea that marketing is dead. It argued that not only are buyers not paying attention to traditional means of marketing, including advertising, public relations, and branding, but also that marketing no longer makes sense given the rise of social media over the last several years. Apparently those in the marketing field don’t care either.
The article sited an unflattering study of marketing CEOs, many who claimed to be tired of expending resources on traditional marketing strategies. To avoid becoming an all-out downer piece, HBR offered several alternate promotional tactics that utilize consumers as peer advocates in untapped markets.
Marketing Might Not Be Dead After All
However, marketing is not dead. It’s evolving. Though HBR offers up a valid point; social media does play a large role in how we as consumers now view products and services – literally. Instead of watching television commercials or flipping through magazines to find out about a product, we can simply tap our pool of Facebook friends or Twitter followers and poll them whenever we are considering a new purchase. If we’re not asking our social media community about their buying preferences, we are learning of them by noting what they post on their status updates or Twitter feeds. In today’s social media-driven world, one Tweet praising a new restaurant may hold more persuasive power than a $50K commercial produced specifically to promote it.
That said, who didn’t see “The Force” Volkswagon commercial that featured a mini Darth Vader trying to assert his powers? Given that it has nearly 55 million views on YouTube, a lot of us did. And who doesn’t immediately recognize the Apple logo? The point being, traditional marketing is alive and well. Yet as with any other industry, it must embrace change to remain relevant. That means using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to bolster marketing campaigns, not replace them. However, no matter how effective a company’s advertising or branding strategy might be, no amount of marketing can substitute for a great product. So yes… marketing pros have a big task ahead of them. They must continue to create memorable TV commercials and eye-catching print ads. They must also adopt social media marketing tactics as well. However, perhaps the question to ask is not whether marketing is dead, but rather can companies live up to the hype that successful marketing campaigns generate?