Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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A Klingon is one of the bad guys in Star Trek; a Marketing “Cling-on” is also dangerous…someone who clings on to rules of thumb from the past, believing the world is really not so different after all.
Trekkies know what a Klingon looks like, but how about a Marketing “Cling-on?” Here are some examples.
In a recent column in Ad Age, Al Ries talks about “Metrics Madness”. He contends that mathematics is logical but marketing is not; it is a discipline that can only be learned by exposure to marketing case histories over an extensive period of time. OK, from Star Trek to Yoda.
Ries says, “there are many situations where the ROI is zero and yet the marketing expenditures are worthwhile…Suppose a leading brand spends $50 million a year on advertising. And suppose that brand’s market share doesn’t budge at all. Was that $50 million wasted? Not necessarily.” Paraphrasing, he says that advertising is the best way to insure brand leadership positions.
Time travel…very 1980s. Cling-on to a simple world—consistent commitment to brand advertising and positioning and the ship will stay right on course.
In this economy, $50MM budgets do NOT remain sacrosanct without proof and optimization. Where is social media in this brand leadership blueprint? Certainly there is little insight about social media in case histories “over an extensive period of time” (Twitter is like two years old, right?) Math and marketing are oil and water? Isn’t Google basically math? Isn’t Tesco overtaking Sainsbury largely a triumph of insight emerging from terabytes of shopper data?
Another example of Marketing Cling-ons. A recent study from McCann Erickson UK reports that 67% of marketing executives confess they do not know enough about social media and 86% “admit” it is here to stay. Wow! Wouldn’t you like to know who the 14% are who do NOT think social media is here to stay? (“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…”) Wouldn’t you also like to know how many of the 33% who say they DO know enough about social media are even on Twitter or active on Facebook? I’m betting a lot aren’t.
One final example of a Marketing Cling-on. In a blog posting, I saw the quote that “social media is just one boat on the ocean of word of mouth” (implied, which has been around for countless years…). Social media is BIGGER than word of mouth! It has forever changed the way we live our lives, and how many marketers think, turning marketing from an announcement to a conversation. Come on people, skate to where the puck is going! Social media has put the human at the center of marketing thinking, placing the marketing research function at center stage. Mommy bloggers brought down a major ad campaign via social media. Newsrooms and tweeple are constantly monitoring social media for breaking stories. Susan Boyle has over 100 million views on youtube. Obama is president. This is NOT the world of word of mouth that has always existed.
Oh, by the way, this week it was reported that traffic to Twitter exceeded traffic to the NY Times. Two hours ago, I just saw a link posted by Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Online in FB that “Hulu Grows Nearly 500% Since This Time Last Year”. Need I say more?

You can follow @joelrubinson on twitter.

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2 Responses to “Avoid Marketing "Cling-ons"”

  1. ray

    Count me in…could it be that people are smarter than most marketers? Let the learning begin…

  2. McCann-Erickson, one of my alma maters, is famous for conducting timely and cutting edge market research studies. The finding that 67% of marketing executives do not know enough about social media (yet 86% feel that social media are here to stay) is reminiscent of results from a study that was conducted about the Internet approximately a decade ago. At that time, about two-thirds of marketers in the US and UK thought that the Web was going to be a transformative medium. However, they did not consider themselves expert enough to know how to effectively use it to drive brand awareness and ROI. Given that history, let’s hope that the 33% learn quickly and that the 14% come to realize they were wrong.