I read one of the worst articles I’ve read in quite a while the other day. The article is right here, from Mashable, and in case you don’t want to click on it, I will reproduce a few of the more disturbing quotations below. NOTE: This article was meant to be a summary of a speech which I did not attend, and therefore portions may be out of context from the original author of the post.
But let me say, if I had been in attendance, I would have gauged my eyes out. Here’s why:
“The marketing world needs to stop being so afraid and start solving problems.”
First of all, you could delete the word “marketing” in this quote and replace it with practically any other industry. Of course, marketing is about solving problems, mainly problems with communication. I honestly don’t think I’ve met one person in the marketing industry afraid of solving problems. When you get into marketing, you know that it is about solving problems and you know the best marketers find a way to do it. But really, how does this statement differ for any industry? It is so broad and so vague and so baseless.
“Such trepidation (that marketing in general is driven by fear), predicated by the economy, has caused marketers to become much more cautious, hence the emphasis on data collection in lieu of risk-taking.”
Data is good, and data informs smarter decisions. I would argue that data allows marketers to take more risks, and better calculated risks. And, in fact, most marketers I know – including myself – use the data for that very reason: to take better risks, not to take less of them. Marketing is inherently risky no matter what data you have at your fingertips. The emphasis is not either/or when it comes to data & taking risks. Data leads to better risks. Why the economy was highlighted, other than to illustrate people spending less perhaps on marketing overall, is beyond me. Calculated risks, ones driven by data, will be taken no matter what the economy is like.
“Design your own metric system.”
I’m surprisingly not as down on this little nugget as you might expect, but, I think if taken out of context it can be a bit overwhelming for your average marketer. Everyone knows that metrics we use online are not foolproof. Last-click attribution and other shortcomings make metrics from the digital world in general make things imperfect, and I agree in general that with each unique business there are unique attribution & metrics systems. Yet, phrasing it this way is a little impractical. Designing your own metric system might be fine for someone in a vaccum, but if you’re in a services businesses or any marketing business which touches numerous other companies, this suggestion won’t hold water and is simply impractical.
“The new creativity is data-informed”.
So, we went from TOO data-reliant to stating that marketing should be data-reliant? I’m confused.
Marketing is not broken. People talking about marketing, who are not well-informed, are what is broken. I would argue that Marketing has never been in such a positive position ever before. More and more companies and businesses understand that marketing is a catalyst, not a below-the-line cost drain or even an “investment”; it is more than that. Sure, you need a great product or service, but marketing is clearly gaining momentum in its importance, not shrinking. The wrong talking heads actually do a disservice to marketing, not the marketers day-in and day-out who are actually running companies and have their finger on the pulse of everything happening.
Sometimes people who are trying to make headlines about Marketing set the practice back.