I almost don’t even know what to type after reading quotations from a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of a huge company on Business Insider. Here is the link, and I’m reprinting the pertinent quotations. Are you sitting down?
* “I think what people want are brand experiences (in marketing and when being marketed to).”
* “I think the days of traditional mass marketing are kind of over.”
I’m not quick to just trash people on this blog, because mostly I respect other people’s opinions and also don’t ever want to make things personal. And my commentary is not personal in this case. But I have to ask the question after reading this: if a CMO for one of the largest brands in the world says this, are we (in marketing) doomed? I mean….”IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT?”
Let’s work backwards to forwards.
Mass marketing isn’t over, but effective mass marketing is. It isn’t “over” per se, because there are still some ill-advised brands and companies pouring money into mass marketing. TV, Radio, Outdoor, etc. Tons of money in those industries. Look up the statistics. Mass marketing is a huge economic channel for marketing and that won’t end soon. But effective mass marketing is for sure over, in lieu of other more effective (fast, measurable, etc) channels, and has been for years unless you’re in the .0005% of marketers lucky enough (yes, lucky enough) to have your campaign work or make an impact. Because mass marketing that is deemed to have worked does include an element of luck. It just does.
I simply hope that most marketers are a little more ahead of the curve in their thinking or commentary, and certainly in their “vision”.
The “brand experiences” line really gets me. This is a joke. Since social media rose to prominence, this exact line of thinking has been every marketer’s crutch. In 2007, I heard about “experiences” and “engaging with a brand.” You know what I want out of Frito-Lay? I want awesome Frito’s. I want to consume awesome Frito’s, and I want them to come out with more awesome Frito’s and then tell me about it. I could give a shit about “experiencing the brand”…whatever that means. This is such a BS line, shockingly recounted over and over by top marketers, that I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Other businesses refer to this brand experience too, not just this company. We have social media to blame. Suddenly, a “like” means “I want a brand experience” and that’s “worth something” to a brand and now we have to provide consumers with a whole experience when all I really care about is the product you make.
I think what people really want from marketing is to present and communicate pertinent information about a product or service that is truly valuable, and how people really should want and need the actual product or service because it makes their life better. What is a brand experience? What does it mean? Nothing!
The act of “liking” a brand doesn’t mean I want to engage with the brand itself. It means I like Frito’s (in this case). It means “I like your food, I snack on it at 2AM sometimes when I know I shouldn’t, and good job for creating a tasty snack food.” It DOES NOT mean I want a brand experience (again, whatever that means). I’m not “experiencing” your brand, I eat your food.
This whole line of thinking is such phony bologna – the sooner we, in the profession, move past these sort of buzzwords, phrases and sentences, the better we will be. Marketing, at its root, is no different now versus 10 years ago. If marketers have a good product or service, truly worth talking about, and worth letting people know about, it stands a chance. If not, no amount of “brand experience” is going to get your stuff sold.