Marketing Unleashed

If your organization’s view of what marketing can do for the business is too narrow, your organization is missing out. Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • What is marketing anyway? The answer is less straightforward than you might suppose.
  • Below is the latest definition from the American Marketing Association, approved by their members in 2017. It’s not exactly crystal clear. 🤔
  • Academic and author Philip Kotler has offered his own definition: “The science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.”
  • It sounds to us like he’s describing business as whole.
  • Way back in 1950s, author and professor E. Jerome McCarthy came up with the “Four P’s” framework—still held up by many as the best working definition of marketing’s primary levers.
  • If you need a refresher, the four Ps are product, price, place and promotion.
  • Then there’s Seth Godin. He offers the simplest definition of marketing we’ve found: “If you need to persuade someone to take action, you’re doing marketing.”
  • All of these definitions—as imperfect as they may be—have one thing in common. They’re broad. Much broader than the way marketing is seen in most organizations.
  • This narrow view on marketing represents a missed opportunity.
  • Consider Zappos. They’ve built their brand on amazing customer service. They see the cost of delivering that amazing service as a marketing expense. Effectively, their success stems from a broader view of what marketing is.
  • Or Disney. What are their parks if not a giant, never-ending experiential campaign for their IP?
  • Then there’s Tesla. They proudly eschew advertising. But they also have over 16,000 heavily-branded superchargers scattered around the world.
  • These things don’t happen if marketing is confined to promotional campaigns and communication.
  • In recent years, some have noticed this missed opportunity and attempted to spark a discussion in our industry.
  • Much of this has been focused on the role and mandate of the CMO. What does the ideal modern CMO look like? Is it time to replace the job title with something new?
  • It’s an interesting question. Sort of. But so far it hasn’t lead to much progress in broadening marketing’s impact.
  • Why not? We have a theory—this is not about control.
  • And it’s not about expanding or reimagining the CMO’s domain.
  • It’s really about influence—infusing marketing into the way the whole organization acts and behaves.
  • Mark Ritson agrees: “Clearly, most marketers do not exclusively control price, product development or distribution. But it would be damaging to mistake control for influence. Proper marketers working at well-run organisations have significant impact and input across all of their company’s tactics.”
  • If you don’t have that kind of influence yet, it might be time to launch a campaign. 😉
Issue #150
Aug 22, 2022

Further Reading