Saturday, 24 May 2008

Marketing Is Dead. Long Live Marketing.

When I first met Peter at McCann back in '97, one of the first things he introduced to me was the concept that with interactive media brands create customers and customers create brands. He had this slide that talked about the future of networked brands as not only the promise but the experience of the brand. I swear the first time we talked about that, I had to have him explain to me what the hell he was talking about at least a hundred times before I got it. With the continuing lower costs of interactions, and high levels of brand engagement due to the ever empowered digital customer, our brand landscape has evolved somewhat to look a little bit more like this...

And yet, we still have done very little to re-look at how organizations and agencies not only build brands but engage their customers. If customer experience is the marketing proposition then we have to look at how traditional marketing departments are organized.

Marketing is more and more about the customer. It's about engagement, intimacy, conversations and every other cliche word that we love to hear and use at digital marketing conferences. And if that is the case, should agencies be Agents of the customer? And shouldn't then marketing departments actually be about customer engagement? Shouldn't it look something a little bit more like this?

To understand the customer, CMO's should have to spend a certain number of hours a day listening to the ideas, frustrations and insights that customers bring to organizations every day through customer care call centres. They should have their email addresses prominently displayed so unhappy customers can contact them directly. They should be in charge of PR and community relations so they are keenly attached to the communities of people they serve.

Marketing is dead. Long live marketing.


Brian Phipps said...

I certainly agree that brands create customers. The question is: what kind of customer does the brand create? A rank follower, or a proactive partner who can add value back to the brand? A brand that aims only to create a sales transaction, as a stylized sales stimulant, barely scratches the surface of customer potential. It's bound to be shallow. However, if one conceives brands as a way to team with customers to innovate and to create new value, then lots of new and goodly things become possible.

Leigh said...

Totally agree Brian. I like the way you use the phrase 'team with customers'. I still think that most clients/agencies see this new landscape in terms of free marketing (i.e. let's create a word of mouth marketing campaign) vs. true value exchange with the customer (let's create something that is meaningful together).

David Himel said...

In a joyous moment last night, I was contacting XBoxLive regarding a customer service issue, and when the problem was not covered on the script, I requested my customer service agent put me through to a manager....she hung up the phone on me. Very interesting relationship between brand and the customer!!! I guess Im going to have to hang up the xbox live?

Lara said...

Hello :)

Great post - just fell over it now. Am writing my MA thesis about similar topics and think that your post still holds very much true today - unfortunately! If you have any tips on literature/blogs/articles you can pass on, I'd be very grateful :) Thanks for the read.


Leigh said...

Hi Lara

what is your post specifically focused on? Happy to pass on resources if i can think of any that are relevant.

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