Marketers sure are depressed these days. With their budgets under attack and mounting pressure from higher-ups to demonstrate concrete ROI, they’re constantly seeking the holy grail of measurement, that one perfect tool, metric, piece of data that will finally – finally! – prove that their programs are working. But something is strikingly absent from their woebegone tales of unrealistic expectations and insufficient data:
Maybe the problem isn’t the metrics. Maybe, just maybe, it’s that the marketing sucks.
Why does most marketing suck so badly? Because marketers have fundamentally failed to understand their role in the 21st century. In the 20th century, marketing was about broadcasting your message, mass media, manufacturing desire, the 4 P’s, the 4 C’s and other buzzwords. In short, it was about who could tell the best lie, or at least (if we’re being generous) the best story. And it worked for a long time.
But this model is now broken. According to a study from 2005, the effectiveness of marketing is mediocre at best, and it’s getting worse. That was six years ago, pre-financial crisis, pre-social media explosion, pre-iPhone, pre-a lot of other things we now take for granted. I can’t imagine it’s gotten any better.
In the 20th century, marketers were liars and storytellers. To succeed in the 21st, marketers have to be builders.
Building isn’t just for developers and programmers. You, the marketer, must build things that create meaningful value for your customers. Things that solve problems. Things that empower, enrich and embolden. Things that help. Easier said than done? Asking too much of the marketing profession? That’s what a lazy marketer would say. I assure you it’s possible. It’s more than possible; it’s how your business will thrive.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll explore five different ways that marketers can go from being liars to being builders, including specific examples of companies who are doing just that. Until then, I suppose you’ll just have to wait with bated breath.