Marketing is turning into an IT function

From Mark Schaefer comes this great piece “The heart, the soul, the truest pulse of marketing is vaporizing because our profession is turning into a glorified IT function. Marketing strategy is being derived from data scientists, SEO gurus, and statisticians doing A/B testing in a back room somewhere. We are implementing strategies and tactics based on what statistically is supposed to work, instead of what customers really want”.

For years Edelman has traced the decline in trust between consumers and companies through its Trust Barometer report. Trust is at an all-time low for many companies and I have to wonder … is part of this because consumers are sitting out there thinking … “you know we hate this stuff you do. Why do you keep doing that to us?”

Consumers are basically simple creatures with straightforward needs and easily observed behaviors. Marketers are complicated critters with strange customs and mysterious beliefs. Marketers are taught not to think simply. In fact, the whole practice of marketing is based on the conviction that there are forces at work in the minds of consumers that only trained specialists (ya know, us) are qualified to interpret.

Thinking simply has been beaten out of marketers . You can’t be taken seriously in any marketing or advertising organization if you suggest that the bulk of consumer behavior is perfectly obvious.

How marketers think and how consumers think couldn’t be more different. Consumers want clarity and simplicity. Marketers want to complicate the shit out of everything.

So how dumb are most marketers? Consider this..

  • Brands plan to spend more on programmatic ads, even though most are ripe with fraud and never seen by people.
  • They still believe in social media marketing.
  • Private label sales are eating brands market share for lunch.

So how do brands respond? They respond by running an ad on the Super Bowl, which just supports my hypothesis that there are too many really bad marketers.

The best way for marketers to learn about consumers is to drop the meaningless data and go out and watch people shop.  It’s all about retail and always will be.

 

 

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