Marketing is broken, at least marketing as we know it. A non-marketeer dredges up the ugly and the beautiful in the marketing world.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Miserable Marketing

Somewhere between the ad campaigns designed to "build a brand" (think of McDonald's annual slogan-of-the-year), the ad blitzes designed to brainwash you into wanting a product (think of the way any TV network launches a new show), and the veiled conflict of interest marketing (MTV promoting the music of artists who happen to have shows on MTV), there are a few nuggets of truly interesting marketing (think Chick-fil-A's cow campaign, when it first launched).

You may say, "Rob, you're a software developer, what do you know about marketing?" I know that I'm part of a growing group of people in a key U.S. "target demographic" that has been largely desensitized and even grown contemptuous of of the way Madison Avenue thinks they can convince me to purchase a product. If they want to get into my wallet, they'll need to either listen to me or figure out how to fool me - that makes me expert enough to have a voice. Advertising used to be effective because there were only so many billboards, newspaper/magazine pages, and TV channels to advertise on. If you were willing to pay to make an ad, and present it in the media, you'd get noticed. You were the only name customers would recognize at the store, and the ads paid off. The media outlets multiplied, and it became impossible to crowd out the competition as before, so they tried to crank up the volume instead, thinking that the same bland messages that won them business before, repeated more often, would keep their business up. Instead they just alienated their audience. TiVo, ad blockers, pop-up blockers, spam filters, and do-not-call lists aren't a coincidence. We're sick of it. Get the message.

I can't promise to be as in-your-face as Hugh Macleod or as ingenious as Seth Godin, but those guys are visionaries of a marketing future that has just begun to arrive. I don't know enough to create good marketing, especially for a living. But I know bad marketing when I see it. You'll see it too.

7 Comments:

Blogger Just A Girl (?) said...

sadly, what you say is far too true. there are so few truly excellent ad campaigns anymore, like the Chick-fil-A one you mentioned, or the witty Tide ads. somewhere along the way, i guess marketing execs decided that as long as you throw some girls in bikinis or someone famous in alongside whatever you want to sell it makes for good advertising. so much for creativity.

12:02 AM

 
Anonymous Katherine Stone said...

More people agree with you than you know when it comes to the amount of bad marketing that is out there. Glad you're adding your voice to the fray!

12:22 PM

 
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