Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Living Death

George A. Romero was an early contributor to t...
George A. Romero was an early contributor to the genre with his 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
No, this post isn't about the Zombie Apocalypse, although that'd get a lot of page views. Its about yet another pundit suggesting something is dead. That too gets page views. Death, vampires, and celebrities. Dead celebrity vampires are especially good for page views. But I digress.

No, this post is about a recent speech to the IoD given by Saatchi and Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts who boisterously proclaimed (as ad people are fond of doing) the following things as dead:

Value Statements.
The 'Big Idea'.

Suddenly I'm not feeling too good myself.

In fact, these things are not dead, they are merely changing. I'd use a caterpillar/butterfly analogy here but I fear metaphors may be dead too.

Marketing used to be about positioning, segmentation, and anticipating customer needs. Roberts says that approach is dead because change is too rapid today. Essentially, he says, think too long about it and 'poof!' its different and you're on the wrong track.

That's not death, that's just an acknowledgement of the importance of agility. Marketing requires greater agility than ever before. It means marketers have to listen more than ever before.

Value statements are dead and dreams are in. Dreams are in all right, dreams in the form of stories that register with customers. That's not death, that's an ability to convey moods, emotions, and to create relevance for your brand among customers. Tell a story, don't recite a fact... build a relationship, not a transaction.

Strategy involves too much consideration in a hyper world. Take an action, any action. Strategy is death. Still, if you don't have a destination in mind, to paraphrase the Cheshire Cat, any road will get you there. Strategy isn't dead. Analysis paralysis is dead.

Big ideas are dead, small ideas are where the excitement is. A series of ideas appealing to segments to build relationships that taken together add up to that one... big... idea. Dead? No. Chopped into little pieces to create something new? Very much alive.

Marketing isn't dead. It's just that the margins for error are slimmer. So the decisions we make now as marketers just appear more, well, life or death. 
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