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Marketing does not change…

…it only adapts

I have read, “Marketing is dead. It has been replaced by ‘growth hacking, data-driven marketing, customer relationship management, etc.’ ” I do not agree. The marketing process and workflow have not changed. Some argue that the role of marketing has changed. I do not agree. This has always been the role – the value of marketing’s role has just become more clear.

The concept of marketing has been around since the industrial revolution and has gone through five so-called eras of marketing. Philip Kotler is widely considered to be the father of modern marketing.

Here is a useful quote, “Technology is transforming choice, and choice is transforming the marketplace …… Marketing’s transformation is driven by the enormous power and ubiquitous spread of technology. So pervasive is technology today that it is virtually meaningless to make distinctions between technology and non-technology businesses and industries: there are only technology companies.” What makes this statement even more astounding is that it is an extract from the Harvard Business Review from 1991 (30 years ago).

A marketing-purpose statement that works for me is, “To find, engage and retain profitable clients”. If you accept this, then this purpose-statement has been fitting since the industrial revolution, and the purpose of marketing has not changed in 250 years.

What then has changed?

The old business maxim that “change is the only constant” is more relevant in marketing than ever before. Marketing has not changed, the ‘rate of change’ has changed and continues to change. This does not mean that the purpose of marketing changes, but it does mean that our methods, mediums, metrics, mentality, and marketers have, and must change. (I have refrained from the temptation to pen a piece on the ‘4 Ms of Marketing Change’).

The world may be changing, marketing fundamentals do not. The following extract from an article by Lee Jackson is on point. “We’re all guilty of magpie-like tendencies, obsessed and distracted by shiny, new things. New trends. New technologies and marketing “tools”. New beliefs in what works and what doesn’t. We’re slightly addicted to, and fetishize, all that is emergent and changing. But it’s usually the things that don’t change that are actually most important to both consumers and brands.” I recommend this article.

Marketing does not change, it only adapts. I read a really good article by Chris Moerdyk where he highlights adaptability versus real change in marketing.I also recommend this article.

My take-away –  An effective marketer in 1840, would be an effective marketer today.


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