Bye Bye Marketing

Have you ever seen the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? (The original 1971 version.) The story is engaging built around a young boy who gets the opportunity to explore the most eccentric and wonderful candy factory of all. Remember the scene where all the golden ticket winners introduce themselves to Willy Wonka himself? Well, there was one dude who, without invitation and hesitation, pulled out his business card and gave it to Mr. Wonka. Game over.

That’s the problem in today’s business environment. Over indulgent self promotion. The businessman’s gesture is now a 40-year-old lesson in what not to do when you first meet someone. We’re not against handing out business cards. Winning friends and influencing people is built by placing the spotlight on others. The same can be applied to today’s new marketing environment.

The problem is that many marketers, small business owners, community leaders, politicians, and (insert desired title)s are stuck on outdated technology, medievel institutions, and relentless self-speak as opposed to shifting their focus on strategies that influence and engage consumers. The right mindset has the ability to literally break the bank and foster a customer base of advocates and satisfied patrons.

A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article entitled, “Marketing is Dead” by Bill Lee, is a timely piece and a rallying cry for individuals and brands to move beyond business as usual. Complacency hasn’t just killed the cat, it’s hindered the productivity, efficiency, and impact of communities, municipalities, governments, market sectors, nations and institutions of all shapes and sizes.

Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.

The Industrial Revolution brought about mass production. Marketing presented consumers with options and competition. We are experiencing a much bigger shift where the saturation of sales messaging and unending pitches bombard consumers to a point of immunity. This might be hard to grasp but consumers really don’t want to be sold. There’s a reason DVR is so popular. Consumers are happy to fast-forward through any form of relentless advertising. Technology, social media, and the power of purpose (think social responsibility meets cause marketing) has created a whole new marketing landscape.

Consumers are not the only group feeling tired and adverse towards business as usual.

73% of CEOs think Marketers lack business credibility and are not the business growth generators they should be: they are still too far from being able to demonstrate how the cross-channel marketing strategies and campaigns they deploy grow their organisations’ top line in terms of more customer demand, more sales, more prospects, more conversions or more market share.

Marketers need to slow down and smell the roses. The allure of bright and shiny new objects combined with business constraints and a lack of real strategy makes it difficult for marketers to achieve what really matters. Results.

So, what’s the solution for success in the new media arena of marketing and communications?

A Change of Mindset

When radio first came out, people were quick to shoot it down as a weird device with lots of buttons that everyone seemed to be glued to. They deemed this new technology as waste of time. Sound familiar? That’s the mindset that individuals have towards new media. Communication platforms and social networking sites such as Facebook, Medium, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest are popular for a reason. Engagement and peer influence! Leaders that embrace these new tools of communication are sure to outshine the competition.

The Power of Community

Traditional marketing has given way to a new approach where community-oriented buying experiences and social connections influence the purchase decision life cycle. We trust our friends, family, and associates for purchase decisions. Peer influence has a huge impact on where we invest time, money, and resources. Tap into the power of the crowd by building bridges with connected audiences and watch business priorities turn into a reality despite the existence of any real or implied constraints. Build networks, identify influencers, and empower them with the opportunity to build social capital.

Speak the Language of Value not Gibberish

“Until Marketers start speaking the P&L language of their CEOs and stakeholders, and until they start tracking the business effectiveness of all their strategies and campaigns to prove they generate incremental customer demand, they will continue to lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs and will continue to be seen more as a cost centre than an asset” said Jerome Fontaine, CEO & Chief Tracker of Fournaise.

Talk in terms of your audience’s pain points and things will become much easier. The following is a good formula for capturing attention of key stakeholders:

Did you know, according to ________ your company can ________ because ________?

Knowledge empowers the willing into a whole new arena of impact, influence, synergies, and business success. Embrace it. Pursue it. Share it.


Hub 81 is a strategic branding and digital marketing agency based out of the beautiful Central Coast of California helping individuals and brands engage today’s hyper-connected consumer throughout Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and beyond. For more information, say hello.

 (Image credit.)