Marketing is dead. Long live marketing.

Penny Hunt, one of the best advertising planners I know, said to me recently “do you think that the time we spent on marketing was actually like gift wrapping the product and at the same time concealing it?” She paused and added “would we do it like that now do you think?”

A resounding “yes” to the first’; a thunderous “no” to the second.

What’s old fashioned and out?

Ratings are out – who cares about how many exposures you get if the message is wrong

“Big, bland and boring” the old advertising mantra for a successful fmcg campaign is out

Shouting is out (Seth Godin calls this “interruption marketing”) – ‘excuse me for butting in on your interesting conversation but can I tell you about Goggle Wipes?’

Lying is out. Sir Robert Mark said on TV ads “I’m convinced they’re a major contribution to road safety.” Was he really convinced?

Expensive is out. Where did all those Caribbean photographic shoots go?

Stereotypes and women kept in their place are out. Mad Men is over.

What’s new fashioned and in?

The big word of the day is “conversation”. We used to tell. We used to broadcast; now we talk one-to-one and share thoughts. Our conversations are interactive. We talk about an idea; the consumer talks about their need; we modify our idea; they tell us what’s wrong with it (in the past we used to change it then and bad companies still do) but now we say what we think’s right with it: and we argue, fight and learn. Consumer used to be grateful and subservient to the producer. Now everyone is a stakeholder with an equal share of voice.

Human anecdote beats data. 53% of consumers convinced that fat makes you fat is eclipsed by the story “My Gran and my Mum used to sit in the kitchen talking – it was magic – I listened and somehow I never got fat. Was it them and their diatribe on butter that got stuck in my brain?” Stories capture the imagination.

Appetite is everything.  I’d never hire someone for a job in food who didn’t love food, or in books who wasn’t an avid reader. If you don’t love the product, something is missing in your soul. Passion (the most over used word today) only has meaning when it’s true.

I love pattern-observers, people who look at data and see shapes and people who can smell the truth. Story. Helena Rubinstein goes to test the latest fragrances. Her team has already (smugly) decided on the winning candidate. She decides differently. “Why did you choose that one?” they sullenly ask …“because it smells of money” she says.”

Long live enthusiasm, curiosity and fun

These virtues remain.

The ability to be positive, upbeat and see the good in situations is infectious.

As is the irrepressible desire to know more.

Plus a real rib-cracking sense of humour.

After all – it’s not about life and death is it? Although as Bill Shankly, the great Liverpool Football Manager said, winning’s much more important than life and death.

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