The Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School and Corante held The Innovative Marketing Conference in New York City recently. According to the promotional literature promoting the conference:
Companies today are facing increasing pain points as marketing struggles to keep up with innovations in the marketplace. Media proliferation, product choice, consumer networks, â€œthe TiVO effectâ€ â€” all are posing immense challenges to the old ways of building brands.
At the same time, radical innovations in the practice of marketing are turning the field on its head. Search marketing, viral marketing, customer experience, word of mouth, mobile communications, customer involvement â€“ each has shown promise for building incredible value. But can these cutting-edge new tactics really work for any brand? And should we really throw out the ad agenciesâ€”when the best campaigns are still generating incredible buzz, brand awareness, and bottom-line growth?
As I read the literature, I have to laugh. Customer experience, customer involvement and word of mouth are considered â€œradical innovationsâ€? What ivory tower have these people been living in for the last 5 or so decades? Word of mouth advertising is NOTHING NEW!
Customer experience and customer involvement have factors for DECADES! Suddenly, providing a pleasant customer experience is considered a ” cutting-edge new tactics”! Not only that, they speculate whether such ” cutting-edge new tactics” can really work!?!?
If you’ve read my book, you know I have little respect for the marketing experts who spend their days inside the hallowed and quiet halls of either an ad agency or academia. It’s hard to know what’s going on out in the world when you don’t spend any time there. I am always amused when the self proclaimed “leaders” in marketing suddenly discover what those of us laboring the trenches have known all along and thought was common knowledge.
When my husband was a teenager, he worked summers as a mason’s tender. That meant he mixed mortar and lugged bricks, blocks and mortar up to the bricklayers (or masons) who were perched on scaffolding as they were creating the structure. One of his favorite stories from that time was when he overheard a conversation between the architect and the construction site manager. In essence, the architect was throwing a FIT because the structure wasn’t being built to his specifications. The construction workers were destroying the integrity of his design.
In response, the construction manager was trying to explain how the laws of physics (not to mention the laws of code enforcement) wouldn’t allow the workers to follow the architect’s design to the letter. The construction workers were the ones who had to make the design “work” in the real world.
Ah, the harsh realities of the “real” world. It’s not just architects who get frustrated when those realities meet head on with their fragile ideas. I wonder if architects have conferences where they go to whine when that happens as well?