If you read some of the popular blogs these days, and online business publications, or listen to some of the business consultants, you might think that marketing is all but dead. In fact, I just read an article by the title “Marketing is Dead”, on HBR.
However, I’m happy to report that marketing is alive and well. Marketing professionals all over the world can relax; their profession is still very relevant and essential.
I believe, after reading some of these articles, that there is much confusion and lack of knowledge about what is marketing. This is not new, and I’ve personally experienced it in several companies around the world. It’s one of the least understood professions, which also explains why few companies do it well.
What is Marketing?
According to the American Marketing Association Board of Directors:
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
This definition is very much valid today as it was when it was first approved in 2007. Even after the mass adoption of social media, such as, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the core principles and objectives of marketing are the same. The only change is that marketing teams now have additional tools and that they can use in doing their jobs.
The Role of Social Media in Marketing
Marketing, like any other profession, needs to constantly evolve. It needs to adopt new technologies, tools, and tactics, in order to remain effective, and efficient. For example, you can reach your audience more effectively if you use social media, as opposed to traditional media outlets. Also, you can monitor social networks in order to learn about your customers’ needs and preferences. This in addition to talking to them and observing them directly.
However, let’s not confuse the goals with the means. Social media is not a goal in itself. It’s simply a tool; a communication tool. It needs to be in the marketing toolbox. And yet, it cannot the only tool in the box. “Old school” tools, including meeting with, talking to, and observing customers, are still very useful and effective.
Marketing and Behavioral Psychology
In my humble opinion, marketing has much in common with behavioral psychology. They both focus on the study and alteration of people’s behaviors, including their actions, emotions, and thoughts. Therefore, as long as human beings exist, marketing will be an important and critical business function.
So to borrow from the great Mark Twain: “The Reports of Marketing’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”.