The What do you do for a living question.
A common reaction marketers face?
It happens from time to time that people show interest in what you do professionally. Not surprisingly, some of them even pose the “what do you do for a living question”.
I formerly answered this with “I’m in marketing”.
And I recently stopped giving that answer.
Today “I’m getting market”, as it turned out that most people react to “marketing” with a frown of their eye brows while producing a little – rather scary – noise in between their teeth. It looks like the images on the left.
Agreed, I’m a marketer. My professional activities are about “getting market”.
I’m a marketer. And I can’t help it. It’s not a well-planned career path. It’s more something that I, as a sociologist, accidentally stumbled into. Nevertheless, it proves to bring me self-fulfillment. I’m happy with what I do, Trying to “get market”, like in marketing, like in “market getting”, not like in “pushing markets”.
Guess the whole frowning and bad-noise-making reactions on “being in marketing” has to deal with to the old-school conception of “what it is to be a marketer” or “what it is to push markets”.
Or: how old-school actually means old-scream.
What is marketing? The old-school vision: SCREAM : OLD MARKETING
Allow me to refer to Seth Godin’s book “Meatball Sundae – Is your marketing out of sync?” to explain the difference between “old marketing” and “new marketing”. After all the first part of the book makes a great analysis of how new consumer needs and the internet made old marketing (think: P&G, TV and mass production) less effective. The book continues by underpinning this difference with broader sociological phenomena that are re-shaping the world…
Yup, you’ve got to love it!
What is marketing? The new-school vision: Unleashing the Power of Marketing: WHISPER : NEW MARKETING
old vs new marketing: Meatball Sundae
Within this respect Seth’s advice is to no longer interrupt people with spammy messages, to make innovation (in all its dimensions) your biggest cost and last – but certainly not least – craft marketing into your product(s).
This is what I would call new marketing. Don’t make crap, produce value and don’t push it. This is the only valid approach to take on marketing. It’s not about supporting short-term sales of crappy products. It’s not about advertising. Or as some put it: “commit acts, not ads”.
If you look at it like that, you quickly realize that marketing shouldn’t be perceived negatively. It can and should be used as a positive force to engage with your customer – whether to improve life (B2C) or business objectives (B2B).
But how can you unleash the power of your marketers?
Well, I believe the GE story is a great example.
How GE unleashed the power of Marketing
“When GE realized that its products would no longer sell themselves, it had to invent a formidable marketing function from scratch.” (Comstock, Gulati, Liguori)
Let’s say about 10 years ago, GE had no significant marketing. The company was quite confident in its technologies. It believed the technical superiority would get market for itself. People with the position of a marketer were assigned to sales support (lead generation, events, …) or to communications (advertising, PR). In the essential corporate strategy meetings, marketing wasn’t invited. Marketing was considered a support function – or even overhead. Things were about to change however …
GE - unleashed the power of marketing
The business was mature and GE could no longer win by simply launching increasingly advanced technologies or by taking existing technologies to new markets. Some of their best offerings were mere commodities.
The re-focus in GE’s strategy was accompanied with a note by the CEO who stated that: “marketing should be a vital operating function across GE and an engine for organic growth.”
How does one implement such a thing?
New Marketing is a culture, not a department, role or responsibility.
In short, one could say GE’s corporate culture changed. They gave Marketing the respect it deserved. It wasn’t just a sales support function for screaming messages at as many people as possible. As a result, marketing at GE is now an engine for growth. It paves the way for customer collaboration, new product opportunities and new markets.
Equally important however is that this new marketing is related to a new society. Let’s say Society 3.0 or the trends as described in Meatball Sundae. Did you know by the way that lots changed in society 3.0? Branding for instance. Your brand is about to be a reflection of your corporate culture, certainly in the long run.
New positions top-class marketers reflect New-school Marketing
I tend to see a compelling relation with the new positions by well-known marketing guru. Their new functions basically show this “unleashing the power of marketing and marketers idea”. Here’s a small overview of those top of my mind – feel free to suggest more: