Tuesday, 23 October 2012

It would appear that advertising and marketing is losing its legitimacy

... and is regarded as certainly undignified. Having worked around the world over many years you cannot help
wondering if society is changing in ways that are more than economic. It would
appear that advertising and marketing is losing its legitimacy .
The myopic search for profit and short term advantages has created a
corporate oligarchy whose interests are largely inimical to the average
consumer. Smoke and mirrors have, for too long, been a substitute for good old
fashioned marketing. All the while the mythology of marketing and
advertising, as institutions of enterprise, of meritocracy and opportunity, as
somewhere that didn't work like anywhere else is being compromised. Meanwhile
we seem to be forgetting the convictions that made Marketing and Advertising
The rot began when we chose never to take heed of Professor Ehrenberg's
statements on advertising effectiveness! Because nothing has changed despite all
the ballyhoo about Social Media, Facebook et al. Wherever ads appear,
especially on Social Media, Ehrenberg's resolute focus on the facts " what data
actually tells us " led him to challenge many a marketing bandwagon such as
˜loyalty. You may wish to improve the brand's performance by improving customer retention, he observed, but without a higher market penetration it just won't happen. His work on advertising effectiveness was equally challenging. He argued convincingly that there was no evidence that advertising persuades anybody to do anything; advertising can only ever be a ˜weak" force that improves brand recognition and/or jogs consumers memories. Ehrenberg's uncompromising insistence on staying only with the facts is probably why his work was so studiously ignored by so many sections of the marketing community. The consequences of this has been far more lasting than any recession could ever be.
Be brutally honest, do you have any idea how advertising works? How
advertising got itself into its present mess. No? Perhaps you console yourself
with the thought that it doesn't matter that you don't have a clue because there
are plenty of smart marketing people out there who do. Well, here's the tricky
part. Yes, those smart marketing people do indeed have a shrewd prescription on
how to steer the world out of marketing chaos. The bad news is, they're not
all the same prescription. In fact they are different prescriptions. Very

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