Prying the torch from the dead hands of old marketing
By The Architect
Today, there is freedom in marketing. No longer is the loudspeaker of the media controlled by a select few. As a result, so much more can be gained than ever before, all with fewer resources and less risk. The playing field has been officially leveled—and not a minute too soon.
Old Marketing is dead
Why? Our culture and means of information exchange have changed so much, so quickly from traditional conventions that have been used for so long. Today’s business must completely reshape and retool its approach to effectively market itself.
The Old Marketing company—ingrained in these old systems for so long—simply cannot keep up with a culture that has transformed itself
Before these drastic changes, our lifestyles and culture were based on a handful of media. Television, print, and radio were the anchors of mass information exchange and business promotion. If you owned a business or were charged with growing a company through marketing, then you were shackled to dealing with media and promotional entities such as television commercials, newspapers and the Yellow Pages. These industries are dying because they are being replaced by new systems.
Remember the days of paying $2,500 a month for a lousy local, black and yellow ad in the Yellow Pages? Or tens of thousands of dollars for a local television ad, locked-in with a long-term contract and little measurables?
That age is gone.
The Old Marketing company—ingrained in these old systems for so long—simply cannot keep up with a culture that has transformed itself with the advent of the Internet and modern systems of communication. As a result, old, slow and expensive marketing companies are dying right along with those old systems. The ones that haven’t died yet are in a panic. They are scrambling to restructure business models, personnel, objectives and the sales pitches in order to reassure their clients that they now can pull off the new marketing ways.
The dirty little secret
In fact, this “scrambling to catch up” is a hushed truth among all marketing agencies. Marketing itself is not going to admit its own flaws in its business—that would be certain death. Agencies instead claim that they’ve been there all along.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Need proof? This is easily evidenced by the marketing industry’s own publications and associations. Articles are rampant on how marketing agencies need to change to stay alive. On any given day there are a multitude of seminars for marketing firms to attend with subjects like, “leveraging web technology,” “selling SEO to your clients,” and “understanding social media,” as if these issues were still on the horizon waiting to be realized.
Marketing sold its soul long ago
The Internet may have been the axe, but it actually didn’t take the dynamic of the rule-changing Internet to bring the marketing industry to its knees. They sold out long ago.
Marketing agencies have been on the gravy train for a very long time. This is what happens when media and information systems are few, with few in control. A few deals made here and there with the few controlling mass-media, local media, even the Yellow Pages—all with enough middle men in place to get their cut—eventually makes an industry so fat that it won’t forgo those systems, even when the walls are torn down.
Bottom line: the money’s just too easy when you’ve got that kind of control.
Marketing agencies employed tactics to pull clients in and lock them in. They knew the middle-men in all of the processes of print, television and radio. They knew who to kickback to. They even employ “media buyers”—a term that, as the years tick by, becomes more and more indicative of an era long gone. Can you believe a person—or even an entire department—employed in the position of “media buyer”?
What were originally “creative agencies” became agencies only good at selling themselves to their clients
Even then, marketing's problems were deeper. What were originally “creative agencies” who served to shape, grow and represent the spirit of their clients brand, evolved into companies who simply became greedy—good at only selling themselves to their clients, but no longer about the work of their clients.
Don’t believe me? Let’s talk about Leo Burnett.
Leo Burnett Inc. is one of the most renowned agencies in the world. They earned their reputation serving one key philosophy: that nothing could replace the marketing firm’s charge of “being the spirit of the client’s brand.” Coupled with a firm understanding of what it took for each client to get and keep their customers, Leo Burnett was also known for the quality of their creative work and eventually earned the responsibility of brands like Kellogg's and McDonalds.
Founder Leo Burnett recognized that the industry was in danger of selling its soul out long ago. One of his famous speeches, “When to Take My Name Off the Door”, delivered on December 1, 1967, was based on that very fear:
He knew where the industry was going. And sure enough, it’s there—probably worse than he thought it could be.
What's the right way?
Traditional marketing companies identify that their own competition is no longer their peers in the same market, but the budding, New Marketing company that is web-based from the ground up.
Why? They’re faster, smarter and more experienced in today’s systems. They also don’t have the burdens of expenses and bloat that Old Marketing firms have. They can turn on a dime. They move quickly.
The New Marketing company that is web-based from the ground up is faster, smarter and more experienced in today’s systems.
Today, successful marketing begins with the knowledge and experience to create exposure, build awareness, harness interest, and position business and all supporting systems within today’s web universe. Your marketing firm needs to understand why things work they way they do, and how people and prospects come to know and trust a brand in today’s world.
Also, today’s New Marketing company is one that hasn’t forsaken the principles that are timeless, but is one that takes advantage of all that’s afforded in today’s business world to shave off unnecessary expenses.
- OUT: are deals with a select few in a position of control. IN: is the reality of true, choice-based media, entertainment and communications via the Internet and the technologies that are used by choice because they offer more and make better sense.
- OUT: are expensive payments to old, big, slow agencies—all carpet bombing to grow your business. IN: are fresh and nimble development firms who know how to surgically target the necessary areas to build a brand, position it and construct a network around today’s communication systems to promote and grow business.
- OUT: are paying for enormous overhead expenses in big buildings, expensive furniture, and lavish offices. IN: are virtual and hybrid marketing firms that work fast and don’t pass on the bloat of unnecessary expenses to their clients.
- OUT: are working through layers of costly production managers, account executives, supervisors and managers before you get to the real people that do the work. IN: is the successful marketing company that establishes access to key architects and creative producers who are integral in the ideas, concepts and the details essential for success.
So, as traditional marketing firms continue to pass on the overhead of their expensive offices, furniture, lifestyles and worst of all, the cost associated in how to figure out this "Internet thing," the New Marketing company has an inherent understanding of what works and what doesn’t in today’s culture. They are still marketers, founded in the purpose-driven goals of growing a business—however, the New Marketing firm, knows how today’s business is grown and built.
Behind every superstar website there is an architect, scrutinizing every single detail, cutting through the nonsense, and challenging every aspect to craft a masterpiece that gets noticed and gets results.