Marketing is dead?!

The other day I was reading an article in the October issue of Canadian Business magazine on how we should not believe that advertising has become a perfect science. The author, Bruce Philp, emphasizes the potential pitfalls of relying on algorithms, analytics and statistics alone to determine what consumers want.

He makes reference to an article published in the Harvard Business Review blog this past August that made the bold proclamation, “Marketing is dead.” I have to agree with Philp when he says – “It’s not dead yet.” In fact, there are several aspects of marketing as a discipline that will never die.

The advent of social media has changed a lot of what marketers and communicators do and how they do it. Some organizations and brands have done a fantastic job of embracing these changes and creating improved, digitally enabled versions of themselves. Others have had a hard time letting go of traditional marketing and communications strategies, and have lagged behind as a result.

However, the establishment of new technologies, vehicles and strategies does not necessarily require us to completely let go of previous methods. Marketing after all is not just about advertising, sales and promotion. It is about research, consumer behaviour, branding and competition. I am pretty sure all of these aspects are still alive and crucial.

Marketing as a discipline is not dead – it has just evolved. It is taking on different forms, and requires different strategies and skills sets – but the end goal is still fundamentally the same.

As technology continues to evolve at what appears to be a warp speed, we will continue to hear similar assertions of the “demise” of different disciplines and vehicles (i.e. journalism, television, radio etc.). I prefer to think of it, moreover, as a natural selection process.

And although some of these deaths will be veritable and inevitable, others will simply represent new chapters in the lives of these areas.

I believe marketing as we know it has changed – but marketing as a discipline will live on in several forms.