Does Marketing Still Matter?

There’s a bit of discussion about the way that the advertising industry is having a moment of self-reflection brought about by the continued decline of advertising’s effectiveness, despite new tools that should make it easier to judge the effectiveness of any advertising spend.

This bit of reflection brings up a good question:

“Is marketing still necessary?”

For me, the answer is a definitive yes. But let me not tell you…I’d prefer to show you instead.

Marketing Is An Exchange Of Ideas

If we ever wondered how important marketing is to the world, we need only look to the White House and the current resident to see that marketing can change the world…for good and bad.

The 2016 election was as much a referendum on the effectiveness of message and marketing to change people’s minds as anything else.


Because we saw definitively that the best ideas don’t win. We saw that the rational choice isn’t always the one that is picked.

What we saw is that people buy with emotion and justify with logic.

Don’t believe me?

Think about the justifications that were offered up about votes:

“I had to hold my nose and vote for Hillary.”

“The only adult thing to do was to vote for Clinton.”

“How could I ever trust Clinton after all the revelations about her emails?”

“The Clintons are so crooked, I just couldn’t do it.”

Those are all emotionally based arguments, veiled in logic.

The reason we still need marketing is for just this reason. Logical arguments sound good in practice, but they don’t create the emotion necessary to move people to take action.

So you need marketing to share your ideas in a way that causes people to take notice.

Marketing Let’s Us Differentiate

One of those old marketing myths is that “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”


The thing about marketing is it is only effective if it is a proactive endeavor.

If you sit around waiting for the world to beat a path to your door, you are at best a commodity. At worst, you are broke and out of business.

Marketing is a necessary part of the differentiation process. Without some sort of differentiation, you are not going to be in the commodity business where the only thing you can do is drop your prices.

Marketing allows you to create a preference for your product or service. Without that preference, you are a commodity.

Marketing Can Change The World

As I pointed out at the top of the page, the 2016 American election shows the power of marketing to drive emotion.

Emotion is the key ingredient in taking action.

You’d be forgiven if you thought that the emotions that drove the election of Donald Trump weren’t the best, but the thing is we need marketing because marketing can change the world.

Think about charity: water. The power of an idea to bring water to places that don’t have fresh drinking water is revolutionary. The mission to bring fresh drinking water to the 663 million people around the world that don’t have it has changed our concept of what a charity can do.

Not into drinking water?

What do you think about Australian wine?

I’m sure most of you have had some at some point in time. But the thing is that until the late-1970s, the only wine really being produced from Australian grapes was fortified and their exports were minimal.

But over the last 35 years, Wine Australia and the wine community in Australia have worked to elevate the Australian wines to a place of world renown. To the point that in Japan and China, Australian wines are often considered super premium.

This example could come from any number of industries.

Before the iPhone, the cell phone wasn’t essential and it definitely wasn’t a productivity tool.

The NBA used to run their Finals games on tape delay, if they were lucky, in the United States. Now NBA players are marketable around the globe.

Think about the way that the personal computer changed our lives.

All of these are ideas that wouldn’t have ever occurred without the help of marketing.

Combine all 3 of these things together and I believe more strongly than ever that marketing is not only necessary, but it is vital.


No tags for this post.

Leave a comment: