Has Marketing Really Changed?


“Marketing has changed!”

I hear that a lot and when I ask why or how, I get an earful of “social media”, “inbound marketing”, “content marketing” and “marketing is about engagement and storytelling, not interrupting the consumer’s life with an ad!”

Then they typically try to sell me their services…in social media or inbound marketing, or content marketing or even writing.

Well, for what it’s worth…marketing hasn’t changed.  Marketing is still about understanding your audience, your competition, your market and your own organization so that you can offer a unique, valuable solution to an unmet or under-served need or want which differentiates you from the competition in the hearts and minds of your audience.

Marketing is about attracting and retaining profitable customers with that unique, valuable product or service.

Marketing is about making sure your price and distribution strategies add to the value.

Have some of the tools we use to communicate with our audience changed?  No, but there are more tools and channels available so it’s more complex when it comes to trying to identify the most appropriate and effective communication channels to use.  But it’s always been tough – which is why the really great marketers test, measure, analyze and modify.

Some will argue that “…we’re all publishers…” but I don’t buy that one.  A publisher is defined as “…a person or company that prepares and issues books, journals, music, or other works for sale.”  As a marketer, I create communications that share accurate and relevant information with my audience and, ideally, I make access to that information fast and easy.  I don’t sell the email…I sell the products and services mentioned in the email.  I don’t make my money selling ad space in the email…I make money selling the products and services featured in the email.

(I do tend to get that argument from copywriters and designers…so I get where they are coming from…I just don’t buy it.)

So what about you? Has marketing changed? Or is it still about offering a unique, valuable solution to a specific audience and making sure that solution is easy to acquire so they can buy it and use it whenever the need to buy it or use it.  Is it still about attracting and retaining profitable customers in order to drive profitable revenue over the near and long-term?

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