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Obsolete in 2015: “Marketing” as we know it


December 30, 2014

Doug Hadden, VP Products

Many marketers see social media as an extension of broadcast media such as print, radio and television. This is a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of social media – it’s not a broadcast medium – it’s an engagement medium. It’s also about being in the network rather than out of network and injecting brand messages, press releases and contests. It’s about engagement across all parts of organization. So, marketing as we know it will be deemed obsolete* by 2015.

This doesn’t mean that marketers will not be using broadcast media as content for social media. It means that marketing will be redefined. That the focus will move from one-to-many B2C and B2B communications to P2P – person to person. This may not be intuitive, but the adoption of big data and the notion of raising IT budgets for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) is a symptom of this change. As is the debate about whether organizations need Chief Digital Officers (CDOs).

  1. Organizations will leverage social media for improved customer support and product and service innovation. This will allow organizations to break through the oxymoron of “customer innovation” by identifying patterns and outliers to improve products, processes and services. And, “customer experience” becomes job #1.
  2. The social media “medium” becomes the message with the use of new engagement platforms. Marketing departments will continue to own most of the customer outreach in 2015 – but will begin to engage differently and coordinate organizational-wide integration. Customers will turn away from broadcast-style engagement. Companies will realize that treating social as another channel is a huge mistake.
  3. The whole CIO/CDO/CMO digital budgets & digital control debate will continue through 2015 without much resolution. Digital-first engagement is different from traditional marketing. The IT spend could show up in many budgets, but It won’t matter where the budget goes: the CXO who gets it in the organization that gets it will control the budget.
  4. Big data enables marketing departments to identify network patterns. Marketing departments tend to track outputs (number of e-zine sign-ups, number of white paper downloads, number of booth visits at trade shows) with assumptions of how this leads to sales. The network effects on how customers make decisions based on so many influences has been impossible, before big data, to calculate. Marketing will leverage data science as part of the digital transition in leading organizations. Will it work? Not if it is just about marketing.

* Using the definition of Marshall McLuhan: “Obsolescence (ground): What the medium drives out of prominence. Radio reduces the prominence of print and the visual.”

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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