February 05, 2015
Marketing: From Sales To Sociology
Now that the U.S. educational system is unable to educate our children, they have redefined their mission.
They are no longer in the business of teaching readin', writin', and ‘rithmetic. Instead, they are in the business of instilling values, and fostering expression. In other words, their mission has evolved from education to sociology.
The marketing world is headed in the same direction. This is why reading essays about marketing in business journals or attending marketing conferences is such an exasperating experience.
The marketing chatterers no longer seem terribly concerned about the selling of goods and services. Instead, they are obsessed with relationships. We are flooded with nattering about conversations and engagement, co-creation and “dialogues.”
It is the rare marketing article or talk that even mentions the words “product” or “selling” anymore.
The reason for this transformation is that it helps us avoid the one thing we hate most -- accountability. It is far more dangerous to measure sales than to measure the effect of “conversations.” We can hide behind “likes” and “followers” as indications of achievement even though it is pretty clear that the relationship between these "metrics" and customer acquisition is substantially nonexistent.
According to Mark Ritson, Assoc. Professor of Marketing at Melbourne Business School, the prevalence of articles about social media is 10 times out of proportion to its actual business importance.
I am pretty certain that an understanding of sociology is useful in marketing. But I am equally certain that its prevalence in business media is, likewise, about 10 times out of proportion to its value.