Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Changing Face of Marketing know it when you see it - or maybe not.  Marketing is changing and evidence of this evolution is everywhere you look. 

Yesterday I noticed live Tweeting from the local American Marketing Association meeting. (I was shocked because usually I'm one of the few people tweeting from traditional marketing events.) The tweeter posted "Marketing has shifted from persuasion to authenticity." I retweeted "That's called PR folks."  For us marketing pros who have concentrated in the public relations arena we haven't shifted - its that the rest of the marketing team is finally getting on board the PR train.

For those lay persons who aren't familiar with the different functions, tools and theories in marketing I'll explain the differences in easy to understand terms.

Persuasion marketing - Hey customers you need what I've got.
Authenticity marketing - Hey customers we are what you need.

You can think of these differences in marketing like one of America's most contrasting tourist destinations - Las Vegas. Consider the neon Las Vegas Strip with man made bright lights and physical and mental excess.  Then consider Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area outside Las Vegas.  They both draw tourists to the area, just different kinds. Take your pick...which Las Vegas do you want.

Evidence of this "shift" can be found right here on the internet.  Yes folks that Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, blog, and even that funny viral video is all a function of public relations.  The rest of the marketing team is trying to steal our "tools" but the honest truth is that they don't know how to use them. They recognize that they are powerful but they have to turn to PR to learn authenticity.

Smoke and mirrors don't work with social media. Angry customers fight back and call you out.  What are you going to do sue them? You want to calm them down, win them over, use their remarks for the greater good and showcase the best about your company. In short - you want PR.

Companies who were raking in the bucks for years have now been called out by Congress and the public for their unethical behaviors.  These companies have had to turn to their PR team to refocus their image away from the jet-set lifestyles that were called out by the press. Their marketing strategy has had to follow PR.

After years of running up credit card bills with a consumer lifestyle that I call a "neon" lifestyle, America is ready to dim the lights on the strip and see companies as they really are.  They want to know who they are doing business with and why. They want to look you in the eye and know they can trust you. In short, they are ready to climb the Red Rocks after too much of the lifestyle of the Strip.