Marketing is lost. Here’s a signpost

Marketing is a lost three-year-old, running screaming through a crowded mall. People stand up and notice — until it continues. Maybe there’s another way.

Marketers, and marketing, is a lost three-year-old child, running screaming through a crowded mall. Initially, people stand up and notice, but if it continues, they go back to what they’re doing. Maybe there’s another way.

On any given day, I can look through Brutal Pixie‘s feeds (on LinkedIn, Feedly, Twitter, Instagram, news, wherever), and see that a ridiculous amount of publishing is by marketers telling other marketers what they need to be doing.

They need to be using this platform, that platform, these tools. They need to identify this issue, that issue, these problems over here. They need craft messages, and experiences, and stories. They need to be about design, and interaction, and experience, and strategy. All the strategy. Strategy in every channel, every distribution, every place, whether it’s validated and tested or not.

How about they focus on bringing product to market, and allow specialists to do their thing to support them?

From an objective perspective, marketing is floundering. It doesn’t know what to do (still!) with the internet. The internet is 20+ years old now. And all of you people who are 40+ telling me that the internet of 1995 wasn’t the commercial internet of 2001, sure – whatever. There was a lot of commerce on the internet in 1995. What there wasn’t were people taking it seriously. But I digress.

Marketing doesn’t know its place anymore. It will not put blinkers on and do what it does well. It doesn’t understand – and doesn’t want to understand – specialties like content strategy, or user experience, or interaction design, or how they interact, intersect, and benefit from every other part.

Marketing wants to do everything itself.

It would be far more powerful a field, marketing, if it focused on what it is supposed to be doing. And that is: Finding the most effective and efficient ways of bringing product to market.

If a marketer did that, and then brought in the right people to find a way to deliver on it, the whole would be far greater than the sum of its parts.

Here is a sample:

  • A content strategist can work with the marketer to understand and properly implement things within the existing (and future) content and information ecosystem, both inside and outside the company. A great strategist will also educate a marketer (if necessary) about the greater business strategy and how these things drive it all forwards.
  • A user experience consultant can work with the strategist and the marketer to review, assess, test, and improve any customer- or staff-facing digital assets that need to be simple and intuitive, and which interface with customer experience journeys.
  • An interaction designer can work with the team to create amazing, useful, elegant interaction, if the marketing design requires interaction

Specialists in product design, social media, public relations, reputation management, and a range of related fields can be the spokes to the marketer’s wheel, and help return learnings to the company so that innovation is easier.

This is what great marketing of the future looks like: The capacity to understand and design effective and useful ways of bringing product to market, while leveraging off (and collaborating with) specialists in the areas that turn it into a reality.

It is not doing everything, guessing, and yelling about the next amazing thing. That is idiocy. All it suggests is that the field itself has completely lost its way.

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