“Marketers get people to buy stuff that they don’t need”

This was the quote I heard last night from someone I know, his impression was that the role of Marketers was: “to get people to buy stuff that they don’t need”. Partially, he is right. The reputation of marketers is often negative, where marketers are considered to be involved with trickery, deceit, and mass consumerism.

In business school, we learned that the classical definition of Marketing was to connect customers with products, yet the defintion never included tricks, lying, or manipulation. If you’ve read Seth’s book that All Marketers are Liars, you’ll quickly realize that the premise of the book suggests that marketers actually tell consumers the stories that they want to hear. I know most marketers will feel better about their profession after reading this book.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, while many may despise marketing, great products without great marketing often don’t get to customers. Ok products (or crappy ones) may get sold to consumers due to great marketing.

Here’s where social media counts, as it levels the playing field between marketers and consumers. The promise of social media is great, consumers an directly share their opinions with each other, leaving marketers in the wake.

Question: Many consumers loathe marketers, now consumers can bypass marketers with social media tools, the power has shifted to the participants, how do marketers stay relevant?

Answer: Marketers must participate, or let consumers participate on their behalf, it’s a new world.