Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marketers suck at marketing marketing

Great discussion between Mullen's Edward Boches and Twist Image's Mitch Joel on this week's Six Pixels podcast.  If you aren't following Edward or reading his blog, you really should.

There's a great line where Mitch says "Marketers are really terrible at marketing marketing" and it's totally something that I agree with.  (it's just after the 21 minute mark).

It's such a shame because marketing is such a dynamic field that can be both creative and analytical.  

Here's why I think marketers suck at marketing marketing:

1) Because marketing is everything.
Marketing is such a wide field that it's hard to describe to people.  It's not one specific thing, it's many things and each of those elements are so different that they have little in common.  Looking at just online marketing, you have social, search, email, web, inbound and how many other tactics and each one in itself is meaty enough to sustain a whole ecosystem.  While there are certain things that apply to all of them, each requires a fairly different set of skills and this makes it difficult describe to people.

2) Because it has a bad reputation.
Years of cold calls, link baiting, spam and crappy execution has given the field a bad name.  Who grows up wanting to be a telemarketer anyway?

3) Because most marketers suck at it.
Marketers can't market the field of marketing because they are just shitty marketers, which is often why most marketers can't sell themselves.  It always kills me to see marketing people who can't sell the most important product - themselves.  You often find people in marketing (and this is mentioned in the podcast) who have no background or training in marketing.  Sure it was a course they took in their MBA but then they fall into a marketing role and all of a sudden they are a "marketer".

4) Because it's hard
Marketing is hard stuff to do right.  It's easy to do terribly but really hard to do right.  The world around us moves so fast that if describe marketing as trying to hit a target in the middle of hurricane.  Anyone can buy ad space and put up an ad but very few can make it convert.  You have to be able to formulate a strategy based on research, experience and gut instinct and go for it.  So when it comes to marketing marketing, we don't do a good job as marketers because frankly, it's hard to marketing marketing.

5) Because most people have no idea what it is
This relates to my first point but people can't sell marketing because they have no idea what it is (it's everything).  I'm still convinced that most people confuse advertising and marketing.  I once saw a group of students in an advertising class do a final presentation of a marketing strategy for TSN instead of doing an advertising strategy. They almost failed.  That's a true story and you should ask me about it sometime because it's pretty funny.

Why do you think most marketers suck at marketing marketing?  And how many times do you think you can use marketing is a sentence?
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