Marketing is Not a Game


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I recently published a blog wondering how someone could consider himself a professional marketer if all he knows is how to post on social media – or worse, doesn’t understand digital marketing at all.

I got some interesting responses And one in particular, I think, points out a fatal flaw in too much of what passes for marketing and marketing discussions.

This person saw the ignorance of some senior level, often C suite, marketing executives about digital marketing as an “opportunity.” Their lack of knowledge is apparently just fine as long as they can “get excited” and “learn.”

I take a very different view.

Companies pay marketers. The reason marketers get paid is to contribute to the company’s revenues. It is just that simple. No more. No less.

Marketing’s responsibility is two-fold. It is to express the company’s/product’s/service’s value in a way that appeals to prospects and lays the groundwork for customer loyalty. It is to be sufficiently knowledgeable about the market place, and the social and political context in which customers and prospects live, to help guide the development of future products and services – thereby contributing to the continuing viability of the enterprise.

Explain to me, please, how a marketing executive or “marketing consultant” who has managed to reach this point in time blissfully ignorant of how to do these jobs in a digital economy and digital society is able to fulfill his mandated role. The role he is being paid to fulfill.

For all the discussions about marketing, for all the angst about how marketing should have more clout in the C suite, for all the neologisms and innovative ways being developed to describe (and put a gloss on) traditional marketing techniques, for all the hoopla about the latest and greatest marketing fad and fashion, we’ve lost sight of one mundane fact: Marketing is a job.

Let me repeat that: Marketing is a job. A job with real-world responsibilities.

It is not an academic discipline with no consequences. It is not an ever-devolving series of subspecialties debating how many prospects can dance on the head of each subspecialty’s pin. It is not an opportunity to see how much turf we can control. And it is certainly not an exercise in senior level on-the-job training.

Let’s remember why companies pay marketers.

Emily R. Coleman
Dr. Emily R. Coleman is President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc., a firm that specializes in helping companies expand their reach and revenues through strategy and implementation. Dr. Coleman has more than 30 years of hands-on executive management experience working with companies, from Fortune 500 firms to entrepreneurial enterprises. Dr. Coleman's expertise extends from the integration of corporate-wide marketing operations and communications to the development and implementation of strategy into product development and branding.


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