I’m still annoyed at having read an article posted by one of the new-school marketing gurus who keep discovering what they think are new principles and trashing old ones.
In a lengthy sales pitch for his instructional course in “inbound marketing,” this one dismisses traditional advertising as “crap,” and “yelling at the customers.” Would that David Ogilvy were around to wash this puppy’s mouth out with soap! In other places I’ve seen advertising called other uncomplimentary things, including “dead.”
The reason is that cool marketers today don’t advertise to prospective customers; they “engage” with them. This involves the popular “content marketing” and (according to the writer cited above) its huskier cousin, “inbound marketing.” Both may make use of “storytelling.”
In theory, the “content” thus provided is of such value to the prospect that he or she becomes a fan of the organization and, it’s hoped, eventually buys from it and even proselytizes for it. .It’s all laid out in a neat schedule, with acronyms for the stages: “Top Of Funnel” to “Call To Action.” Ideally, the process will be so customer-oriented that if your competitor has “content” that supplements your own, you'll refer readers to that competitor’s site. The precedent cited is the instance in “Miracle On 34th Street” where, in the original version, Macy’s does tell Gimbel’s. It’s a children’s movie.
All of it implies a long-range campaign, and one capable of posting information readers will continue to find valuable over that long range. You’ve probably noticed (clears throat discreetly) that with the exception of this blog, not a lot of the stuff on the Internet meets that standard.
There’s a scenario that plays out in my mind and intrigues the hell out of me: Some old-school marketer advertising the benefits of using his product (“yelling at the customers” -- remember? ) instead of “engaging” with them, swoops in, asks for the order like we used to do before advertising died -- and makes the sale, while the Thought Leaders are still cozening their readers. Wouldn’t that be fun? I like to think David Ogilvy would have approved.
[Awful lot of quote marks for a short piece, but I can't help myself; it's hard to be serious about some of this stuff.]