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Digital Hasn't Transformed Marketing

I recently gave a keynote speech to a large multi-national company. Not surprisingly, I was asked to speak about digital transformation and specifically the impact that the digital revolution is having on Marketing.

I say not surprisingly because digital transformation remains a hot topic. Like many of its peers, this particular company is in the midst of a multi-year digital transformation program. So as their leaders gathered for their yearly Marketing conference, they were eager to hear about the profound changes happening to the Marketing function.

Instead, I reminded them that Marketing hasn’t changed at all.

Fundamentally, Marketing always has been and always will be about offering a consistent user experience which delivers on a discriminating benefit. Marketing teams need to clearly define the challenge which needs to be overcome. They then need to identify a target audience, uncover deep insights, develop a differentiated value proposition, and ultimately deliver a consistent experience across all touchpoints and over time.

It is certainly true that how we do these things has changed because of the new possibilities offered by digital technology. But what we do, and why we do it has not changed at all.

Far too often, organizations are distracted by the buzzwords of how they could be executing Marketing, and lose sight of the much more important foundation of what and why they should be doing Marketing.

This distraction often leads to poor choices about how to organize and where to invest. So while it is great to chase the next big thing, companies would be better served to first reinforce the core Marketing skills which are needed for success.

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the world of Marketing, this is certainly the case.

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