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It’s time for a new marketing strategy

April 10, 2008

In a post about the banking crisis, Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Lab, made the following point:

“There’s only one real answer: rethinking strategy itself. A world of cheap, abundant, always-on interaction, where value is shifting to the edges, demands a fresh understanding of what’s truly strategic and what’s not.”

I think we’re close to a point where we have to rethink marketing strategy. From the very top.
Now, admittedly, the original quote in this post talks about the strategies of banking. Specifically, it had to do with the meltdown the financial crisis, but his point is a bigger one. He wrote:

“Where orthodox strategy advises hiding information and making things less liquid, what does edge strategy advise? Exactly the opposite: release information bottlenecks and make things more liquid.”

Marketing has always been about the exchange of information. But marketers controlled the flow. Consider the classic strategy for selling a car. Marketers told the people that they should buy a car, then set the price, letting the salespeople close it. The people didn’t know the cost of the car, so the marketers and salespeople could play with it. When the internet came along, it changed the entire business of selling cars. It’s a change that hasn’t exactly helped the big auto companies or car salespeople.

On a smaller level, marketers generally knew the prices of their things around the area and could set prices accordingly. Few people had the time to shop around – the cost of shopping around was too great.

In marketing terms, we marketers generally knew way more about the product than the people who bought it did. But that’s changed. Transparency is in – not because marketers want it. It simply is. The internet offers a whole new transparency when it comes to marketing. So maybe we need a new way. A new strategy.

Like the car salesperson, Marketers no longer have the upper hand. Maybe it’s time for a rethink.

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