10 Things I Hate About Marketing

There’s a lot I hate about the marketing industry. I hate…

+ How cut throat the industry is.
+ The negative stigma attached to marketers in general.
+ That we can “add value” with “creativity” and make a product more expensive.
+ That we interrupt everyone, all the time.
+ That everyone thinks they’re a marketer.
+ That every marketer thinks they’re a social media expert.
+ That there are so many wankers in the industry.
+ That there’s such a rivalry between the traditional media people and new media people.
+ That marketers think they can segment consumers based on the year of their birth.
+ That we sell products that kill people.
+ How everything seems to be about winning awards. Or how many awards you’ve won. Or how agencies make ads specifically for awards.

But fuck I can’t wait to be a part of it.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at September 13, 2009 2:18pm, 13 September Reply

    Marketing is not an "industry", it is a function. What you are referring to is the advertising industry (or marketing services industry)- true marketing goes well beyond mere promotions (or advertising or social media).

    Referring to the value exchange concept of marketing, advertising merely satisfies half of the value equation. "Marketing" is responsible for creating total value, right from new product development to total P&L responsibility in some companies.

    Hence, referring to social media experts as "marketers" adds to the negative image marketing has today. The marketing services industry and the client-side marketing function are inter-related, but NOT the same. So please recognize that all advertisers are not really marketers, you can't simply drive a company's growth through the "promotions" concept of marketing.

    So my point is: what you've just said is true for the marketing services industry (aka agencies) and not entirely true for client-side marketers who are responsible for total value creation.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at September 13, 2009 2:28pm, 13 September Reply

    @ Anonymous

    Fair point, I do use the word very loosely, and probably with the same perception as the majority of people. With that said, I still think some, if not nearly all, apply on the other side of the line too. Thanks for the comment.

  • Rick
    Posted at September 13, 2009 2:51pm, 13 September Reply

    Marketing "profession"?

  • Guy Munro
    Posted at September 13, 2009 6:52pm, 13 September Reply

    Man, the above is pretty negative, but lol. Really, get amongst it with a good agency and ur cynacism will be swayed.

    Reality in marketing is there are lots of boobs, but you gotta find the one with the right milk for you…



  • Wags
    Posted at September 13, 2009 7:22pm, 13 September Reply

    … and point number 12:
    + The need to simplify everything into lists of ten points, even when there are eleven!

    Geeeez – talk about generalising, Zac! You've described a lot of poor marketing (mainly advertising) practices in your list, so hopefully this shows that you won't become an interrupting, cut-throat, murdering expert wanker?

    And obviously you weren't listening back in first-year marketing classes when we spoke about the dangers of demographic segmentation! 😉

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at September 13, 2009 7:33pm, 13 September Reply

    @ Wags

    Hah! I'll be honest, the title was written before the article.

  • Marek
    Posted at September 13, 2009 9:02pm, 13 September Reply

    How about all the ways marketing, advertising & comms improves our lives???
    Talk about making a list of not-best practices. Yes those things are true.
    But how many social media experts have you met, or watched on TED, only to be inspired to write or do something more positive with your own consulting Zac?

    And as far as Anonymous above said, I agree, these days the best overall marketing is the product itself.
    From recognising a need, finding the right solution and showing people how it improves something for them, be it an inherent need or a greedy want. We're all entitled to have both.

    So I would suggest a new title, perhaps, "10 (11) ways to recognise who is next to be fired at your agency…anyone who does the following"

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at September 13, 2009 9:05pm, 13 September Reply

    @ Marek

    Of course I'm generalising, but your comment is the exact reason I put in the last line.

  • Kate Kendall
    Posted at September 13, 2009 10:50pm, 13 September Reply

    Good point @anon. Totally agree regarding the majority of your list being related to the peripheral agency and adland-type industries.

    You could even say the reverse is true of your list for many client-side marketers and as I've argued in a previous post on my blog before, these are actually the ones who have the word 'marketer' in their titles, not account managers, creatives or digital consultants etc. (which make up alot of the Aussie blogosphere).

    They don't have awards (excluding the AMI ones), they freely admit to knowing nothing about social media, they often market services and not products, they are often under-confident about their activities due to measurement issues and are not 'wanky', some don't give a crap about new media, the industry is pretty 'accessible' and not as cut-throat as others (cough… publishing) and demographical segmentation on year of birth can be viable method. Look at those female hygiene products you get for older women for instance (I'm sure you've seen the Poise ads!).

    And yes, there's a risk of death in all industries, marketers are just pawns for the other industry that makes the offering.

    Finally, the stigma attached to marketing and marketers will likely never go away. This is because, the lay person has no idea what marketing actually is and the definition of marketing is something that is constantly debated to this day by people in the industry. When people don't know something, they get scared. When someone tries to analyse their behaviour or psychology, they get defensive. This is true of the marketing discipline…

    So, it's dirty work, but someone has to do it. 😛

  • Rachel
    Posted at September 14, 2009 10:47am, 14 September Reply

    Further to your point on "wankers" in the industry, I hate how there seems to be this hierarchy of coolness as to what part of the media you're in i.e. social media types thinking they're cutting edge, TV types thinking they're king etc etc. And then there's the hierarchies that exist within each medium

  • Daniel Oyston
    Posted at September 15, 2009 9:32am, 15 September Reply

    I would refine “That everyone thinks they're a marketer” to “Everyone has an opinion on marketing” and they are too willing to share it.

    How many times have the Accounting people, or IT people, said to the Marketing people “You know what you should do?”

    I wish more people had the guts to say “You know what Jannette, sit the fuck down, I don’t share my opinions on your Accounting Department despite the fact that you have fucked up the last 3 invoices to my most important client”

  • Scott Taylor
    Posted at September 15, 2009 11:34am, 15 September Reply

    Zac, that's a good list to check back on in 5 years time to make sure you did't end up being what you hated (or you could just change the list if worse comes to worse)

    @daniel If your accountants keep getting your invoices wrong, I think they'd want you to tell them 😉

  • Anonymous
    Posted at September 15, 2009 12:03pm, 15 September Reply

    Such a typical Gen Y thing to say…

  • Melissa
    Posted at September 15, 2009 1:15pm, 15 September Reply

    Enough with the Gen Y comments already. Everyone is so obsessed with lumping everyone into a generation these days, and making gross assumptions about them according to sterotype.

    I hate that anyone who's ever done or taken part in any form of advertising "campaign", thinks they're automatically a marketer and know it all.

    As much as there's things about the industry we all hate, i wouldn't want to be anywhere else, and by your last line, you feel the same way Zac.

    I guess the challenge is being able to identify if you start to become any of the things on the list and be able to do something about it.

    Would be interesting to see how much that list changes over the years as you're exposed to more.

Post A Comment