Marketers always seem to be reinventing the wheel; no sooner do they come up with a “great new concept” than they ditch it in favour of some “good old fashioned” marketing. Perhaps it’s just me – but I reckon marketing is pretty simple and straightforward stuff; it’s marketers who appear to make it complex.

For instance, take the latest research from Anderson Analytics. This shows that marketers want to concentrate on things like customer satisfaction, customer retention, segmentation, brand loyalty and return on marketing investments. Don’t they all sound grand? But when you buy something do you ever find yourself saying to your friends, “Oh, I only bought it because I am loyal to the brand and after all, I’m in the right segment which is why I am such a satisfied customer who is retained by the business.”

Or do you say, “I bought this because I really liked it”. People buy things because they like them or because they need them. Marketing is merely about making people aware of things they might like or they might need and then convincing them to buy them; simple. And when you ask people what influences them most to make that decision to buy, they always say “word of mouth”.

So, why does this new research of 600 marketing “experts” show that “word of mouth” is one of the least important areas for marketing in 2008? Do these expert marketers know something we don’t? Is the world going to change next year and we will all suddenly stop buying things because we no longer like word of mouth? No, once again it is marketers focusing on the wrong things, trying to make life much more complex than it need be.

The result is that anyone running an Internet business is infected by the “complex” which takes them away from the “straightforward”. But take a look at the world’s best marketing success stories – they all did it by being straightforward, having a focused concept and providing something people wanted or needed. Easy really.

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