Archive for March, 2012

Marketing Management Has Become Like An Elephant Riding A Bicycle – or – What Big Data Taught Me

Here is the presentation that Professor Don Sexton and I made to the BRITE conference a couple of weeks ago.  Don made sense of the data in the first half of the presentation and I followed on with the larger implications for marketing.

Yes, the Elephant on a Bicycle is how I summarize the state of marketing management today.  The framework for marketing is like a rickety bicycle, one that was built over 30 years ago.  When you pile social media, digital OOH, mobile, the convergence of online and offline the whole contraption becomes unwieldy.  The traditional marketing approach just wasn’t built for today’s world.

It’s time to stop trying to patch up the old model.  Let the past be the past.  And move on to adopt marketing techniques that are designed specifically for today’s world.

It was truly brave of the marketers at some companies like Coca Cola, McDonald’s, VISA, etc., to admit the traditional marketing model doesn’t get you very far anymore.  Coca Cola developed their strategic storytelling model, “Liquid and Linked”.  McDonald’s under CMO Larry Light broke new ground with Brand Journalism.

This presentation is merely the tip of the iceberg of insights to be discovered in the research.   You can download the first real report of the study that was co-authored by Don and David Rogers of the Center for Global Brand Leadership at or from the NYAMA’s website

Sexton and Ringer Presentation of NYAMA BRITE Study

My Future Was BRITE

It was great fun to be at Columbia’s Center for Global Brand Leadership’s BRITE Conference yesterday and today.

Professor Don Sexton and David Rogers presented some of initial findings and implications from our new CMO Study on ROI in the Era of BIG DATA.  This was a joint study of the Center for Global Brand Leadership and the NYAMA.  The very generous sponsors of the study were the Greenbook and ResearchNow.  There were many other people involved in championing the idea of this study including Edwin Roman of ESPN/NYAMA, Rick Kendall, Debra Berliner and Christine Heye of the NYAMA; Sylvia Chu, Andrew Kyrejko and Michael Dudley of Verse Group; and Matt Quint and the incomparable Bernd Schmitt of Columbia.

If I had one message to give CMOs about the study it is: “You are not alone in your struggles to stuff digital marketing into traditional processes and methods.”

And there’s a good reason.

Big Data is a Big Headache for most marketers, revealing a fundamental Big Problem: The underlying foundation of marketing is rickety, fragile.  Piling more digital innovations on top of it reveals the problems inherent in the traditional positioning model of how marketing works.  In fact, marketing management has become like an elephant riding on a bicycle.

The good news is that there are newer approaches to marketing that are built for the digital world.  Until now, many of those breakthroughs in marketing have been created internally at corporations like Coca-Cola (liquid and linked), McDonald’s (Brand Journalism), P&G and others.  The principles of their approaches are available to anyone to adopt and adapt.  Principles such narrative — e.g. seeing your brand more like a hit Broadway Musical or attraction at Disney World rather than a 2 dimensional billboard.  Principles such as using powerful metaphors, co-creating meaning with customers and, yes, engaging with them on their terms.

In the coming weeks expect to see more of the data from the study so that you can make your own judgements.  The NYAMA will be holding a seminar to share the findings in greater depth than was possible at BRITE.  Stay tuned!

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