The age of clichés

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Jean-Luc Ambrosi is an award winning marketer and recognised expert in branding and customer relationship management. He is the author of the new book, Branding to Differ, a strategic and practical guide on how to build and manage a successful brand.

We have reached a point in time where marketers need to beware of the latest fads, buzzwords and easy clichés. Many are at risk of losing sight of what distinguishes them as true professionals: Their ability to market the right product at the right time, through the right channel, to the right audience, in the right manner.

I can easily understand that people outside the marketing world get bamboozled with the hype around social media, big data, content marketing, apps and so on, but that marketers fail to distinguish hype from substance is another story. Marketing has become more strategic and more reliant on precise techniques to its great benefit, but we need to view new developments for what they truly are. That is, instruments, tools or channels, driven by the evolution of technology that in varied degrees may or may not be relevant to the marketing mix.

In other words, mobile apps may be great, but it doesn’t mean you need to launch one today.

Every now and then, news reaches the marketing world of a ‘sweeping revolution’ and ‘dawn of a new age’ emanating out of the ashes of our collapsing marketing world. We have witnessed a quasi-annual frequency of these revolutions, and if we believed all of them, we’d think traditional marketing has come to an abrupt end almost every year of this century.

But let’s get serious. Outside Hollywood, there aren’t many marketers or communication departments reaching their last gasp as they face their unfortunate and ultimate fate: The final countdown in Dolby stereo.

Yes, much has changed in a short period of time. New technologies and tools have evolved and so have our modes of interaction, our consumption patterns and our communication needs. Most of this change is linked to advances in technology or more exactly, in how we use this technology, rather than a societal shift (which happens conjointly but at a different pace).

Just as the industrial age changed consumption patterns through a greater availability of products, digital technology, in particular, is changing communication patterns through a greater availability of channels and modes of interaction. Just as products became more available to the masses two centuries ago, modern communication tools have evolved in a similar way.

So what does it mean for marketers? Simply that new tools, such as social media, are just tools, as formidable or exciting as they may be. They may have their place in your marketing mix, but that depends on your offering, your customers and your market.

These tools can give you a formidable competitive edge when they are suited to your strategy, but they can also be a costly distraction when they are not. Apps or responsive design are just mechanisms to optimise the presentation of your website, brand, products and services. Big data is just a bit more data than small, medium or large data.

Marketers also need to keep in mind that most social media efforts do not return positive ROIs. The talk around big data is not really about big data but rather customer data, the same data extensively used since the 1960s.

Content marketing, the other big buzzword circulating around our industry, is great but it needs to be appropriate to your positioning and relevant to your target audience, like any other good marketing communication.

The foundation of marketing, and I mean bona fide marketing using appropriate methods, has not changed. The evolution is for marketers to harness this technology when and where it is relevant, not when it is fashionable. So as any good marketer will tell you don't judge a book by its cover, but use its cover to market it.

Tags: digital strategy, data-driven marketing, marketing technology

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

More whitepapers

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: ABC's Leisa Bacon

In this episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO, ABC's director of audiences, Leisa Bacon, shares how she's navigated the COVID-19 crisis, the milestones and adaptability it's ushered in, and what sustained lessons there are for marketers as we start to recover.

More Videos

Zero proof spiritsUsa since 2011🤪🤟


How this alcohol-free spirits brand rode the health and wellness wave

Read more

okay this a good newsmaybe i gonna try it


CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 July 2020

Read more

Very insightful. Executive leaders can let middle managers decide on the best course of action for the business and once these plans are ...


CMOs: Let middle managers lead radical innovation

Read more

One failing brand tying up with another failing brand!


Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

I am 56 years old and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after four years of decreasing mobility to the point of having family dress ...

Nancy Tunick

The personal digital approach that's helping Vision RT ride out the crisis

Read more

Blog Posts

MYOD Dataset: Building a DAM

In my first article in this MYOD [Make Your Organisation Data-Driven] series, I articulated a one-line approach to successfully injecting data into your organisation’s DNA: Using a Dataset -> Skillset -> Mindset framework. This will take your people and processes on a journey to data actualisation.

Kshira Saagar

Group director of data science, Global Fashion Group

Business quiet? Now is the time to review your owned assets

For businesses and advertiser categories currently experiencing a slowdown in consumer activity, now is the optimal time to get started on projects that have been of high importance, but low urgency.

Olia Krivtchoun

CX discipline leader, Spark Foundry

Bottoms up: Lockdown lessons for an inverted marketing world

The effects of the coronavirus slammed the brakes on retail sales in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Fever-Tree’s Australia GM Andy Gaunt explains what they have learnt from some tricky months of trading

Andy Gaunt

General manager, Fever-Tree Australia and New Zealand

Sign in