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Changing Rules

While searching through a folder of articles that I have saved on a diverse set of topics (poorly organized and therefore hard to find easily) I ran across a Peppers and Rogers Group article focusing on how the rules for Marketing have changed. The basic gist of the article was how changes in buying combined with the increased diversification of channels have forced marketing functions to manage campaigns differently than more traditional approaches.

This is all fairly common messaging in the marketing trade rags these days. The interesting thing is that the article I was reading was from 2004. The rules have not only changed, they have changed again.

Rules

What makes this all interesting to me, interesting in the Chinese curse kind of way (“may you live in interesting times”), is that too many of my clients are still using marketing strategies from 1984, let alone 2004. Plus the changes between today and 2004 are just as significant as the changes between 1984 and 2004.

To me, the challenge is on what set of rules to bring these marketing organizations up to speed. Do we jump from 1984 to 2008, or do we go incrementally? Each has their advantages. Wasting time with a marketing approach that is behind the times, even if advanced for the organization, is delaying the benefits that the Web 2.0 provides (especially since most of these organizations have customers that are buying in the current paradigm). On the other hand, making big leaps often causes problems and the approach of baby steps can be a strategy for success.

Chances are the answer to this question of small change or big change will depend on a number of factors. Perhaps the biggest factor is what the customers expect to receive. If they are not satisfied, they can easily defect to a competitor. A second factor, not to be overlooked, is what is required by the sales organization for lead management and sales support.

Either way, marketing according to the rules of 1984 can’t continue. At least getting into the current millennium would be a start.

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