Marketing is dead

I recently re-listened to Seth Godin’s Purple Cow and Free Prize Inside. As I listened to the programs I kept asking myself these three questions:

  • Is there validity to the things he was saying?
  • How can I apply those principles to my business?
  • How can I apply them to my clients business?

It did not take long for me to confirm the fundamental thesis in the programs which is marketing as we know it can never work in the current marketplace.

Firstly, marketers or businesses are no longer catering to people’s needs but their wants. Consumers have too many options than they had a few decades ago.

Secondly, consumers are a lot smarter these days. In most instances before making decision to buy products or services especially high ticket items, people do research on the internet.

Therefore, the types of marketing strategies that helped many of the multinationals to become multinationals will not work in the present marketing environment.

The days of what Seth calls ‘interruption marketing’ when businesses with big marketing budget could manufacture products, pump huge amount on advertising and get people’s attention are gone.

In this new marketing environment, there are thousands of vendors clamouring for consumers’ attention. The average person is exposed to more than three thousand ads a day.

The internet and social media have made things worse. eBay and Amazon carries more inventory than the inventory carries by all the big retailers combined.

We are now in the period of what Psychologist Barry Schwartz calls ‘Paradox of Choice’.   

Therefore as a business if you want to survive the onslaught of the new reality, you need to adopt a completely different marketing strategy.

The new marketing strategy is what Seth Godin calls ‘Free Prize Inside or Purple Cow’.  Seth argues that to stand out from the clutter, your product and service needs to be remarkable. And you need to build the marketing into your product or services.

Gone are the days when designers design, manufacturing produce and marketing market.

The new economy demands that marketing is involved in the design and manufacturing of the product. The truth about this theory became glaringly clear to me today when I went to a dentist.

I was feeling a bit of toothache. Since my dentist is in Manchester and I am in London, I decided to visit a dental practice close to where I live. However, as I arrived at the dentist, I cringed at the thought of been treated there.

The doors were dirty with dust that looked as if they’ve not been cleaned for the past fifty years. The front of the building is a complete mess.

As I stood in front of the building I thought to myself: who in their right mind will want to go into such a place for dental treatment except of cause if they had death wish.

However, when I thought of the alternative which is if my pain persisted I might be forced to go to the hospital, I decided ‘Dr. Death’ was the lesser of two evils.

When I went inside, the inside looked clean as a medical facility needs to look. But when I went to see the dentist and I noticed the equipment and the fact that the dentist wanted to touch me without gloves, I said to myself this place is a morgue.

There is no way I am going to accept treatment in this place.

I listened to him tell me what he thought was the cause of my pain, when he suggested treatment, I politely declined. It was better to pay the consultation fees and run out of there as fast as I could than risk ending up in a graveyard.

For all I know the guy could have been a brilliant dentist and I would have walked out of there feeling better than I went in, but what was missing was the free prize.

This is a dental practice for crying out loud. In there they open people’s mouths. Through your mouth you can contract lots of bacterial that could be fatal. If they cannot be bothered to clean the entrance, how am I sure they clean the instruments after use.

When I go to my dentist in Manchester, I always observe them open fresh equipment right before I eyes. This gives me the confident that they care.

If that dentist reduces his price to £20 or even £10 would I have accepted treatment from there?

No Way!

Will I recommend the place to anyone?

Hell no!

Well that is not exactly true.

I will gladly advise Virgin or MarketMeSuite staff to go there for treatment. I could even do a video testimonial for the dentist if it will convince staff from those two companies to go there.

Someone needed a ticket from London to Manchester. Big problem…The bank pass was in Manchester. I called Virgin Train and asked if I could purchase a ticket for someone and they send the ticket to the person electronically.

The response was no, Virgin Train does not have the facility for that. What if I went to the station and paid for the ticket can they get it to the person or can they inform their staff on the other end to issue the ticket?

“Well it will be at the discretion of the ticketing staff”.

Does the ticketing staff have discretion? I thought to myself.

My question was answered when we went to the station and the staff said it was impossible.

For our social media marketing, we use an automated platform called MarketMeSuite. We noticed that our posts were not showing up on our social media feed. So we contacted MarketMeSuite to ascertain the reason. They responded that they closed our account because Facebook complained that we were spamming our fans.

Think about this!

We are paying for a service, if someone complains that we were violating their terms of service, you as our service provider, don’t you have the legal if not moral obligation to at least warn us or even the courtesy to inform us that you are shutting down our account?

Truth be told, I could care less whether any of the above companies succeeded or failed. So I did not mention them because I have an axe to grind with them. I only use them as an example of bad marketing.

Virgin spends millions each year on marketing. Richard Branson puts up all types of gimmicks to get customers, yet the service level is so bad.

I always notice MarketMeSuite banner ads all over the internet. Ads they might be paying millions for.

My dentist might be moaning that he has spent thousands on marketing that has not produced results. Little does he know that his dirty entrance frustrates his marketing effort.

What the above businesses and many businesses like them do not understand is in the new marketing environment, the marketing is in their products and services. Marketing is no longer about placing ad in the yellow pages, on TV or on the internet, marketing is about free prize inside the product or service.

Marketing is about being remarkable and exceptional.

As you read this the question you need to ask yourself is this:

Is your marketing in your product or service, or do you spend your marketing budget on gimmicks as Richard Branson does?

Your answer will determine your success or failure as a business.


If you need information about how to do remarkable and free prize marketing suitable for the new marketplace, please email or call me.

Telephone: 07865049508