The Marketing Shift Away From Marketing

If you work in marketing, technology, advertising, communication, PR (or any related field) there was an article written by Samuel Scott, published yesterday on TechCrunch, that is a MUST read.

Within the post, Scott proposes and defends the idea that marketing today is nothing more than repackaged hype, fueled by technology-company rhetoric, designed (really) to accomplish two things: (#1) sell more of their products and services and (#2) recruit young impressionable talent to join their "movement". The modern marketer - he believes - is drowning in a sea of buzzwords, and as a result, we have drifted too far away from what marketing really is (or was).


Scott suggests that some of these tech companies (he calls out HubSpot and even the Content Marketing Institute specifically) are not really in the business of "marketing", but rather create marketing pop-terms (in essence) like "inbound marketing" or "content marketing" (which conceptually are not new at all) but have been created/repackaged by these companies to shift the conversation away from what marketing truly is - and the result is: "The use of these and other buzzwords has caused a new generation of marketers to enter the field without knowing even the basic terms and practices that underpin our industry. The result is that too many tech marketers are basing their work on faulty premises, hurting our profession and flooding the Internet with spammy 'content.'" Outside of the campaign trail which we are all too familiar with at this point (Clinton and Sanders square-off again tonight at the Historic Brooklyn Navy Yard), I see this conversation as the "great debate" in marketing.

In his close, Scott addresses the idea that all marketers should "Remain skeptical at all times". He suggests that as these startups break ground, and develop "new" concepts or products - we should get in the habit of challenging the motive behind their effort. Why are they saying this? What do they stand to gain? Who is this idea, product or service going to help? Are they really doing this to help people?


Judging the motivations of a technology representative is a topic that I myself wrestle with, as I spend a lot of time reading through industry publications, attending conferences, to make sure that I am up on the latest and greatest. But so often, I too feel that PRODUCT A is not necessarily doing anything new, but rather creating demand (in a compelling way) for their own products and services. Because of these campaigns, and the press that they receive, its easy to understand why we (and subsequently non-marketers) come to think that there is no way to accomplish their marketing goals without this great new product.  Being aware, or at least skeptical is important. Always ask yourself: Who wrote this article? Are they somehow invested in this product? Are they trying to review this from a neutral place? Can I accomplish X without Y? Regardless, whether you are a Hubspot loyalist, or someone that has doing "inbound" marketing long before it was ever called that, this post does a great job of framing the debate that is taking place (too often) behind closed doors. Scott has surfaced a conversation that needed air.

Last but not least, outside of the article itself, make sure to read through the comments section at the end of the post.  Marketers from all walks of life are submitting detailed responses and I'd be curious to know what your thoughts are on the subject. Have you felt this way in the past, do you feel this way today?

"Everything the tech world says about marketing is wrong"