Tag Archives: research

Strategy in the Era of Brute Force Marketing

Will marketing strategists become the horse grooms of the 21st century?


Nice work if you can get it

Grooming horses probably seemed like a nice job in the 19th century.  After all, you got plenty of exercise and got to work with animals.  What’s not to like?

Well, in a word, Buicks.

Just as one form of technology destroyed the jobs of hundreds of thousands of horse grooms, another may lay waste to the jobs of thousands of marketing and advertising strategists.  As more and more digital marketing tools adopt optimization features, some of the core functions of the marketing strategist may begin to seem redundant.  However, I think that smart strategists will regard these tools not the way that John Henry regarded the steam drill but rather the way the first taxicab driver regarded a Model T.  That is, technology doesn’t take jobs away; rather, it makes them bigger.

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The invaluable PewResearch Internet Project has quantified what digital marketers have largely understood for years: consumers say they want privacy but they really like the benefits of pervasive digital information.  In one example:

  • 91% of respondents said that they “agree” or “strongly agree” that “consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies”


  • 55% “agree” or “strongly agree” that “I am willing to share some information about myself with companies in order to use online services for free”

Consumers may have the freedom to say one thing and do another, but marketers don’t.  How should marketers respond to these findings?

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