Marketing needs a cure

By Nele Pieters

We all seem to agree that the traditional approach to marketing does not longer work: the world has changed too much, and so has the consumer. Both marketing theory and its practice have been sick for a while now, and parallel to society’s infallible belief in modern medicine, we’ve all been trusting on drugs to help things get better. For far too long, we’ve been treating symptoms with high-tech innovations, instead of exposing and treating the root cause of the illness.


If you work in marketing, are an entrepreneur or in any way have been running or promoting a business lately, chances are you’ve been bombarded with ‘tools’, ‘techniques’ and ‘platforms’ to help you run campaigns or reach your target audience. These are the equivalent of pills, potions and other drugs that are more often than not prescribed on a ‘one disease fits all’ basis, by doctors who have been practicing modern medicine for their entire careers. Sure, the pills have changed, but their methodology hasn’t.

These doctors have the benefit of having gained your trust during all those decades when they were at the forefront of technological innovation, and that really was what we needed. They developed powerful antibiotics when these could still cure our diseases. But the truth is: our society has become immune to most of these treatments, and while marketing doctors are still trying to develop ‘the next antibiotic’ in the form of newer and better technology, we need a radically different approach.

So here is our manifesto for a fresh, holistic approach to the health of marketing. As with all therapies, it starts with an honest conversation. Are you still hunting your target audience with messages that might not even be relevant for them, via channels that might be ‘hot and happening’ but at best seem to yield very unpredictable and fickle results? We’re pretty sure you’re answering no to these questions, but are you absolutely SURE, or is it just easier to assume?

For us, the goal of marketing hasn’t changed one bit. It’s solving a consumer’s problem by offering them the right product or service at the right time and in the right way. The only thing is: are you starting your marketing strategy by truly listening to the problems of your community? Do you understand this community, belong to it? Is your company’s message relevant to them and explained to them in a way that actually touches them? Are you finding your community in the jungle of channels out there?

Community marketing is not about influencers, social media, content marketing, inbound or outbound marketing or any of the other buzz words or pills that are part of traditional modern medicine/marketing. No amount of pills will accomplish for your health what a balanced diet in combination with a healthy dose of movement will. We have all opened our ears and eyes to how the drug and food industries have been blatantly manipulating us to believe things that were, quite frankly, not very truthful. So why is it we’re not doing the same for the marketing industry?

Community marketing is about finding the right, healthy lifestyle for your brand that incorporates a balanced diet, enough movement, and sure – perhaps one or two pills when it is clear their benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. If the hottest new tool or technique does not fit your brand’s strategy, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You want what’s best for your company, not what’s best to keep the wheels of the marketing industry turning.

So this is our plea to stop taking the word of celebrated doctors for absolute truth, and don’t be afraid to burst some very popular bubbles. Be critical, listen to other voices, dare to question what others are taking for granted. Be the smart patient, and arrive at the doctor’s office informed and demanding.

If you adopt a marketing strategy that honestly aims to make and keep your business as healthy as it can be and if you put in the hard work instead of going for a quick fix; a long and healthy life awaits your company.

Contact Hotel Hungaria for #CMFF event-tickets and join the journey towards the New Frontier of Marketing!