In the digital world, traditional marketing has been challenged to the point where some are even predicting its obsolescence. The assertion is that it’s an entirely new world, so an entirely new strategy is required. No doubt the field is changing and new theories and marketing approaches are emerging rapidly, but when the suggestion begins to resemble a sentiment of out with the old and in with the new, I grow a little nervous because there are certain marketing fundamentals and theories that remain true, relevant and effective. Sure, it would be foolish not to evolve marketing strategy appropriately to account for the impact of technology and new media, but it’s also risky to ignore everything we know in favor of the new.
If you think about marketing, there has always been something new to consider. Over the years, marketers have seen brand strategies morph into an exhausting number of variations, such as brand logic, brand essence, brand proposition, and brand color. At one point, it was about customer relationship management (CRM), which spawned a focus on authenticity and engagement. Marketing went from mass to micro and then to mass customization. Soon thereafter we were talking about critical mass, influences, and outliers. Each of these philosophies introduced a new way of thinking that was interesting, revelatory, and generally applicable—but for the most part, they were additive in nature. It wasn’t necessary to throw out everything, but rather assimilate these suggestions into what you were already doing.