This is the 17th Holiday Season I have
communicated with clients, prospects, friends, well-wishers and those curious about marketing.
In 2011 GL&A provided senior marketing counsel for a major Chicago non-profit and I again served on the Marketing
Advisory Board for The Best Shot Foundation, which seeks to eradicate childhood pneumonia around the world. (You may recall
non-profit marketing skills comprise a distinctive competence for GL&A.) As has historically been the case, we aided ad
agencies with their new business and account planning efforts (and even did a little copywriting as well). We served as senior
marketing counsel to a still as-yet-to-be-announced website start-up and launched a new website for a well-regarded interior
design firm. Of course, GL&A executed lots of marketing research—qualitative and quantitative.
If you’ve opened any of the several updates we have
sent this year, then you know we did a lot of writing in 2011. LEADING EDGE MARKETING RESEARCH: 21st Century
Tools and Practices was published November 8 and is available on Amazon and other electronic stores as well as directly
from the publisher, Sage. I penned the lead chapter, “Setting The Stage: What Do We Know About Boomers and What Does
It Mean for Marketers?” in Understanding The Boomers and Beyond Market (CD Publications). I also continued
on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Current Issues in Research and Advertising (JCIRA) and even
was a guest reviewer for a special edition of the International Journal of Qualitative Marketing Research.
the preceding the establishment of my bona fides, OK? I have three ideas I want to share and I want you to take them seriously:
advent of the Internet and the smart phone have not made marketing easier. They have made it more difficult.
a. Strategy is
still required, brand management is still necessary, research of all sorts is still the best way to reduce risk and track
some results and assess customer satisfaction. Traditional media (with the possible exception of newspapers) still thrive
and produce great results. The mailbox outpulls email all the time. Public relations is easier to distribute and requires
less list management because of electronic providers, but you still need a good story, you have to get editors and writers
hooked and, if you are good at it, you can obtain powerful results in sales and reputation. Trade shows remain essential,
prospects still like free pens and cups and T-shirts, etc; the contest still generates excitement. Corporate ID must be managed
(anyone not carry a business card?). And on almost all considered purchase consumer goods and much of what is marketed B2B,
it remains true that nothing happens until the salesman shows up.
b. Then we add website development and management, and emarketing
and Adwords and pop-ups, etc., and social media marketing (which is increasingly mobile) and monitoring.
Marketing is changing—quite quickly. It, frankly, is hard to keep up. Don’t throw
your hands up in the air. Study. Buy books (like Leading Edge Marketing Research (couldn’t resist the
plug), spend a few bucks and attend seminars. Audit a college course if you can. Teach a college course; there is
no better way to master a topic than to try to teach it to someone else. Make a 2012 New Year’s Resolution to master
customers is more difficult than ever before. There’s the Great Recession, which has thrown a pall over the entirety
of life in America and all the world. There’re Haves and Have Nots (or Get Its and Don’t Get Its) with respect
to social media and smart phone usage. There’s the continuing misunderstanding of Baby Boomers. There’s the unprecedented,
all-consuming political divide and the globalization of . . . everything. Marketing Research is perhaps more important than
it has ever been. And the good news here is that there are dozens, literally, of new tools and approaches to getting this
work done economically and quickly, too.
Best wishes to you and your family
for a happy and safe Holiday Season and a healthy and prosperous 2012!