As we’ve said before, here at MarketingAdviser we love to read. In fact we’ve just been working through a new book, and it has hit us for six.
The book is called “How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know” by Byron Sharp. As a financial marketing agency, we were somewhat offended by the title, yet as true marketers we liked that it was provocative. So we gave it a go.
The premise of Sharp’s argument is straightforward, yet profound. His basic claim is that marketing is a lot like architecture. The latter is a creative endeavour, yet it must operate under fixed universal rules.
For instance, architects cannot simply build a skyscraper upon marshland, or wherever they so please. Nor can they build it out of any kind of material they like.
The problem is, there is many a financial marketing agency in the world which doesn’t view marketing in the same fashion as architecture. Rather, they assert that human beings – consumers – do not operate according to predicable patterns. As such, there can be no “laws” of marketing that apply universally across all cultures, geographies or industries.
Sharp however, argues that humans actually do exhibit predictable behaviour patterns across these variables. It is therefore possible for a financial marketing agency to adhere to particular “laws” of marketing. Alternatively, they could choose to violate them.
Interestingly, there are some agencies out there which do agree that certain “laws” of marketing do exist. The problem is, the laws they put forward are usually wrong – even though they seem to make good sense.
Some examples? Have you ever heard marketers (or even yourself) say any of the following strategic assumptions…
“Penetration is boosted by price promotions, but price promotions don’t enhance loyalty.”
“Our clients are a particular kind of person.”
“Engaging in differentiation for our brand is a crucial marketing activity.”
They sound plausible, don’t they? However, if you believe any of them to be universal laws of marketing then you’re actually internalising incorrect assumptions.
Of course, this assumes that Sharp is right. He could well be wrong. However the weight of research is heavily in his favour, drawing upon solid research from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia.
Many marketing professionals are content to let this state of affairs rest in the marketing world, but at MarketingAdviser we believe it to be our duty to give our clients the best. A financial marketing agency cannot afford to be careless with the trust and investment that has been placed in its care.
If you’d like to hear more on this topic, we will be writing more about it in the weeks and months ahead. Let us know you’re interested by giving us a social share, or write to us via firstname.lastname@example.org