HBR isn’t always right

Bill Lee blogged in the Harvard Business Review that ALL traditional forms of marketing – including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications – is dead. He maintains the only marketing investment that will bring a return is, of course, social media marketing.

With all the prestige that my degree in Newspaper Journalism from the University of South Carolina and my 20 years in local news and marketing gives me, I disagree.

I don’t think that as many people are plugged into social media marketing as the social media marketing “experts” want us to believe. I believe that women find hairdressers and gynecologists by asking their friends, and that plumbers and painters are located through the yellow pages. Businesses look for local support services through relationships at the chamber but seek regional needs through industry specific channels (publications, trade shows, etc). Criminal attorneys reach their prospects through direct mail when their data source – the police blotter – is updated each day. Auto dealers see who can yell the loudest on the radio and place the most pictures in the Sunday paper.

Every prospect, whether you’re targeting a Gen-Yer, a large corporation, a small business, a rich old guy or a mom, is lured by a different marketing method. There are no absolutes in the marketing universe.

At Rally, we focus on one type of marketing – email. So, as they say at Sandler Training, we’re not for everyone. And we don’t advise any of our clients to give up other portions of a marketing program to use us. We advise them to layer us on with the rest of their advertising, branding, PR and communications plans.

Because as a marketing expert, it’s my job to figure where my client’s prospect is. But I don’t think, as a marketing expert, that it would be wise to put all my eggs in one basket.

more insights