Teaching Marketing: What If No One Knows the Answers?

There’s a great conversation happening on Amber Naslund’s blog, where she asks: What does the next generation of marketing professionals need to know?  The answers from her readers are practical, including:

  • Critical thinking
  • Storytelling
  • Consumer behavior
  • How to engage with multiple (and quickly-changing) demographics
  • The difference between actual value and spam

All of which I agree with.  But Amber’s question stems from her observation that the field of marketing is changing dramatically thanks to the Internet — which means the rules you’re taught today may result in disaster tomorrow, when the tools you’re using (if not the entire playing field) changes.

So instead of tactics, marketers need to focus on strategies.

Tools always change.  Twitter, Facebook and Flickr were fictional* words a decade ago, and they may be cultural footnotes tomorrow.  Their rise and fall shouldn’t have anything to do with long-term consumer awareness of your brand, but what your brand stands for should.

Demographics always shift.  What the Baby Boomers wanted in the ’60s isn’t what they want today, and Facebook was a college hub before grandma sent you a friend request.  How people communicate may change rapidly, but what they value rarely does.

Make sure your brand is something consumers value, and the marketers will always have something to talk about — regardless of the tools.

* Yes, twitter has long been an actual word, but its meaning has most definitely changed since 2006.