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Marketing’s future

Posted on: Friday 25th of March 2011

Interesting little debate between myself (Alan Mitchell) and marketing profs Mark Ritson and Tim Ambler within the pages of the marketing press.

They’ve taken offence that I’ve said we need to reinvent marketing. At the heart of it lies what I see as a contradiction at the heart of the marketing project.

On the one hand, marketers say marketing is about identifying and meeting customer needs.

Then, in the same breath they say marketing is about changing customer attitudes and behaviours and influencing their decisions.

Within the current set-up this is an impasse because marketers probably want to do both. The fascinating thing about the control shift is that it cuts the gordian knot.

Under the control shift, helping individuals make and implement better decisions is a pivotal source of customer value. That means choosing the side of ‘meeting customer needs’ versus the quest for customer control. What’s new is that, in the course of researching and making the decisions, individuals are now generating huge amounts of new information about who they are and what they want – giving organisations that respond to these information streams a huge opportunity to add value in new ways.

That’s one of the intriguing things about VPI. It helps marketing and marketers escape from the very deep hole they’ve been digging for themselves.

Alan M