In an article by Stefan Stern of the Financial Times, I always find something thoughtful for this blog. This past week he wrote about where marketing was going (or not going) in this current economic environment. Stern was describing his conversation with the “father of modern marketing” Phillip Kotler. One part of the conversation had to do with advocacy, the mainstay of this blog. The other one was just plain funny.
Kotler was reminiscing about a book he enjoyed titled Firms of Endearment (the best title). He said that in the book they talk about how some of the most successful companies spend less on marketing than the less successful ones. Sounds counterintuitive? Kotler says, “But they used the word of mouth effect of unpaid advocates – loyal customers – to boost their reputation.” Advocates will do your marketing for you if you mobilize them, listen to them and engage them. I also find this to be the case and agree. Indeed. Kotler is apparently publishing a new book on the role of advocates in marketing titled Marketing 3.0.
What made me laugh was a statement by Kotler who is 79 years wise. He is quoted by Stern as saying, “At least it’s the finance people who are getting blamed for a change.” Marketers and communications professionals are getting by without the blame for awhile.