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Guest Column: Three marketing primitives that demand change of weather

20-September-2014
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Guest Column:  Three marketing primitives that demand change of weather

It may be the case with all disciplines of business that many phrases and jargons have lost their true meaning. Marketing as a business discipline is replete with such cases. Phrases which used to be novel just few years back may sound anachronistic in today’s times. The imbued impact of these phrases has got blunted owing to their severe overuse. In communication science, this phenomenon is known as “semantic stretch”. Phrases and words like ‘out of box’ and ‘unique solutions’ are believed to be the victims of this semantic stretch. In marketing, there are quite a few phrases that might be suffering from it.

Why is it important for marketers to be mindful of this? Simply because marketers are not believed to be real creators of things and are often accused of delivering empty and superficial glitter to their work. Marketers are often held guilty of submitting to the popular. In such an environment, it is imperative for marketers to ensure that the jargon or phrases they use are not just posturing, devoid of any real meaning.

Here are some of the phrases often used in marketing, which even when said with the right intention, may not be serving the right purpose.

Integrated marketing: This might have been in vogue not too long back, but doesn’t carry the same punch anymore. In large scale marketing activity this is a given. This term gained prominence with the rise of web and digital marketing and used to convey a strategy which includes all forms of engagement – traditional and non-traditional. Fortunately, the time has come when businesses (even big businesses) can think of one mode of media delivery. And if it is required to use every form of media, either the product lacks focus or the market segmentation isn’t properly understood or you have such deep pockets that any spillover is not your concern.

Connect with the product: If you are still connecting your communication with your product, then you are living in the bygone age of marketing. Instead of having a brand story which connects with your product, have a story which is based on values for which the brand stands for. Leave the connecting part to the audience. Base a story on the value that the brand stands for and not about the functional offering of your brand (unless it is a unique product or service).

The insight behind: Marketers love to flaunt their understanding of consumer insight. But we have often seen insight being substituted by reason, logic, or in many cases, a plain fact. Insight is about behaviour and not about data suggesting that behaviour. Quite often it is observed that any reasoning to justify the brand communication becomes the insight.

So what are the other phrases which you think demands redefining? Do share.

The author is Senior Manager- Corporate, The Hindu Group of Publications. 

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