If marketing were invented in 2013, what would it look like?

Buzzwords and trendy theorems pass before our eyes at Marketing Week on a regular basis and it is part of our job to prompt debate and encourage digging around in the swirl of hype to see if genuine nuggets of useful insight exist.


The latest marketing declaration comes under the banner ‘growth hacker’ marketing and is being propagated by American Apparel’s Ryan Holiday, among others. Holiday has published an ebook on the topic so is keen to see his ideas discussed. You can find our interview with him here or in last week’s issue.

Growth hacker marketing seems to mean having a start-up mentality and using start-up tactics and, says Holiday, “growth hackers focus on technologies that are scalable, trackable, efficient, malleable and creative”, along with agility and risk-taking.

As you might expect, comments posted online are questioning the trend. For example: “I find it increasingly embarrassing that marketers use ‘dev lingo’ and think that if they repeat it often enough, it will become true.”

But you don’t have to buy into the growth hacker proposition to find common-sense observations that are applicable to the marketing world. Agility and “the need for speed” in marcomms are key attributes and even huge multinationals are building real-time marketing into their capabilities.

Mondelez, which owns brands such as Cadbury and Trident, has formed a global strategic alliance with soon-to-be-floated Twitter to facilitate just this kind of quick response, customer-friendly marketing.

Holiday’s fundamental point is that growth hacker marketing “is what marketing would be if it were invented in 2013” and that’s a neat segue into urging you to investigate two big chunks of this week’s issue.

First is our Digital Strategy supplement covering the latest developments and thinking on topics such as branded content, media convergence and more. And then there is the preview for the Festival of Marketing event.

At the three-day event in October, speakers and delegates will together kick the tyres on the received wisdoms of marketing and discuss how the industry can move forward to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by technology and changing consumer mindsets. There are bound to be some fascinating debates and I look forward to seeing you there. Learn more at www.festivalofmarketing.com.

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