A couple of months ago my company bookkeeper commented to a web designer, “You know marketers are good liars.” Now, I can be characterized as knowing all the stereotypes associated with other jobs and careers…
Computer programmers don’t speak and have no interests (although one at my office does have a Music degree and is to appear on film in a movie starring Hilary Swank)
Project managers create Gantt Charts all day, walk around with pencils behind their ears, and expect people to follow their orders (although one at my office used to be a theater actor, has a great open personality, and works extremely long days with no pencils behind his ears)
Accountants sit quietly and crunch numbers (although the bookkeeper at my office has a gregarious laugh, and it could be argued, rarely quiet. Yes, this was the person that commented ‘Marketers are liars.’)
I, myself, have said that ‘I am in marketing. I am frivolous and flaky.’ I mean it as a joke. I hope no one takes it seriously.
When I was working on my MBA, my Marketing Management prof was by no means ‘frivolous and flaky.’ He used to be an engineer and he was big on the numbers crunching. It was very interesting. Marketing Management was a requisite course, and it proved to be more than cheerleading. Actually it wasn’t cheerleading at all. It was about analysis, knowing the company, knowing the target market, avoiding mistakes, and having an idea of how moving in a new and different direction can be profitable and lucrative, or catastrophic. A good proportion of CEOs have a marketing background. It was not a course on creating catchy slogans, nor was it about how to upload pictures and documents to a company website. It was about thinking, taking data, taking intelligence, and looking forward to provide the management team with valuable information to base decisions upon. I greatly value having taken this course. I know I am not ‘frivolous and flaky’ (although I do act it by times), and that the field is not all about telling people what’s new. Thank-you, Wade Crawford at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia! My first move in any position will not be changing the colour of the box.
A while ago, the well-known marketing blogger Seth Godin posted, Is marketing evil? He made some of his opinions known as to what are good things to market, and what are bad. Fine, many would agree with him. But as I think about it, and the comment ‘marketers are liars,’ what are you going to do if you need a job? You’re educated. You need money. You need to eat and survive. You need a job. You’re so desperate for one that you don’t have a choice. Then, you’ll take whatever and make it work. The intention of getting a job is to remain in it for as long as possible or until you tire of it. ‘Persuading kids to start smoking’ may be bad, but what else are you going to do if you need an income. These marketers may not be bad people. They need to make a living. I personally have not seen any images of kids smoking in cigarette ads (I’m waiting for Seth Godin to send me a few, because I know he will.), it’s a run-off of them wanting to look older (it could be argued).
So in the case of ‘Just because you can market something doesn’t mean you should’, and ‘marketers are liars,’ if you are in need yourself, you will do whatever to survive. I pity those souls, and some of them may feel shame inside. Cut it. Marketers are human and integral to any action a company plans on taking. Without them, there’s less productivity, fewer opportunities to pursue, less knowledge, and less attention to detail, as we are in the midst of many losing their positions.