This weekend’s papers featured full page ads for Adobe’s updated software package which promises to solve everyone’s marketing problems.
It made me think – if marketing is now a case of plugging in the software then sitting back and waiting for the results does this mark the end of the marketing consultant? Are marketing professionals about to become obsolete? Is marketing just a game?
When I first saw the advert my heart sank – for years marketers have tried to convince businesses that there’s more to the profession than intuition, inspiration, smoke and mirrors. And they’ve had to work hard to convince others that theirs is a real business skill.
Everyone thinks they are a marketing expert. Few people walk in to the legal team at a large company and suggest ways they might improve their performance in court. Or head off to accounts with a suggestion for changing the way they run their year-end.
But almost everyone at some point will head for the marketing department and utter the immortal word, “I’ve had a great idea…”
And isn’t that how it should be? If creative ideas and constructive suggestions aren’t welcome in a marketing department then where can you raise them? You’d expect professional communicators to listen to new ideas and discuss your suggestion – it’s what they’re good at. Your accounts team may perform numerical miracles but you wouldn’t automatically expect them to be expert communications – it’s not their job.
But chances are it is their job to use the accounts software. Having a specialist piece of software doesn’t make you a good accountant. And having a design package doesn’t turn you into a talented artist.
In both cases you still need an aptitude for the subject and the ability to understand the information it provides you with. And you need the skill to input good information in the first place. Rubbish in usually produces rubbish out.
So will having access to specialist marketing software turn everyone into a marketing expert?
It’s unlikely. But it’s great news that marketing is taking its place amongst the mainstream professions. Adobe’s software package and its advertising campaign brings marketing to the attention of more businesses. The more people who start to understand that marketing is a genuine business skill and not a dark art the better prospects are for marketing professionals everywhere – with or without the software.