When people think of marketing, they tend to think of the old glitz and glamour (Mad Men?) side of what marketing appears to be: advertising, commercials, websites and colorful brochures or collateral. And while that is a visible aspect of marketing execution, in reality it is only a small part of what a marketing professional can deliver for a business.
We are often asked by young, upstart talent in waiting, what area they should focus on in college to “get into” marketing after they graduate. The immediate inclination is to suggest they stay away from college marketing programs entirely. “Marketing” in itself is like “premed” as a course of study. It is so broad an area that until someone specializes, it is rendered almost useless. It would be better to focus completely on a specific avenue of discipline immediately instead of larger concepts, waiting for those larger concepts to come into play after they gain experience in the work world.
Aside from the almost certain initial disheartenment such a proclamation might provide, a better consideration is to suggest a more useful avenue of study, a path that may actually help businesses grow in a practical manner rather than theoretical one. And that is to recommend they focus on finance, lean process development or design.
The ability to develop substantial brand communication has suffered. It’s not necessarily the fault of the brands themselves but seems to rest on delivery and communication methods. Arriving in the last 10 years is an unprecedented accessibility to publication and consumers. Gone is the slow burn and thoughtful presentations brands relied on. In it’s place the quick, down and dirty availability of social media and online distribution is an often careless “push marketing” frenzy. More succinctly, in a world that proposes to deliver profundity in 140 characters and relies on large images and brief quotes to provide impact and substance for consumers, the ability to create deeper, long-lasting foundations for brand building has faulted.