A frustrating but unavoidable experience that every marketer has to endure is the continuous stream of unsolicited comments from every Tom, Dick and Harry. It is particularly irksome when these comments come from colleagues, people who do not have any experience and or qualification in marketing.
I haven’t heard or seen such people comment on what engine technology should be used in a car or what IC or transistor value should be used in an electronics motherboard. However, these same people feel free, comfortable and qualified to comment on every small aspect of marketing. What makes them do this? What expertises do these people believe they have to make comments?
I have attempted to rationalize, identify some possible reasons those encourage this behavior. They are (not in any particular order):
1) Everybody is a consumer: Marketing is meant for consumers. Since everybody is a consumer or a potential consumer, every person believes that he or she has the freedom to comment on what is meant for him. This particular label of “consumer” is the only license anybody needs to make comments without fear.
2) We are creative beings: A universal human truth. Though we all believe we are creative, not all of us end up doing jobs considered to be creative. People try to make it up by commenting on marketing, considered to be a creative work, at every opportunity. It’s their way of expressing their creativity, an exercise for the right brain, though at the cost of the marketer.
3) Marketing is an art; not yet a science: Science is objective; marketing is subjective. There is a universal truth about science that still eludes marketing. In every country, every language and every context, 1+1 = 2. The same is yet not true about marketing. Unlike science, there are no universal “right and wrong” formulas in marketing. What works in a country does not necessarily work in another. Even within the same country or smallest unit of market, it differs if the context is different.
This subjectivity about marketing is an open invitation for anyone to share his opinion, knowing well that his comment cannot be subjected to a right or wrong formula. It doesn’t help that there are adequate case studies and examples to endlessly argue points and counter points and still not reach an agreement.
4) Marketing is for the heart; not the head: Most marketing activities are designed to appeal to the heart. Consumers are expected to feel; not think. It’s therefore, easy for anyone to comment on matters that don’t require the head to be used.
5) Seen and spoken: One can talk; comment only about what he sees the most often. Other functions in the organization do not have the same visibility that marketing does. R & D is normally conducted behind closed doors, production plant is usually in a different premise, and account and finance is way too boring for conversations. Marketing is the only function that touches every soul, both within and outside an organization. It is therefore, quite natural that more people talk about it.These are my opinions. It would be interesting to know your point of view, as a marketer and consumer, on this subject.