Necromarketing: Marketing after the Death of Marketing

Dr Stephen Dann

Obit: Narketing Scholarship. Beloved Son and Heir of Narketing
Thought. Cause of Death: Suspected overdose of statistical analysis.

Narketing is dead.

The death notice was published in Narketing News by Prof Don Schultz
(2005). ! had to privilege of hearing Prof Schultz speak at length about the
post mortem, and ! too viewed the death certificate. Yet the corpse still
seems to be remarkably fresh, and has this unnerving habit of sitting up and
asking for a glass of water. Some of the other marketing morgue attendants
have cited the body of work as ¨still twitching". Even in my own analysis, not
wishing to appear inconsistent with Schultz (2005), Holbrook and Hubert
(2002), Earls (2002) and others, ! have declared marketing dead. Where
dead is taken to mean ¨marked for death or certain doom" as in ¨Narketing is
so dead" or ¨You're a dead discipline marketing". ! think this fills the criteria
of marketing being ¨dead" and still hanging out with the rest of the business
disciplines down at the coffee shop.

A Death in the Family - Schultz's (2005} Marketing Parrot
!n contrast to the usual declarations of the death of marketing, Schultz (2005)
pointed to a time, place and a suspect. !n 200+, marketing died or became
irrelevant to managers (close enough to death). Prof Schultz brings a new
suggestion as to the cause of death - this time, a murder-suicide pact.
Schultz puts it bluntly - ¨marketing research is in a death spiral and it's taking
marketing down with it". Now we have a crime, a suspect, and if marketing
would drop dead, we'd have an episode of Law and Order: Business victims
Unit. Of course, with marketing limping around with a few bruises and cuts,
we'll have to wait a while.

While we're waiting for marketing to die, autopsying market research and its
terminal case of death reveals the following problems:
• Nethodology is valued ahead of insight.
• Journals are emphasising data ahead of interpretation.
• Narketing research has degenerated to an overused set of tools and
• Narketing has moved away from being about providing solutions and
moved towards being the use of techniques on data to create results.

!n a suspicious case of coincidence, these problems read like potential
research hypotheses. Schultz (2005) provides a summated list of the flaws of
market research. !f these fatal flaws are leading to the death of marketing,
they should be present in the content of academic works of marketing.
Consequently, a biopsy of contemporary marketing is needed to test for the
presence of these fatal attributes.

Burying marketing in Pet Semetary
!t's important to realise that the death of marketing isn't new. That said, it
has been surprisingly frequent, as marketing has died several times. First
rumours of death surfaced in 1980s, then again in the 1990s. Narketing
suffered a horror run from 1996-1999 where it was killed in nearly every
other issue of EJN. Finally, it died again with the birth of Google, only to be
back around the traps to be declared D.O.A. in 2005. Elvis at least had the
decency to make one public death before reappearing repeatedly.

Of course, with multiple proclamations of death, you would think marketing
had a critical core weakness. Strangely enough, the causes of death are
rarely consistent. At the abstract level, proclamations of the death of
marketing share very few some common grounds, although quite often, that
common ground is Stephen Brown, a man who will need a watertight alibi if
marketing is ever actually found dead. No discussion of the death (past,
present or future) of marketing is complete without mentioning Brown.
Brown, however, when last interviewed in the library, had a plausible alibi
taped to the surface of a lead pipe. No further questions on the matter were
deemed necessary.

!f marketing dies at the hands of another, usually it was the consumer who
did it, but despite a cursory check for another lead pipe (one not being held
by Brown), it's notoriously hard to find a murder weapon. !f marketing dies
by its own metaphorical hand, then the blame usually lies with
• the current or inevitable decline in standards of students, marketing,
market research, data, consumers, and/or the performance of advertising.
!f in doubt, blame the generation beneath you as the root cause of the
problems around you.
• transaction marketing which is the cardinal sin of selling something to
someone who wants to buy it from you without forming a lifelong
commitment to you, your store, your loyalty card, loyalty scheme,
database and direct mail marketing campaigns.
• relationship marketing which is the process of trying to befriend the
customer without dirtying the relationship with a commercial transaction.
Trust, integrity, honesty, reciprocity form the cornerstones of the
relationship marketing tool kit which is periodically analysed for the best
methods of manipulation for profit. Each time an article with a structural
equation model showing the statistically superior method of faking
sincerity for the benefit of the
• the +Ps which are just a blasted pedagogical teaching tool
• business's lack of application of that blasted pedagogical teaching tool.
Narketing really should point out to the business sector that if you have a
product, but don't tell people what it is, where you get it, and what it
costs, they're not going to know about it. Even when you do tell them, it
still has to be something they want, understand and can use, assuming
they can afford it, and they can buy it from the local store or internet
• irrelevance to ¨business". Business, of course, is the all knowing entity
which has the rule of thumb that 9 times out of 10 a company will fail in
its first year of operation. Even if the odds of survival are better in fact
than in rule, the depressing cheer with which business expects to fail is
astonishing. Yet ¨business" is our paragon and role model. No wonder
marketing dies so often.
• the ¨ironic" failure of marketing to market itself. !t's less ironic than Alanis
Norissette, but that still doesn't stop people from citing death by irony.
Death by failure to market is either unfortunate coincidence or the failure
of the physician to heal thyself.
• cynicism of youth. Apparent cynicism by a generation younger than the
marketer in question is the cause of the decline of marketing. That
cynicism expressed by that same marketer is ¨the voice of experience" or
¨managerial insight" when exhibit by their boss
• those meddling kids and that damn dog. Scooby Doo first taught children
to look behind the face value and see the real deal lying under the mask.
!s it any wonder that when we cover our products in improbable offers,
benefits and poor latex masks, the Scooby generation can see straight
through us?
• the propensity to write in bullet points.

Despite a list of murder suspects and a variety of weapons to make Cluedo
designers weep, marketing still won't lay down. !n most cases, the
declaration of marketing's death comes with little, if any, supporting evidence.
There's never a crime scene, police photos and lately, even the body has
been hard to find.

Beside, if the discipline is dead, what do we do for a living these days?
Dead Marketing Epilogue
Stephen Brown: ! wish to complain about this marketing what ! learned
not half an hour ago from this very university.
Philip Kotler: Oh yes, the, uh, the Narketing Nix...What's, uh...What's
wrong with it?
Stephen Brown: !'ll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. '!t's dead, that's
what's wrong with it!
Philip Kotler: No, no, 'e's uh,'s resting.
Stephen Brown: Look, matey, ! know dead marketing when ! see it, and
!'m looking at it right now.
Philip Kotler: No no it's not dead, it's, it's restin'! Remarkable pedagogical
tool, the Narketing Nix, idn'it, ay? Beautiful pedagogy!
Stephen Brown: The pedagogy don't enter into it. !t's stone dead.
(with apologies to Nonty Python's Flying Narketing Nix)

Earls, N (2002) The Welcome to the Creative Age - Bananas, Business
and the Death of Marketing, John Wiley 8 Sons

Schultz, D. (2005) "Narket Research Deserves Blame for Narketing's Decline,"
Narketing News February 15

Holbrook, N. and Hulbert, J. N. (2002) Elegy on the death of marketing,
European Journal of Narketing, 36(5/6) /06-/32

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