It started as a curiosity of mine. As a young discipline, comparatively-speaking, marketing continues to be in a constant state of flux. It is so especially as social media is considered a good way to engage customers and reach new prospects by more and more organizations.
When we think of great ad people, we rapidly know many names -- people like David Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Bill Bernbach, Raymond Rubicam, and Stanley Resor (JWT)
When we think about marketing, who do we vote in?
I could have taken the question to Twitter -- it's filled with marketers! To make things more interesting I asked it on LinkedIn instead, inviting many of my peers in marketing to give their take. This time I invited 50 of them from my network, and two responded in addition to many from groups.
Who are the marketers that withstand the test of time in your view? Why?
I was intrigued by the responses.
Names like P. T. Barnum, Steve Jobs, Claude C. Hopkins, the Michelin brothers, Walt Disney, Ernest Gallo and Albion Fenderson, Sergio Zyman, Dale Carnegie, Napolean Hill, Andre' Citroën, Phil Knight, Ron Popeil, Frank Purdue, and Richard Branson were suggested along with Micheal Porter, Robert Bartels, Philip Kotler, David Ogilvy, Seth Godin, Al Ries, and more.
Products were named as well -- Absolut Vodka, Kleenex, Coca-Cola, P&G, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and Xerox. Entertainers made the list -- Madonna, Lady GaGa, Micheal Jackson -- a US President, Obama, and, believe it or not, even Jesus Christ.
What do all of these names have in common?
Products and people alike, they provide(d) an experience -- real or imagined. Some of them through teaching and sharing knowledge either about an innovative thought process and a go to market strategy, or a simpler way of thinking about marketing.
Are great marketers therefore great doers?
More than one of the responses outlined how the person or brand proposed understood their audiences and brought compelling communications to the fore. Communication and experience are considered art by many, marketing is also science. The challenge with science is that we may have too many data points and fewer decisions today.
Add to that the intensity, complexity, and volatility of the marketplace and your challenge increases. So rather than talking about the 10 greatest marketers of all times, perhaps we should focus on what makes a great marketer today.
If you had to describe what makes a great marketer in a 300-word post, what would you include? Would it reveal more about the profession, a specific role, a remarkable achievement, an industry vertical, the challenge marketers face, or you?
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.