The Numbers Game In Marketing Is Middle Management Work

    February 2, 2005

Every PR practitioner struggles with questions about ROI. When we’re talking about blogging that same question is present – and I think it should be.

Even if the calculations as such often are quite absurd, that way of thinking is necessary.

But what if we could find ways of making our “soft” communications goals (branding, relationship building etc.) “hard”?

Richard Bailey discusses this in PR Studies. Bailey quotes Douglas Holt, the newly-appointed L’Oreal professor of marketing at Oxford University’s Said Business School, and concludes that Holt’s view is relevant for PR as well as marketing:

“….the quantifiable things are not the most important. The numbers game in marketing is middle management work.

There’s a real need to understand the role of culture and the media in the way products are marketed. MBA students should learn about the symbolism of big brands. Why should we leave it to the sociologists and anthropologists to critique these things?

…I want to make the so-called soft side of marketing ‘hard’ and intellectually demanding in a humanistic way – to bring an historical perspective to the study of how companies market their products.”

If you ask me, I’d say that this is a sign of the times. Something fundamentally is happening in the way we communicate professionally. Blogs are one small detail, social tools in general another — and we can add Open Source Marketing and many other things to the mix.

But it’s really hard to capture exactly what’s happening. We can’t see the forest for the trees. Or maybe it isn’t hard. Maybe Cluetrain is the forest? I don’t know.

Fredrik Wacka is the author and founder of the popular CorporateBlogging.Info blog which is a guide to business and corporate blogging.

Visit Fredrik Wacka’s blog: CorporateBlogging.Info.