Say what?

Read an article in the April print version of Tijdschrift voor Marketing (Dutch only) containing an interview with Baptiest Coopmans, the new board member of KPN responsible for their consumer business. In the article, reference is made to a speech he gave at a seminar organized by the same monthly for a public of marketeers. In his speech he criticized marketeers – and I’m paraphrasing here – “that only want to be creative”.  And he goes on: “A lot of people confuse marketing with product innovation and making beautiful ads. That isn’t marketing”. I agree with his point that it is all about growing in the short and long term but since when is product innovation not part of marketing? Coopmans again: “Marketing is understanding what consumers want and growing your existing business”. I would say: “Marketing is understanding what consumers want”. Period.

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One thought on “Say what?

  1. Sounds appealing if you put it that simply, but I think you’ll see that over the years, both the ‘consumers’ and ‘want’ parts of that statement have been far more open to interpretation, speculation and projection from the marketeers’ point of view than we normally take into account. Which brings the innovation part back in again, but then on a psychological level.

    This area of influence is excellently investigated in the BBC documentary series ‘Century of the Self’ which is on google video, which I personally think every marketeer (and their girlfriends :-P) should see.

    I would probably say something like this: marketing is the art of forming a constructive alignment between the productive and consumptive aspects of a society. Whether or not this alignment is a harmonious one is a second question, and in my opinion *the* biggest design challenge for these times.

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