Changing face of marketing. A phase unchanged from 1964 to 2014, or an eternal truism?

 In Archive

The best thing about sharing on social networks is that you get to have your bread and eat it too – and without nothing to lose for you, share it with others. Or it may never have been yours – and yet, you can still share it freely. Thanks to such sharing, I found myself reading an article “The changing face of marketing” from the McKinsey Quarterly that made me think about the ideas of truism and timelessness – as a way to avoid obsolescence.


/ˈtro͞oˌizəm/ noun
noun: truism; plural noun: truisms

  • a proposition that states nothing beyond what is implied by any of its terms
  • a statement that is obviously true and says nothing new or interesting

The article opened with a truism “Change is the dominant fact of life.” A quick glance and I inferred that the author like most McKinsey consultants makes a cogent argument that marketing will be impacted by six broad trends and then tries to scare the living daylights out of you – which is how a good management consultant or guru is trained to pander his or her “vapor” wares.

Today’s chief executive faces a baffling dilemma. Change gets costlier every day; yet not changing can be costlier still.

A logical and well-constructed narrative aptly supported with examples or anecdotes stop me from giving up on the article despite its length. There was nothing disagreeable or disputable about the six trends that I capture in this graphic but the entire article felt like that opening line, a set of eternaltruisms.

Only when I reached the end of the article and read about the author, did it dawn on me that this changing face of marketing was painted 50 years ago. The date was staring in the face at the top along with many references in the text – but I was skimming for the ideas more than reading for the details.


Surprisingly, the ideas from then are just as relevant to marketing and marketers today in 2014 – as they were 50 years ago.

We give it different names – digital, data-driven, mass personalization, next best action, insights-driven selling, etc. Newer or a longer list of unnecessary buzzwords and jargon-speak – compared to the McKinsey article from the 1960s with six simple ideas that in spirit remains just as relevant today.

Despite the changing face and phases of marketing, have the fundamentals of marketing not changed in 50 years?

And in the context of my previous post about industries and professions becoming obsolete, does McKinsey show us a model for longevity – truisms – or the way to build a business around them.

Agree with this view or disagree, add your perspectives or thoughts in the spirit of social sharing.

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