Marketing will seek its fresh definition in Friday’s Forum

More than ever, marketing’s identity and mission need redefining as professionals worry about its lost prestige. Major changes in the market reflect the reshaping of the economy and businesses; in this context the 3rd Marketing Directors Forum by MarketingWeek magazine tomorrow in Athens, sponsored by Kathimerini, is dedicated to confirming the coordinates of «new marketing.» «This is the annual meeting of the country’s marketing leaders, titled ‘Embrace the New Meaning of Marketing’,» says Xenofon Hasapis, director-general of Boussias Communications, publisher of MarketingWeek. The debate over marketing’s role shows that many executive officers consider it the section with the smallest, and least quantifiable, contribution to results. In the era of globalization nothing stays the same, Hasapis notes. Until the early 1990s marketing took priority, yet a series of developments, such as a stock market boom that boosted sales sections, meant marketing was no more the jewel in the company crown. This has brought intense soul-searching as a new sectoral direction is needed. Already in the US the debate over «new marketing» has begun through the conference of the Association of National Advisers, concluding that the traditional marketing model is obsolete. The debate will expand at the Forum tomorrow with the cooperation of the Athens Laboratory of Business Administration (ALBA), under the auspices of the Greek Marketing Institute and the support of the Hellenic Advertisers Association (SDE). «ALBA’s marketing laboratory under Vassilis Theoharakis will present a survey of marketing professionals about the sector in Greece, its relationship with strategy, the results and other company sections,» says Hasapis. He looks forward to the speech by Sergio Zyman, who led Coca-Cola’s high-growth phase. Zyman has 30 years of hands-on experience in marketing. His writings include «The End of Marketing As We Know it,» which forecast this eventuality. «Zyman presents a responsible type of marketing, which brings healthy, organic growth that lasts, avoiding temporary techniques leading to short-term swelling of results,» Hasapis testifies. Zyman’s marketing handles any brand difficulties and encourages renewal efforts instead of focusing on extensions. Tomorrow he will present his techniques of calculating the marketing programs’ return on investment. So what does «new marketing» include? Hasapis says it has three main pillars. First, absolute honesty is required as customers are better informed and more demanding. Second, a detailed study of customers is needed; no longer one big block, they now are segmented, defined also by psychological characteristics. And third, thought and strategy emerge as essential prerequisites guiding the action. Using reliable data, «new marketing» programs must focus on building ties with customers. «Making the customer our king is an immense project for a company, applying the simple truths we have grasped, the project of planning, presenting strategy proposals, coordinating among sections and monitoring the course and progress of action,» suggests Hasapis. As enterprises change and modernize, marketing can lead with its proficiency, creativity, broad mind and mettle.