The Decline and Fall of Marketing Discipline

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Podcast Episode #68: Marketing Professionalism and Discipline

What’s up with the current generation of marketers? It seems as if traditional marketing discipline and professionalism are being discarded in favor of a “test it today, launch it today” strategy. The current marketing trend is to treat advertising as a current event, rather than as a tool to build brand value over time.  Have all the shiny, new online marketing tools actually misguided the current and next generation of marketers?

In this episode of Power to the Small Business, three marketers join host Jay Ehret to discuss professionalism and discipline in marketing: Stephen Denny, Emmanuel Brown, Mike Wagner. They discuss where marketing has veered off course, and how it applies to your marketing strategy.

Stephen DennyDenny Marketing, Santa Cruz, California
Emanuel Brown – Creative Technologist, Portland, Oregon
Mike WagnerWhite Rabbit Group, Des Moines, Iowa
Jay Ehret (Host)The Marketing Spot, Waco, Texas

Length: 34 minutes Email subscribers and feed readers – If you don’t see the player, click here to listen to Power to the Small Business

You can also download the mp3 file here: Download Power to the Small Business #68 (for personal use only)



– Advertising is the public display of a brand’s marketing plan. Most big brand advertising is bad. Therefore, at the core, most big brand marketing plans are bad. You should not emulate big brand marketing and advertising.

– Do not test your ideas and products through social media. The only way to test your products it through live testing, when customers don’t know they’re being tested.

– Testing products and ideas is often impractical for the local entrepreneur and small business owner. Sometimes you have to go with your gut. This is why it’s important to be engaged with your customers.

– Attract the customers you can please, don’t try to please the customers you can attract.

– Avoid marketing by good idea. Instead build brand value over time.


Stephen Denny
“There seems to be a problem separating theater from the commercial aspects of commercials.”

“…this preponderance of do-it-yourself tools is starting to make us a little bit lazy. We’ve lost the ability to do the math in our heads.”

“I wonder if…having a ready panel of people…through your Facebook presence, your Twitter stream…makes it easy enough to turn to out of convenience, but is it really giving you what you’re supposed to be getting out of it, which is projectable, quantifiable, robust, disciplined results.”

Emanuel Brown
“Does our client actually know their audience at all? Do they know the real audience? Or is it the audience of all the people that has signed up for their Facebook page?”

“We need to start thinking about this in terms of ‘What’s the end experience?’ If ‘easy’ is the way it’s going right now…what is going to be the difference to make remarkable marketing experiences for people to connect them to the brands, products and services that they’re looking for?”

“You may have a great idea and a poor execution. It may be a poor idea and a great execution, and you suck people in either way.”

Mike Wagner
“I wonder about the corporate cultures that no longer pass along the critical skills, the analytical thinking, the disciplines”

“It seems that, because it’s easy, because it’s a tool that’s a do-it-yourself tool for the most part, because there’s a sense of urgency being created by our economic climate, no one is sitting down and saying ‘how do I mentor the next generation of marketers?’”

“It’s an indication of the diminishing of true professionalism and the disciplines…I think that’s going away.”

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