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How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit

Last updated: 06-11-2019

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 How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit

The authors of Killing Marketing base their book on a provocative premise: "what if everything we know to be true about marketing is actually what’s holding back our business?"

They open with the story of George Lucas and Star Wars, which is not uncommon fodder for business books. But the story Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose tell is one I've never come across. They highlight the fact that Lucas passed on his "$500,000 directing fee in exchange for full licensing and merchandising rights." It seemed like a good deal for the studio (20th Century Fox) at the time. Most science fiction films were a flop in those days, and they were saving a half million dollars up front to mitigate against that risk. I'm sure they were thrilled when the movies turned out to be some of the most successful of all time, but they had to regret "saving" that $500,000:

It seems George Lucas changed the movie game in more ways than one. He had taken the merchandising/ticket sales equation, and turned it on its head. Your business is obviously not Star Wars, but the example poses a question for all of us in today's world.

Is it possible that the majority of CEOs and chief marketing officers are looking at marketing based on their own limited references (what they believe to be true about marketing), and not seeing the full potential (what they may not know), like the Hollywood insiders did? Are they killing their marketing from the inside without being aware of it?

Paradoxically, the internet, largely credited with destroying media and marketing as we know it, is now making content more valuable than ever. It is obvious when you see Amazon, Netflix, and HBO all jumping in to create as much original content as possible, but it's a truth that extends to us all. The authors explain how content creation progressed from marketing tactic in the early 2000s to marketing strategy after the Great Recession. Today, content has become more than just marketing strategy; it has become a business strategy.

This is the state of owned media and marketing today. The potential value of owned media to the organization is increasing rapidly. Those forward-leaning businesses that have been along the curve, like Kraft Heinz, General Electric, and Johnson & Johnson, are no longer willing to simply accept the idea that they must continually rent access to audiences. They are no longer looking at social media as solely a means to try to organically build a community of loyal customers. They won’t accept that content is simply a short-term investment meant to supplement advertising. They are looking at how owned media experiences—and the audiences they build—can add multiple lines of value to their businesses, and thus change not only their marketing approach but their entire business strategy.

What it is leading toward, the authors contend, is a world in which content becomes the business model—"one where companies build an audience first and then determine what products should be sold."

Marketing has traditionally been associated with a cost. What if, instead, it were considered like any other business investment, as something you expect a clear return on—not just in driving more sales, but in and of itself? What if your marketing department was a profit center? What would your business look like, and what changes would you have to make to get it there? It might look a little like Red Bull, the company Stephanie Losee, Head of Content at Visa Corporate Communications, writes of in her Foreword to the book: 

What is your content strategy? If you don't have one, Killing Marketing will help you build one, and may just change your overall business strategy in the process. And if you're just beginning your business, it will provide the model.

We have 20 copies available. 

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