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Are You Marketing Like a '60s Mad Man? Seven To-Don'ts From the 1960s [Slide Show]

by Verónica Jarski  |  
August 15, 2012

Education is a journey, not a destination. So, why do so many marketers forget to remain learning and keep their marketing skills up to date?

Unfortunately, myriad marketers are still working with outdated info and approaches from the pre-digital era.

To contrast marketing in the past and marketing in 2012, I wrote and illustrated the following slide show.

If you'd rather a quick look at the info---and miss out on the colorful illustrations (why would you do that, though?)---you can read the transcript below the slide show embedded here.

1960s Advertising
1. Focus all your efforts on one client.

Today's Marketers
Your clients (current and would-be) vary in their likes, wants, and approaches. Smart marketers develop personas to reach various buyers in various companies.

Learn more at the Buyer Persona Best Practices to Make Your Marketing Programs More Effective track at the B2B Forum.

1960s Advertising
2. Your team should be just art and copy.

Today's Marketers
Modern consumers expect more from ads. They want to be able to connect online with a brand, offer their opinions, share images, and more.

So, a smart marketer's team consists of folks who also know about search, coding, social media, etc.

Learn more at the 8 Essential Content Marketing Initiatives You Shouldn't Be Without track.

1960s Advertising

3. Rely heavily on last-minute brilliance.

Today's Marketers
Last-minute brilliance is fantastic when it happens... but last-minute thinking can also lead to last place in your customers' minds.

Smart marketers plan. They know their goal, form a strategy to reach the goal, then employ tactics to execute their strategy.

Learn more at the Creative Digital Strategy That Works keynote at the B2B Forum.

1960s Advertising

4. Know that you are more important than anyone else on your team is.

Today's Marketers
Everyone on the team matters. Great marketers know that they need to play and work well with others to produce exceptional work. And excellent companies share the power with their people.

Learn more at the Empowering Employees as Social Media Brand Ambassadors track at the B2B Forum.

1960s Advertising

5. Keep your knowledge focused.

Today's Marketers
Smart marketers today know that education isn't a destination but a journey. They keep learning and growing and discovering.

Learn more at the 7 Minutes of Awesome: 7 Awesome Insights From 7 Awesome B2B Marketers track.

1960s Advertising
6. Limit your choice of medium.

Today's Marketers
Smart marketers experment withy webcasts, podcasts, apps, slide shows, radio, TV programs, and cartoons, too.

Learn more at the Content Worth Sharing: What B2B Marketers Can Learn From Cartoons course at the B2B Forum.

1960s Advertising
7. Persuade---don't engage.

Today's Marketers
In our digital age, conversations abound. Marketers need to engage in conversations, from the hesitant beginning of a buyer's journey to even after a purchase has been made.

Learn more at Creating Conversations in the Content Marketing Continuum track at the B2B Forum.

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Veronica Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs. She can be reached at

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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  • by Danica Wed Aug 15, 2012 via blog

    Untrue and unverifiable....not a great article.

  • by Harry Hallman Thu Aug 16, 2012 via blog

    I agree with Danica. Comparing 1960s advertising with today is a poor example. For one thing you seem to be comparing the television show Mad Men advertising not the actual 1960s world. I doubt that anyone involved in writing this article was actually alive, let alone working in advertising, in the 60s. I could get into each of your points and say the same was true in the 60s, just with different tools.

    The truth is that a good grounding in the basics of marketing and advertising is what is missing in today's a marketing service world. We have always had to learn new techniques, but the basics stay the same. Target, engage, close.

    Sorry, but I think this one is a miss. Marketing Profs still gets a gold medal for all it's other work.

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Thu Aug 16, 2012 via blog

    The fundamentals always apply, Harry. But the intent here was to highlight how much marketing has evolved since the broadcast era. But you give me a good idea---perhaps a set of doodles on How Marketing HASN'T Changed, in some key ways.

  • by Mack Collier Thu Aug 16, 2012 via blog

    Interesting comments, I am wondering what the responses would have been if the positioning of the post had been '7 Reasons You Should Attend the B2B Forum' without the 60s Adman analogy attached?

    Harry I *think* the point Veronica was trying to make was that in this case, the tools also change the entire dynamic of how you market. Just as they did in the 50s and 60s when it suddenly became mainstream for most homes to have a television. And while I wasn't alive in the 50s or 60s, I just wonder how much emphasis marketers put on directly engaging with their customers? That engagement would have to be in an analog form since the digital tools/channels weren't available yet, and that costs most money. Money that could instead be spent on an ad during The Andy Griffith Show.

    I personally don't have a problem with the post, I think it's actually pretty creative, but I am biased toward MarketingProfs and will be doing a Live #Blogchat at the B2B Forum. The only thing about this post that irritated me was the pop-up email newsletter thingie that I was required to fillout about halfway through the Slideshare deck in order to keep viewing it!

  • by Nick Westergaard Thu Aug 16, 2012 via blog

    As I add this comment, I'm getting ready to present a new talk "Time, Talent & Terror" about overcoming internal obstacles to social media. I find this spot on and not a stereotype of the 60s or whatever the concern seems to be. A big part of my message and what this post and SlideShare are about is the fact that there's a huge paradigm shift in marketing today vs. marketing yesterday. We live in a multi-directional world where the choice whether to engage or not really isn't a choice.

    Say what you will about the 60s frame, the underlying message is something that marketers and their stakeholders need to understand.

  • by DJ Waldow Thu Aug 16, 2012 via blog

    I was born in 1976 so I can't *really* comment on what advertising was like until ... say the mid-80s. BUT ... my impression of this slideshow (which was brilliantly creative) was that it was trying to show that marketing has evolved over the years. The delivery methods and tools have changed. There seems to be more of a push for personalized content and engagement vs. BUY OUR STUFF NOW.

    As far as Mack's comments on the popup, I agree. Then again, I like that MarketingProfs is testing this approach. If it works for them - and their audience - who are we to judge?

    I'm out.

  • by Ann Handley Thu Aug 16, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for the comments here, all. Much appreciated.

    My take is that the persona of the '60s Madison Avenue "ad man" is an icon for an approach that we're evolved from. Is everything from that era obsolete? No. But at the same time, "that guy" has become -- for better or worse -- the poster child for the mostly broadcast techniques and old-school mindset of the quieter, more controlled pre-digital, pre-social media age.

    In other words, here Veronica uses him to talk up how much marketing has changed in way that I think is fun, creative, and engaging. (And "engaging" is trickier in our newly social world.)

    That said -- as Veronica notes -- the fundamentals always apply. Harry: Love for you to write a post about what you say here. Proposed working headline: "The More Marketing Has Changed, the More We Stay the Same."

    And @DJ and @Mack -- Re the Slideshare popup: We are indeed testing it. So I appreciate your comments as both actual feedback as well as data points! :)

  • by Ann Handley Thu Aug 16, 2012 via blog

    Harry -- See my comment below. Consider the invitation open!

  • by Harry Hallman Thu Aug 16, 2012 via blog

    "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it."
    Edmund Burke

    Good idea Veronica. I think when you do your research you will find much of what others have learned in the past can be helpful now.

    And to those that saw fit to tell me what point Veronica was trying to make- I know what point she was trying to make. My point is that most of this has been done and done over and over for years before the Internet and it works.

    The big mantra of social media is ENGAGEMENT. Marketers have been trying to engage customers forever. It is nothing new and you should have learned that in Marketing 101. Internet Marketing is just another tool that helps us engage better.

    When a carpenter finds a new tool he asked himself "will this allow me to cut the wood better and faster?" He already knows how to cut wood and the tool just allows him to do it better.

    I know I am coming off as some kind old fart, but really do you believe that the advertising of the 50, 60, 70, and 80s relied on last minute brilliance? Do you think B to B marketers before the Internet didn't personalize their efforts to market to clients? Do you really think that adverting and marketing didn't include the technology experts of their era? Do you think there was nothing like teamwork before the Internet? Do you believe that marketers did not take advantage of every medium they had available before the Internet?

    My point is what you are saying is everything that a marketer should know and be experienced at before they start working with the tools of the Internet. I say this because there are so many so called "SEO, Social Media and PPC experts" that have no idea of what marketing is really about. And like the carpenter if you don't have the fundamentals down you just might cut your hand off.

    Veronica, I am not trying to dis you. In fact, I am impressed that you know the fundamentals. But I don't agree with making a point using several generations of marketing and advertising people as fall guys and women. It makes people believe there is nothing to learn from the past.

    I am looking forward to your new piece "How Marketing HASN’T Changed".

  • by Harry Hallman Mon Aug 20, 2012 via blog

    Thanks Ann, but as you can see by the messages eronica is doing that. I think that is great and it will be a great leaning experience.

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Aug 20, 2012 via blog

    Thanks so much for all the comments here, folks. All your comments were appreciated...

    Yes, as Ann said, the focus of this slide show was definitely on showing how much marketing has changed... and to show those changes in a fun, engaging way. (Sharpies and colored pencils spell F-U-N in my book!)

    And, no, marketing hasn't *completely* changed. (For example, people will always like honesty, transparency, simplicity, etc.) But to say marketing hasn't completely changed does not mean marketing has only slightly changed. It has changed a great deal. I could list those changes, but the slide show up in the post mentions them already.

    Thanks for such a lively conversation, everyone.

  • by Michael A Goodman Thu Aug 30, 2012 via blog

    Back in the '60s Marketing was considered the art and science of (1) understanding the consumer and customer at a deep level -- needs, values, habits, practices, attitudes, awareness, beliefs, motivators, etc. -- (2) ensuring that the brand/offering met consumers' needs, (3) communicating the brand positioning and benefit promise in a relevant way, and (4) making sure the brand/product offering was available to the consumer when/where s/he wanted it, at a price s/he would be willing to pay. The goal, of course, was to maximize long-term profitability for the company.

    So what's different today?

  • by Reggie Dover Sun Sep 2, 2012 via blog

    As a huge fan of "Mad Men", it is fascinating to watch the way folks in the business used to run things. While communication methods have obviously changed, our goal has always been the same. Part of me is very nostalgic for the days of such limited media. The narrowed output allowed for a much stronger end result. I find that many of us are spread so thin trying to grasp hold of every single medium available that we are losing the effectiveness that was so apparent in the 60s.

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