In this regard, the pessimists amongst us might be inclined to conclude that today's retromarketing mindset is indicative of inertia, intellectual bankruptcy and the waning of creativity. This argument will be elaborated as the present exercise unfolds, but for the meantime it is sufficient to refer, in suitably retro research fashion, to Karl Marx's Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.
The latter remark, however, is followed by the hirsute one's claim that:.
The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things, in creating something entirely new, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle slogans and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time honoured disguise and this borrowed language.
Thus Luther donned the mask of Apostle Paul, the Revolution of to draped itself alternately as the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and the Revolution of knew nothing better than to parody, in turn, and the revolutionary tradition of to In like manner, the beginner who has learnt a new language always translates it back into his mother tongue.
This book, in a nutshell, is about the mother tongue of marketing. It is predicated on the simple premise that the future of marketing lies in its past. It contends that just as today's retromarketing practitioners are looking over their shoulders for inspiration, so too students, consultants and academics should seek to do likewise.
It maintains that marketing's history contains practices, precepts and pointers that can help us plot a new, twenty-first-century course for our field. Lest there is any misunderstanding, however, it must be stressed that this book is not a how-to-do-it manual for prospective retromarketers, although historically minded managers might find some of it of interest.
Nor does it claim to be encyclopaedic, though the text contains copious examples of [Page ix] retromarketing practices, principles, postulates and pursuits. In keeping, rather, with its resolutely retro ethos, the present book consists of a root, a rummage, a riffle who said ransack? It relies upon retro-research procedures of the pre-scientific era; principally, aphorism, anecdote, aside and autobiography, all wrapped up in extended essay format. It is predominantly Anglo-American in emphasis, partly on account of my personal peregrinations in recent years, but mainly because of the basic, if curiously overlooked, fact that marketing is quintessentially American.
It tries to appeal to general readers, while providing nourishment for postmodern theorists in the notes and marketing students pedagogic appendix alike. It engages with most of the topics contained in mainstream marketing textbooks — concept, strategy, mix, etc. It aims to antagonize and entertain in equal measure.
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The intense irritation and occasional outrage you'll feel are deliberately induced. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it until such times as I can think of a better one. The future, as we shall see, is history and, if nothing else, retromarketing reminds us of Marshall McLuhan's mid-sixties truism, that it is sometimes necessary to look back in order to see ahead.
The word was coined by medieval furriers to describe the process of turning over and examining the underside of a pelt, prior to purchase. This book examines the [Page x] underside of modern marketing's moth-eaten hide and discovers that we have been preoccupied with the wrong side, the back side, the reverse side for fortysomething years.
It is time, I firmly believe, to turn the pelt again, to shake marketing's magnificent mane and take pride in our brightly coloured covering. However, as I look back on writing a book about looking back — the book that lies ahead of you — I appreciate that it couldn't have been composed without extensive back-up and unstinting encouragement. Rosemary Nixon of Sage supported this venture at every stage, as did her esteemed colleague Kiren Shoman. Thank you both. I'm also deeply indebted to Hope Schau Temple University, Philadelphia and Anthony Patterson University of Ulster who helped gather some of the retro raw material contained herein, though the innumerable stylistic infelicities are my own, my very own.
Once again, Sharon Malcolm prepared the excellent diagrams, for which I am very grateful. Last but not least, I appreciate the im patience and mis understanding I've received from my wife, Linda, and daughters, Madison, Holly and Sophie, who suffered while I struggled to write in an academic yet accessible style. Maybe next time.
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Tell me, how do you teach that stuff? Now, I wouldn't for a moment claim to be more in touch with today's students than the scientifically minded marketing majority. If, moreover, contemporary marketing is characterized by a retrospective orientation, as the present book has sought to show, then the new-and-improved, onward-and-upward ethos that dominates traditional Kotlerite textbooks is completely out of kilter with twenty-first-century commercial practice.
As Marketing — The Retro Revolution has been written for a general audience — titter ye not! Instead of resorting to a carefully chosen collation of case studies their narratological appeal notwithstanding , I'd like to reflect on the preceding eleven chapters, plus preface. Not only is this more in keeping with postmodern reflexivity, but it also gives me a chance to address some of the issues deliberately omitted from the foregoing essay.
The hope, therefore, is that my reflexive ruminations might provide the starting point for class or seminar discussion. In this regard, please bear in mind that Marketing — The Retro Revolution is a fairly broad-brush treatment. I'm well aware that the topics I raise are more nuanced than the present volume pretends. I appreciate, furthermore, that there's a world of difference between the modern marketing paradigm, as it is ordinarily portrayed in BFBAMs, and how marketers behave on a day-to-day basis.
APIC, [Page ] nonetheless, is presented as the marketing ideal, the way marketing should be, the condition that marketing practice must aspire to. The aim of this book is to challenge the Kotlerite ideal and to posit an equally idealized replacement. To begin at the beginning, I suspect that the preface will have offended quite a few readers.
The majority of these will doubtless be affronted by the thought of my air guitar antics albeit the double-necked tennis racket was my actual adolescent axe of choice. But for those who persevered, the key academic issue is Americanization. My contention that marketing is quintessentially American is sure to be contested. We are regularly informed, are we not, that all sorts of marketing practices went on prior to the emergence of modern marketing in the Eisenhower era.
Josiah Wedgwood, the medieval guilds, the ancient Greeks, neolithic flint-knappers and the lapis lazuli tradespersons of pre-cuneiformed Mesopotamia, have all been plausibly posited as proto-marketing pioneers. Modern marketing, moreover, is not exclusively North American, as the Relationship Marketing paradigm Scandinavia , the Postmodern Marketing paradigm France , and several other nationally inflected variants remind us British pragmatics, Irish poetics, German isolationism, Japanese indifference, etc.
Indeed, it can be convincingly contended that each and every organization possesses its own idiosyncratic marketing modality or, if one really wants to take it to the limit, that every individual commercial decision comprises a unique instantiation of marketing mores. I'm not disputing either of these temporal premodern marketing or spatial different Ps for different places arguments.
At the same time, however, I think there is something special about the Barnumesque marketing that emerged in the late nineteenth century and the customer-orientated paradigm that erupted in the post-war epoch. I suspect that most non-marketing people associate marketing with the United States of America.
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Yes, marketing has become universalized, in much the same way as the movie industry is now Hollywoodized, fast food is McDonaldized, theme parks and heritage centres are Disneyfied and the soft drinks business is Coca-Colonized. Such is its omnipresence, that we even project it backwards in time in order to convince ourselves that marketing has always been with us and thus represents some kind of innate human trait. Personally, I very much doubt that Josiah Wedgwood considered himself a marketing man — the concept simply didn't exist — let alone our friendly neighbourhood flint-knapping Neanderthal.
Indeed, even when allowances are made for academic anachronism and twenty-first-century ubiquity, I would submit that marketing still retains a distinctively American cast. Can American marketing imperialism be stopped? Should it be stopped? What's the most effective way of stopping it? Why hasn't it been stopped before now? Chapter 1 is an attempted tour d'horizon of retromarketing. It identifies three different types of retro, seeks to account for the recent retro outbreak and suggests that a retro stance can be taken on marketing theory and thought.
Each of these assertions is debatable in itself are there any other forms of retro? But the issue that I want to focus on is definitional. In Chapter 1 , I avoid giving a definition of retromarketing, arguing that it is pointless.
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Where, for example, does retro begin? The seventies, the sixties, the nineteenth century, the day before yesterday? How many parts of the marketing mix — assuming it is possible to agree on the make-up of the mix — must be included before the retro designation is officially bestowed on a product or service? Does a completely new product with ye-olde advertising count? What about ye-olde services with a contemporary promotional twist? That said, I suspect most people see retro in decadal terms — the seventies, the fifties, the twenties, etc.
What's more, they too come complete with definitional imponderables. Are we ready for a nineties comeback, for yet another round of retro?
Discussion Questions. What is the function of marketing definitions? As none has ever been agreed upon, except on a short-term basis, why do we continue to pursue the definitional chimera? Is it purely a pragmatic matter or, as Foucault would have us believe, are there important political dimensions to inclusion and exclusion? Discuss the suggestion that there have been so many seventies revivals since the seventies that they have lasted longer than the original decade.