How marketing has lost the plot

Hugh Davidson
The Marketing Society

I started in marketing 50 years ago, joining Procter & Gamble in 1959, the year The Marketing Society was founded. When I finished writing Offensive Marketing1 a bit later, I saw the book as a challenge for marketers to raise their game to Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson level.

It is a challenge that, 50 years later, most marketers have failed to meet. The gap between the best and the rest has narrowed, but remains wide. A few, like Wal-Mart, FedEx, PepsiCo, Toyota and Tesco, have joined the best, but the number remains disappointingly small.

Ted Levitt's statement remains true: 'When it comes to the marketing concept today, a solid stone wall seems to separate word and deed. In spite of the best intentions and energetic efforts of many ... the effective implementation of the marketing concept has generally eluded them.'2