Jazz, Gestalt, and the Year Ahead for Marketers

Josh Gilbert
Weber Shandwick

Marketers Are Getting their groove back. But if the year ahead heralds the “return of marketing,” it certainly won't be marketing as we know it.

For one thing, marketers must get in step with a “new brand” beat. It's a rhythm that has less to do with today's techno-pop, as one-size-fits-all as mass marketing was in its heyday, and has more in common with a far more innovative, individualistic, and original art form. That's right, Daddy-O: jazz.

When it comes to the art of the sell today, mass is out, custom is in, improvisation is imperative, and bona fide beats bogus. In other words, marketers are thinking jazz.

It's a shift that's well under way, according to a recent survey of 346 CMOs, VPs of marketing, and brand managers: 58 percent say they are spending more time than a year ago seeking advertising alternatives, including building buzz and word of mouth, and targeting influentials. A major reason is economics. Increasingly prohibitive media costs are driving mass media out of the price range of all but the deepest-pocketed players.