Marketing √† la Trump: no thank you !

Marketing the Trump way: no thank you !

With Donald Trump elected President of the United States, I’ve seen a number of posts and articles claiming that one of the reason for Trump’s successful election was that he run a better marketing campaign than Clinton. Even my eminent colleague John A. Quelch from Harvard Business School wrote a quick article which I do not consider to be his most excellent

I must say that I don’t agree at all with these views for the following reasons.

  1. Marketing is not about sales, it’s about customer satisfaction. At this point, the most we can say is that Trump convinced a number of citizens to cast a vote for him. This is most similar with a buying process. Not at all a “consumption” process. We will judge President Trump marketing performance when he will run for a second term. At that time, we will see if his current supporters are happy and satisfied with his policy or not.
  1. Trump did not win the highest market share. Let’s point out that Trump was not the best seller. He didn’t win the majority of voters. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2,000,000 votes. Actually, she got more market share than her competitor but she lost the election due to the Electoral College system so specific to the USA.
  1. Marketing is not about any kind of false promises to get people to buy your stuff. This sounds more like the hard selling techniques used by door to door salesmen of the past. They would confuse na√Įve people with beautiful speeches in order to load them with useless products and then disappear forever from the neighborhood. Look at Donald Trump speech style and attitude: it’s exactly that !
  1. Ethical marketing communication practice forbids to denigrate competitors. In most countries of the world, it is specified in the law or at least in the codes of ethics of the marketing and communication profession. Nowhere now can responsible marketing people lie about competitors, about product integrity or about brand promises. In the case of Trump, that’s exactly what he did all along his campaign. In the most disgusting ways.

These facts are leading me to reject the simple fact that Trump so called marketing is any good marketing.

In any case, I don’t want that kind of attitude, the Trump attitude, to even be assimilated with the marketing discipline, a discipline that some of us, professors and practicioners, want to rehabilitate in the eyes of the public. Claiming that candidate Trump and his clique were good marketers just makes me vomit. Period !

Be inspired ! trmp_skywriting-800x430.jpg




5 ideas to stay informed of global trends


Last week I addressed a group of CEO’s and entrepreneurs in a key note called “the CEO Agenda”. One of the recommendations I gave them was to always stay abreast of new trends happening in the world as new trends are the waves on which you can build strategies.

One of them questioned me: “How can I do that ? I’m overloaded by work and I’m not a specialist of trend analysis”. He’s right. If you don’t save some time for watching trends, then you implicitly decide to live in the present instead of the future. And today, the present is already the past !

So, here are 5 ideas to pick up about staying on tune.

  1. Follow trends watching websites

There are a number of these out there on the internet. and are famous ones for consumer behaviors, but you can find a number about economics, technology, industry, etc. Choose one or two of them and follow them each week. It’s better than shopping ideas around the internet with no precise goal. I also recommend to log in to TED regularly Book one hour of your time every 2 weeks and follow a TED talk. It’s brilliant.


  1. Read futurologists

John Naisbitt was one of the first futurologists who wrote books about what he called “megatrends”. You need to hunt for this litterature or find reports edited by consulting firms. See examples like…/future…/future-state-2030-v3.pdf or¬†

It’s enough to read one book each year or one report every three months about the future. It will give you a sense of the long term. It will help you detect waves on which to build your future strategies.

  1. Get interested in contemporary art

Contemporary art is a barometer of emerging trends. Postmodernism, a characteristic of today society, started as a broad movement that developed in the late-20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture… ( Choose an art that moves you (graphic art or music or else) and look for its newest expressions. Try to spot the most advanced artists, those who appear to be out of norms, and study their output. It will unsconsciously train your mind to avant-garde and make yourself more open to new ideas.


  1. Visit the most trendy cities

Future happens in some places in the world. Silicon Valley for hightech and entrepreneurship, Boston, USA fo education, Milan, Italy for fashion, Singapore for media and communication industries, London for everything ! You can also travel to Seoul, Tokyo, Paris or Frankfurt. If you don’t have the chance or budget to travel these cities, get into them on line. Look at all new things happening in New York for example ! Be persistent ! Try to become a specialist ! What’s happening there at this moment will happen soon everywhere in the world.


  1. Watch generations under you

One of the reasons I’m always in line with what’s new is that I’m always with younger people. It’s fabulous when you don’t consider new things as weird but as a subject of interest. When my children were teens, I was interested in their music. When meeting young students, I learn new words, new tools, new behaviors. So, don’t stay in your generation ghetto ! If you’re generation X, meet generation Y. If you’re generation Y, go for Z ! Toots Thielemans, a world famous jazz musician recently died at 90+ ( He was quoted to say: “Does it make any sense to always play the same music as 50 years ago ? People are not expecting that from me. My ears are turned on to the future. I’m not living in the past“.

All in all, it’s about curiosity. Trends are emerging everywhere every time in front of us. We live in the theater where the actors of future times are playing. Just have this routine to be always curious about everything new. Forget about your immediate work, people who are usually around you. Don’t work too much on details. And think !

Be inspired !

Marketing…it’s not what you think !

What is marketing ?

To this question, most people answer it’s something about famous brands and TV commercials, billboards in the street and supermarkets… More sophisitcated thinkers often relate to the 4 P’s (Product, Promotion, Price and Place) and they wrongly say that this model was brought about by a professor called Philip Kotler.

Actually, this is not a model and it was not invented by Prof. Kotler. Edmund Jerome McCarthy, an American marketing professor at Michigan State University, was the first one to mention the 4P’s in 1960 More than 50 years ago. A number of professionals still tell me they’re using the 4P’s anyway. It’s like driving an old Chevrolet ! It’s nice to remember but dangerous on today’s roads !

Marketing and the mass market economy

¬†Most people associate marketing with mass markets. They’re right. Marketing techniques were developed to sell and mass distribute products of growing industries like automobiles, soap and detergents, fast moving consumer goods like food and drinks. They associate it with global brands: Coca-Cola, Mac Donalds, Apple, Nike and the others. Some mention the obscure role of multinational companies as mass marketers, selling anything to anyone as long as they’re making profits. Yes, they’re right ! MNC’s did use, develop and improve marketing techniques over the years, leading to a world dominated by brands and mass distribution. But…

Everything comes to an end

This view of marketing is about the past. Well, maybe it’s still the present…But in no case will it be the future. All our paradigms are changing. Consumers are changing. They got the power now. They decide what to buy, when to buy and where to buy based on peer references, reviews on internet and their own smarter opinion. They choose the ads they want to see and not to see. They trust few brands but they want to entertain a fruitful relationship with them. They became much more demanding and hard to satisfy.Satisfaction. Here we are ! Here we come to the heart of contemporary marketing: satisfaction !

Satisfaction and oversatisfaction

Satisfaction of customers is not a new topic. It started to be popular 20-25 years ago with the coming of repeated economic crises and the hardening of the competitive environment. Faced with less demand and more competitors, companies had to retain customers, make them happy and loyal. This happened thanks to better products, more service, smiling selling staffs and nicer places to shop. Customers became happier and happier but the more they were spoiled, the more they started to behave like spoiled kids. More demanding, keen on details, choosy ! Impatient, sulky, agressive ! Never happy, always complaining, arrogant ! So, at the end of the day, they might have what they wanted but they were not loyal anyway. That’s how the idea came of oversatisfying them.

Delight your customers ?

If you want to make kids happy, give them an unexpected gift. Take them to the ice cream parlor when they don’t ask. Let them suddenly do what is usually forbidden. Exceptionally of course. Organize a kids’party for no special occasion. Etc. Well, if you want to delight your customers, do the same ! Easy ! Give them an unexpected discount, break the company rules for them, organize a surprize event. Go over their expectations. Always ! Underpromise and overdeliver. Care for details. Remember their names. The names of their spouse and children . The place they like to go for vacation. Give them attention ! Develop a true, trustful relationship. It will pay !

Marketing is about delivering value

Why do people stay with you ? Because they find an advantage that your competition cannot offer. It can be a functional value, a financial value, an emotional value. Google is the king of functional plus financial: an answer to all questions for free ! Apple is combining functional and emotional, but it’s expensive. Disneyland is 100% emotional. Whatever the combination, if you don’t offer a superior value, you’re dead ! Marketing today is the art of creating and delivering value. Selling is the outcome, not the goal. Selling at a healthy margin is what you’re striving for. And selling at a healthy margin for years and years mean that you are a marketing master.

Marketing is not only for money

¬†Strangely enough, marketing got out of the profit making industries to enter the non profit world. Museums, cities, hospitals, schools, NGO’s are practicing marketing today. They all need to satisfy their partners, visitors and audiences. They also want to share their vision of the world. They need to survive in the midst of hundreds of competitive alternatives. They also need loyalty. And they went digital too. When you think of all this, marketing is not so much a question of budget (new marcom tools are much cheaper to use). It’s a question of empathy, relationships and trust. It’s about setting up a creative, benevolent and open culture within organizations.

All in all, marketing today has not much to do with what most people have in mind

We, as marketing pros, should stop harassing customers and teaching young students and professionals to do so. We should promote upright and honest practices based on good faith and transparency. We should call for a triple bottom line approach This is not to feel good. it’s a question of performance, efficiency, results !

Be inspired


Did you find the green ocean ?

Blue ocean strategy is making the buzz these days. I can hear students and professionals talk about it everyday. And…as all famous models, the more people talk about it, the more the model gets distorded and looks like some kind of old patchwork.

Blue Ocean Strategy was developed by Kim and Mauborgne and first published in 2005. More than 10 years already. “They observed that companies tend to engage in head-to-head competition… Yet…it brings no real profit in today‚Äôs industries… Success comes, not from battling competitors, but from creating blue oceans of untapped new market spaces…”.

This book is one of the most inspiring book i’ve read. Clear, persuasive, disruptive. But now it’s already a classic. Marketing has moved to new paradigms. One of it is “green marketing”. Green marketing is not new but it was limited to some greenwashing for years. Nothing really fundamental. Nothing really strategic. In the meanwhile, some pioneers were managing their little green business in some hidden garage somewhere. Now, the little guys grew up and are the current winners. The little green sea became an ocean !

Some examples ?

  • Whole Foods Market, founded in Austin, Texas, in 1980 by two owners of small natural stores, now more than 400 supermarkets in America and UK. A wonderful concept, marvelously merchandised.
  • Preserve Products, a plastic manaufacturer founded in 1997 by Eric Hudson in Waltham, Massachusetts. Hudson worked with scientists and engineers to create Preserve’s first high-quality product from recycled plastics‚ÄĒa toothbrush. Since then, it has grown into a dynamic, green lifestyle company offering a range of everyday products for almost every room in the home.¬†13413701_1740078236276574_328058319174818470_n.png
  • Ecover, founded in a small cottage in a rural town in Belgium by a team of highly motivated eco-pioneers. Long before ‚Äėsustainability‚Äô and ‚Äėeco-friendly‚Äô became household names, they showed evidence that phosphates, a common ingredient used in laundry and dishwasher products,¬†were polluting water systems. They created a phosphate free washing powder, a real success that soon found its way across the globe.

So what ? What does that teach us ? Winners are those who believe in their deep values. They’re not dreamers, they’re militants. They want to share, not sell. Money is not the goal, it’s the consequence. The key to success in contemporary marketing is this: values bring value !

Be inspired !


BREXIT: a new example of VUCA


Have you heard of VUCA, one of the buzzwords in strategy today ?

VUCA is the acronym used to describe the state of our business environment.Not only business, by the way, but also political and societal.

VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity


When I started teaching strategy, back in the 80’s, the best of the best tools was the “long term strategic plan”. I’ve seen dozens of such plans: 80-100 pages of details about investments to make, market shares to gain, factories to locate and countries to conquer‚Ķ All that was based on assumptions that the world 5-10 years down the road would be more or less the same as the present. ¬†Well, we know now that change is the only status quo. Not only that: the way we compete, our customers behaviors, our political and regulatory environment are moving constantly. Business and financial investors don’t like that. That’s why Brexit generated so much volatility on finacial markets too.


Linked to volatility is the unpredictability of the framework¬†in which our decisions will be executed. Management techniques were always based on assumptions about the future and the use of planning as a major tool of management and control.But , as said above, , change is constant in this volatile world. ¬†We don’t know anything about the future. That’s why “planning, budgeting and control” methods lead to endless discussions in companies today. It just doesn’t work anymore. ¬†So, what can we do ? Strategists talked about scenario planning i.e. generating several scenarios about the future and the probability of¬†occurrence. Good ! But‚Ķit doesn’t really help much. Look at Brexit again. Everyone knew that the “leave” decision of voters had a 50% chance of occurrence but ¬†a few hours later the consequences of it were nevertheless¬†still hard to predict.


Our world is now so complex that great decision makers are those who can point¬†the key issues in an information jungle.And great executers are those who can keep focus on key actions. Everything became complex: supply chains, customers’ behaviors, big data systems, economic models, financial products,‚ĶSo the danger is overcomplexification leading to a lack of vision or oversimplification due to a misunderstanding of key issues . Brexit again is a good example. Consequences of this political factor will be economical, commercial, regulatory¬†and‚Ķemotional. Moreover, all consequences will link together making the whole a kind of never seen patchwork.


I believe that one of the main challenges of our times is to accommodate paradoxes. For centuries, mankind was characterized by simple problems that could be dealt with simple solutions. The complexity of today, as mentioned here above, is leading to a gigantic confusion. As most people still reason in terms of dichotomy (good or bad, right or wrong , desirable or not desirable, ‚Ķ) we end up with never ending debates leading to no solution. Today, we must think differently. We should accommodate the extremes. We cannot escape solutions that are wright and wrong, baring consequences that may be good and bad,¬†being finally desirable and undesirable at the same time. This how we should see Brexit. Whatever the vote, there was no “good” solution for all. Now that the vote is done, we will need to manage and negotiate the outcomes intelligently.

To conclude, Brexit is a good example of VUCA. But VUCA is everywhere now. We live and we manage in a global interlinked societal, political and economical environment. What is happening somewhere on the globe bears consequences everywhere else. Let’s be attentive and understand this complexity the best we can.

Be inspired !


Story telling. Why you need a strategy behind it !

TwoNotesonStorytelling-Header.jpgStory telling has been making the¬†buzz these last years. It seems to be the panacea to all communication problems. “With a good story, people will remember you” said an ad man to me recently. ¬†Yes, it’s true that people like stories and tend to remember¬†better what they like. The problem is‚Ķ.everyone is telling stories nowadays ! And, as always, once a new marketing tool is used by everybody, it’s not distinctive anymore.

Story telling is not as easy as most marketing people think. When you hear stories anytime anywhere, it becomes a “me too” tool and using “me too” tools is¬†the worst a marketing person¬†can do. If you add the fact that stories are written as quickly as the net information flow is going, 99% of them are¬†totally uninteresting dull stories¬†! Most of them have no real sense at all. I mean: strategic sense !

Stories, as content marketing in general, should not be run without thinking about it‚Äôs purpose. Otherwise, it‚Äôs just pure amusement for some geeks ! A sense of purpose is the starting point of any strategy. Vision if you wish ! Is your story an essential ingredient of your strategic differentiation ? By the way, did you think about your strategic differentiation at all ? Did you¬†define your target segment, your positioning idea, your value proposition ? Take a moment and think of this…

  • A great story is a story that means something for your audience

So, who is your audience ? Good marketing starts with knowing who you’re targeting at. Targeting is the first key decision and, strangely enough, few marketing pros are clear about it. I constantly see classical segmentations meaning nothing serious today (demographics or socio-economics). Or funny stereotypes that lead to nothing serious. Besides marketing analytics that are good for tactical move, you as storytellers should have a clear sense of their strategic audience. Talk with them, understand their words, preempt their sensibilities. Then ¬†you will be able to find the words and the scenarios that are touching the heart and mean something to them, not only to you !

  • A strong idea makes strong stories

The reason why most stories are lost in the marcom ¬†jungle is that they rely on trivial ideas. Platitude is common. People hear or read stories that seem nice but don’t get embedded in their mind. They read, hear, see and forget ! They say: “Oh yes, i heard this or that yesterday but I don’t remember the brand‚Ķ” This is not what you want. We know that a strong image should be based on a strong positioning idea. Use the S.P.I.C.E technique. S.P.I.C.E is a model I developed a few years ago to understand how you can better position a brand. S.P.I.C.E stands for¬†Sexy,¬†Personality,¬†Intelligence,¬†Customer orientation¬†¬†and¬†Emotions.¬†If you’re strong on all these points and if you can blend them into a distinctive concept, the chance is you can build a strong, great, distinctive story around it !

  • People like stories that never end

The best example are¬†the TV series. Once you have a strong concept, you build scenarios that induce the next ¬†ones. Each episode is a story but they call for another one you want to ¬†see. That’s how, at the end, you make characters stronger and the title means something. Something you’re waiting for. It may even becomes a myth.Look at long term successful mythical brands. Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, McDonalds‚ĶYou may love them or hate them but they all have a story, actually they “are” a story ! It seems that Americans are better at stories than Europeans and Asians. That’s why they have created Hollywood. Japanese brands are great brands but they don’t make us dream. Who’s dreaming of¬†Sony or Toyota ? There is no story there.¬†For us anyway‚Ķ

  • Emotions come over facts

A number of professionals think that emotions should not have a place in strategy. Strategy is based on facts, they say ! Customers should buy our products because they’re the best, they say ! Customers should love us because we have the best service, they say ! Forget about this ! We’re now in a post-modern world where emotions are more import ants than facts ! Like it or not, it’s like this ! So, we’re in a fight for emotions. That’s what media journalists are so good at. I don’t like that, I feel it terrible but that’s how it is in these days. That’s why to have a superior story, you should include emotional triggers in your positioning idea and your value proposition. The value proposition used to be “a product for a price”, then it became “product + service for a price”, then “product & service + image for a price”, now it’s “product & service & image + experience for a price or no price”. Have a unique or at least solid experience proposition and your story will come out distinctive.

In conclusion, as with any marcom tool, story telling is a good tool if and only your strategy is strong; solid and distinctive. There is no right tool without a clear purpose ! There is no impact without the right strategic orientation.

Don’t just be a “me too”, be different !

Be inspired !


Five consumer trends to watch if you want to find successful niches

I’ve been reading an interesting article published by Euromonitor International called Emerging Markets during Crisis: Business Strategy in Times of Uncertainty and recently written by senior research analyst Fernando CRUZ (

Although I was not surprised by his research findings, my own experience leads me to think that these trends are really global. You can observe them both in emerging markets and mature markets and they are so strong that they guide consumers’ behaviors not only in periods of instability but also at any time these days.

The five trends spotted by Cruz are:

1. Convenience

Cruz is observing that “‚Ķurban life is demanding and frequently involves long travel times between home and work‚Ķ.”. This is only one of the reasons why people always ask for more convenience. The need for convenience is not new. Actually, most inventions came from human beings’s willingness to make life easier. This need is to source in the primary times of humanity. But what is interesting today is that while trying to make life simpler and more convenient, we actually made it more complicated ! The more we invent new solutions to problems, the more we seem to create new¬†problems coming out of complexity. Pressure on life organization in big metropolitan areas is just enormous and hard to manage. It’s not only about commuting, it’s about meals, kids, parents, job, personal life,‚Ķ My wife regularly tells me: “We should talk organization today” ! And I tend to say: “yes darling, later please” and I’m dreaming of having a robot taking care of all this for me and the family ūüôā¬† So, all new solutions to these organizational problems will be welcome. There is a never ending source of opportunities here that marketers should grasp. The trick is to be the first one or¬† the most efficient or the cheapest. Choose your formula !

2. Indulgence

Cruz defines an indulgent purchase as “acquiring something to be enjoyed as a special pleasure but that is normally understood as wrong or unhealthy“.¬† Junk food and sugar-sweet products but also alcohol and tobacco or any relaxing drugs are of course unhealthy but we see an emerging trend of “healthy indulgence” definitely coming out these days. More convenience may help you manage life problems but it doesn’t bring happiness. And happiness is a key value in our post-modern times. We need to feel good for ourselves. The “slow food” movement, originated in Italy a few years ago is a nice refuge value for some of us. Food is always re-comforting, it brings the ones we love together, it’s a way to relax. Some will pair this with wine tasting, some others will develop their talents as cooks. There is a huge market there ! But all activities linked to “a better self” like sport, yoga, meditation, nature hiking,‚Ķ are multiplying. Everyday, new ideas are emerging leading to micro markets. Be creative, there are opportunities for years in this area !

3. Transparency

In his research report, Cruz gives the example of how people choose their tourism products: “Driven by the advantages of the online channel, sales of tourism products via the internet have grown rapidly in recent years, as this channel provides information, transparency and comparability”. For sure this is not limited to tourism. We look for transparency when preparing a buying decision but we also want transparency on how brands and suppliers are managing their supply chains. What materials went into the products we buy ? Were they manufactured in ethical social conditions ? Do they respect the environment ? And I could post here an infinite number of information that customers and citizens want to know. A number of companies don’t know how to answer this particular need but some innovative guys in the Silicon valley launched startups¬†who detail their cost and margin calculations to anyone. Wow ! What a change in culture. My fellow marketers, don’t be afraid of transparency: go for it and fit the need !

4. Nostalgia

It was so good in the past ! Life was easier, we didn’t have so many problems, we were so happy, bla bla bla‚Ķ We forget our parents’ hard times and if we would travel back in the past, 30-40 years ago, we would come back as quickly as we went ! Actually, we want to keep the best of these fantasized times. Some products we were already using as kids, some brands our mothers already used, some “feel good” images of the past‚Ķ I supervised my first final thesis about “nostalgia marketing” about 10 years ago. It was very new. Now, it’s very trendy ! Want an internet radio with a design of the 1950’s¬†? A vinyl record that you can digitalize on a smart record player ? Dress like Humphrey Bogaert ? Everything is possible. The trick is to combine heritage with technology or fashion. Look at Burberry or ¬†The Mini Cooper. You get the best of both world. Dare to be old. Team with a baby boomer to know how life was in the 60’s, then imagine new “old products” or relaunch forgotten brands !

5. Status

Being a very old human need, status always evolved as do cultures and societies.¬† Cruz again recalls the evidence that “status triggers a set of emotions, such as pride, satisfaction or superiority. Frequently, consumers buy objects to reflect these emotions and communicate them to other people“. We need to please, to be appreciated, to feel recognized as valuable by people around us and, if we can’t make it to the top, we need to compensate. Brands, fashion and product design, also customer care are some marketing tools helping us to feel important. And what is most interesting today is the link with a strange paradox. We want to be perceived as “different” but we continue to copy others.¬†¬†There is a huge opportunity here for those marketers and entrepreneurs who can reconcile both of these needs of their target markets. Customization, one to one marketing, micro-niches are the answer. For example, in a number of emerging markets, “buying foreign brands” is a status symbol. But consumers who do that don’t feel so unique. So, it you offer a unique creative foreign brand only available in limited volume, you double the status effect ! Think of it !

Finding niche markets is not a problem if you watch smartly how trends evolve. All behaviors we observe tend to show us the way. Be immersed in the society. Look, hear and smell markets !

Be inspired !

And…thanks to Fernando CRUZ for leading me to reflect about all this !



I’m not a fan of models but this one is great !

I’m not a fan of models ! Models are generally used to better conceptualize managers’ thinking but the fact is most people use models to oversimplify complex phenomenons.

However, there is one that I find most inspiring: the Brand Key Model set up by Unilever. To know more about it , have a look at an excellent website recently done by a group of my MBA students (Solvay Brussels School, Saigon):


The 5 sides of the new marketing pentagon

Classical marketing is like classical music: it can be beautiful but nobody‚Äės listening to it…

Classical marketing, based on demand analysis and customer understanding, has been driving the industry for years but ‚Ķ.most recent market hits come from market creation and radically new ways to imagine supply chains. Look at AirBnB, √úber¬†and, before that, Apple, Google, Facebook and the like. We know that. it’s no surprise to us.

What is more tricky is how we should play with new rules of the games to adapt to this ever changing business environment. Today, we should not only understand customers, we should play the marketing game with them. Consumers and business customers changed dramatically.They don‚Äôt want to be ¬ę¬†just only satisfied¬†¬Ľ, they want to be excited ! Well, let’s excite them !

We don’t need marketing managers anymore ! We need Game Changers who permanently generate ideas, who exercise¬†critical thinking and like to be constantly challenged by¬†others‚Äô viewpoints, especially customers’ viewpoints. ¬†They should care for societal concerns more than anyone in their businesses. Of course, they should be digital masters but be creative enough to stand out of the online crowd. In brief, they should move, try, do…differently

So, my dear readers, if you still believe in the 4p’s model dating from the 1950’s, you better consider the world today is different from the 50’s !

If you want to check the state of your marketing function today is to look at the 5 sides of a pentagon. Five equal sides surrounding the marketing show. Coz marketing is like show business ! It should be perfect, coherent and stunning ! It can’t be mediocre. It should be WOW !

  1. Are you digital enough ? Don’t consider digital as a by product, just a needed activity. Be digital in strategy, be digital in mar com, be digital in distribution, be digital in service, be digital in customer relationship. Being digital does’t mean to be non-human ! Amazon has been rated number 1 in the¬†National¬†Retail¬†Federation¬†Customers‚Äô Choice Awards‚Ķnominated through an unaided, write-in question by consumers.
  2. Are you social ? There are several meanings to this word. The one I mean is the equivalent of “societal”. Does your marketing bring a societal benefit ? Does it make people life better ? I’m not talking about just doing some charity to feel “good citizen”. I mean: do your products, services or ideas bring a social value ? Do you have the ambition to go beyond customers expectations and think about more than money ¬†? The good thing is: societal marketing also brings more money. Today, it’s a competitive advantage that customers value !
  3. Are you sustainable ? Marketing has helped destroyed a number of earth resources. We must be aware of that. Now we should repair. The marketing community should now be a driving force, in each company and in the society, to generate a safe, clean and healthy environment. Being green is an evidence but sustainability is more. It means caring for the long term. Preserving consumers health. Promoting sustainable behaviors. Again, being pro-active in that field will bring you a definite advantage over competition.
  4. Are you creative ? Really creative ? Creativity is not just about finding a good ad agency. it’s about being different at every step of the marketing process. Strategy, segmentation, business modeling , product development, pricing, distribution,‚Ķeverything in marketing cane creative. But unfortunately, most businesses desperately offer ¬†“me too” solutions. Being creative is like sport or music: you should know the techniques and exercise every day !
  5. ¬†Are you “experiential“? People remind what they do, not what they hear and see. Each of us is getting around 5,000 marketing messages each day ! How many do you keep in mind ? Experiential marketing is a new discipline that should now be considered as strategic.¬†Experiential Marketing is about building emotional connections with customers leading them to a desire to repeat the experience they went through¬†and to become ¬ę¬†brand advocates¬†¬Ľ¬†It’s a way to create emotional value and it’s now a must in our emotional world !

It’s time to check your marketing function and see if you’re 100% at the top in these 5 fields. If not, call me !


Customer journey: the most useful recent marketing analysis tool

Some of my Vietnamese MBA students are really good ! Here is a neat report  on Customer Journey Analysis for you to read :

Thanks to

  • Vu Nguyen Anh (
  • Nguyen Thi Phi Oanh (
  • Tran Nguyen Kim Ngan (

Be inspired !