Mark Ritson wrote an article for Marketing Week titled “Bothism” is the cure for marketers’ fascination with pointless conflict.  He also gave the 2020 Ogilvy Lecture for the Marketing Society, Marketing Bothism — see YouTube video below.

« The realisation that two counter-arguments in marketing are not only both correct but also more powerful considered… I’d been pondering this idea… after reading a splendid Tom Roach essay, ‘The Wrong and the Short of It’. Roach’s central argument is that we have held Field and Binet up as the defenders of long-term brand building when, in fact, their work is as much about doing the short as it is about the long. Roach goes on to argue that “the organisational silos we inhabit, the different job titles we have, the different channels and formats we tend to use and the different metrics we try to optimise” all get in the way of being truly able to take both a long and short approach to marketing. »

« Jim Collins… wrote Built to Last…  Collins notes at the start of his book that a key aspect of these companies is that they do not oppress themselves with the ‘tyranny of the or’, which he defines as “the rational view that cannot easily accept paradox, that cannot live with two seemingly contradictory forces or ideas at the same time”. This view pushes people “to believe that things must be either A or B, but not both” »

« That insight inspired me to define Marketing Bothism as “the rare capacity to not only see the value of both sides of the marketing story, but actively consider and then co-opt them into any subsequent marketing endeavour in an appropriate mix”.   »

This reminds me of what Rory Sutherland says in Alchemy, “The opposite of a good idea can be a good idea.”

« There is TOFU and BOFU (top of funnel and bottom of funnel) »

« We’ve had the decade-long custard-pie fight over ‘digital’ versus ‘traditional’ forms of communication. »

« There is the continued debate about targeting too… The power of a two-speed brand plan is partly to be found in the realisation that, when you are building long-term brand campaigns, it does indeed pay to go for mass marketing and aim at everyone in the category. But, once we get to the bottom of the funnel and performance marketing, you really do want to shift to targeted, product-based campaigns instead. »

« And how about the ongoing tension between differentiation and distinctiveness? …  Ehrenberg-Bass [depict] differentiation as wildly overstated and distinctiveness as the ultimate goal for brands… Kantar have been politely proving the combination of salience and meaningful difference is greater than the sum of those two parts for years… A marketing Bothist would immediately seize on this data and aim to achieve both differentiation (in a realistic, relative way) and distinctiveness. »

Mark Ritson’s 2020 Ogilvy Lecture for the Marketing Society, Marketing Bothism starts at 27:30, following Rory Sutherland. Then Q&A with both speakers at 1:33:00.


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