Charlotte Rogers wrote an article for MarketingWeek titled Rory Sutherland: Marketers should see capitalism as a ‘discovery mechanism’

The article is about Rory Sutherland’s speech at the Festival of Marketing: Fast Forward, June 8, 2021. Sutherland is Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK and he is author of Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life.

« “My argument is that marketing fundamentally isn’t an efficiency maximisation game and shouldn’t be allowed to become one,” said Sutherland. »

« “I know you’re all having tech stacks imposed on you by the rest of the organisation, because they believe marketing should be effectively a cost reduction and efficiency optimisation game. It isn’t and it never should be. It’s an opportunity maximisation game. The whole purpose of marketing is to maximise possible opportunity.” »

« The framing of marketing as a source of efficiency optimization… is causing marketers to become trapped in an “incremental world” where there are no significant gains to be made or growth to be had. »

« “We’re also fragilising ourselves, because the point is that great targeting identifies customers, great creative actually makes them. The value of creating a customer is inordinately higher than the value of identifying a customer, but the distinction is completely lost in most of these metrics we’re currently using and it’s nuts,” he added. »

« Instead, Sutherland favours a both and mentality of short-term and long-term thinking shared by Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson, which regards the top and bottom of the funnel as being “multiplicative”. He argued that marketers should start by optimising the bottom of the funnel and getting the conversion right, but then go up and start creating customers. »

« This obsession with optimisation could, he argued, be killing creativity on a mass scale… In fact, the shift to digital marketing, which allows brands to fail fast and kill ideas quickly, should have led to marketing becoming “wildly more experimental creatively”, but Sutherland believes this promise has not materialised. »

« “I genuinely believe behavioural science, combined with creativity, has a magical power to invest marketing with a real process of efficient discovery.” »

« It is, however, difficult to quantify the impact of lost opportunity and compromised resilience that comes with classifying marketing as short-term efficiency, cost-cutting game, Sutherland added… “It’s what Nassim Taleb would say ‘They’ve got no skin in the game. They can claim the credit for any cost savings they make, but they never have to take the blame for the consequences of those cost savings.”»

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