Ritson: Marketers Are Obsessed With “Shit That Doesn’t Matter” & Briefs Have Become “Pointless & Embarrassing”

Ritson: Marketers Are Obsessed With “Shit That Doesn’t Matter” & Briefs Have Become “Pointless & Embarrassing”
SHARE
THIS



Professor Mark Ritson has used an industry debate in Sydney to slam Aussie marketers for forgoing the discipline’s basics for a “love of shit that does not matter” (see the current obsession with the likes of VR and AI).

Ritson, an adjunct professor at Melbourne Business School and general industry rabble-rouser, told the audience at the ad:tech conference on Friday that the IT department had encroached too far onto marketing’s patch, leaving everyone confused.

He added that this had meant agencies were now receiving briefs that were “pointless, empty and embarrassing” as brands abandoned strategy to chase the next new, shiny, techy thing.

The goodly professor – who represented the affirmative side – went head-to-head with US marketing guru, Brad Berens, in a debate titled, “Technology is merely a distraction to true marketing strategy.”

A debate, for the record, Ritson was convincingly voted the winner by ad:tech attendees.

The problem, Ritson believed, was that too many marketers had forgotten the basic pillars of their craft. Stuff like: Who are you targeting? What’s the message? And what are your tactics?

And herein lies the problem. “Too many people in marketing mistake tactics for strategy,” Ritson told the ad:tech crowd.

“The problem is too many people working in tech think they’re working in marketing strategy,” Ritson declared. “Sure, they’ve got super important roles to play, but strategic it is not.

“As I wander in and out of the boardrooms of Australia and I meet the senior marketers that populate this country I’m filled with deep and enduring pain. There is, with a few notable exceptions, no fucking noticeable strategy to be seen.

“In the boardrooms of Australia, our chief marketing officers and brand managers have mistaken tactics for strategy.

“They have no idea who their targets are, they have no clear positioning and they have no objectives, but what they do have is a love for shit that does not matter; also known as techno-porn! You know of what I speak –  Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, Bitcoin and robotics. Interesting little jingly toys that have nothing to do with marketing and strategy at all.

“And the reason they are a distraction is because they get in the way. And I keep meeting marketers who don’t have a strategy but have a real passion for Instagram and want to strap their customers to a VR headset without any apparent information as to why.

“Why VR has anything to do with yoghurt is beyond me,” Ritson said, to roars from the crowd.

To prove the point, Riston declared that marketing was in “serious decline” when it came to every effective measure of effectiveness and ROI.

“Despite all the dreams of hyper-targeting and personal one-to-one marketing and the bullshit that gets talked, every effective measure shows you since 2012 the effectiveness for every dollar spent on marketing in most developed markets is in decline.

“And it’s in decline because we’ve mixed up strategy for tactics and tactics for strategy. And that’s because technology has become a distraction to marketing strategy,” he said.

Lastly, he said the problem was playing out for agencies who were being handed “embarrassing” briefs by clients bereft of any strategy whatsoever.

“They just want Instagram and Bitcoin and whatever they’ve heard recently on the street, right? It’s not good enough and it is endemic of the distracting qualities.”

“You can’t enable the nonsense surrounding digital to pervade your thinking,” Ritson believed.

“Digital marketing is a ridiculous term. And the proof is, just invert it, all these digital marketers… where are the traditional marketers? Smoking pipes upstairs watching 1950s TV? Have you not noticed that everything is digital? Have you not noticed outside that 64 per cent of all media is now digital or LECD screen? Fifty per cent of Australians now listen to radio digitally. There is no analogue TV anymore. There is no such thing as digital, it’s just marketing,” he said.

Please login with linkedin to comment

adtech mark ritson

Latest News

Crater Teams Up With Director Luna Laure For ‘Harry’s Story’, Canteen’s Newest Campaign
  • Campaigns

Crater Teams Up With Director Luna Laure For ‘Harry’s Story’, Canteen’s Newest Campaign

Canteen’s latest campaign features the combined talents of Director Luna Laure and creative agency Crater. The campaign strives to raise awareness for young people affected by cancer. The awareness campaign centres around Harry Barentson, who at 12 years of age found out his pregnant mum had cancer. While his mother fortunately survived, he lost his […]

AFL Legend Kevin Sheedy Narrates ‘A Love Letter To Victoria’ Via Enthral Partners
  • Campaigns

AFL Legend Kevin Sheedy Narrates ‘A Love Letter To Victoria’ Via Enthral Partners

In partnership with storytelling agency Enthral, AFL star Kevin Sheedy has voiced a video ‘Love Letter to Victoria’ using visuals to showcase the state’s natural beauty and culture. Victoria has been hit with the worst of the coronavirus pandemic compared with any other Aussie state experiencing four lockdowns. Sheedy has partnered with Ethral to share […]

Telstra’s Belong Appoints Howatson + White For Strategy & Creative, Retains OMD For Media
  • Advertising

Telstra’s Belong Appoints Howatson + White For Strategy & Creative, Retains OMD For Media

Telstra’s lower-cost telco, Belong, has awarded its strategy and creative account to Howatson + White, and has reappointed OMD to its media buying account, after a competitive pitch process. Howatson + White will handle strategy, planning, creative and CRM, while former agency Clemenger will continue to have a relationship with Belong, managing PR and retail activation. […]

Coke Releases New Campaign, ‘Turn Up Your Break’, Via Ogilvy
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Coke Releases New Campaign, ‘Turn Up Your Break’, Via Ogilvy

Coca-Cola Australia has rolled out its new campaign ‘Turn Up Your Break’. The campaign will be led by a TVC that encourages people to truly pause with a Coke on their break so they can walk away feeling refreshed and uplifted. The TVC features two busy chefs stepping outside for a break, the bustling kitchen […]

Nova 91.9’s Ben And Liam Locked Up In Rundle Mall To Raise Awareness For Mental Health
  • Marketing
  • Media

Nova 91.9’s Ben And Liam Locked Up In Rundle Mall To Raise Awareness For Mental Health

Nova 919’s Ben & Liam breakfast show announced that they’ll be throwing their support behind and raising awareness for a cause very close to their hearts, mental health. On Monday 21 June Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton will be locked in a purpose-built glass structure, in the middle of Rundle Mall, for an entire week […]

iHeartPodcast Network Australia And The New York Times Agree Podcast Ad Sales Deal
  • Advertising
  • Media

iHeartPodcast Network Australia And The New York Times Agree Podcast Ad Sales Deal

ARN and The New York Times have reached an agreement for ARN to become the advertising sales representative for The New York Times’s podcast portfolio in Australia. The deal will enable Australian brands to connect with Australian listeners to The New York Times’s most popular podcasts, such as The Daily, Serial and This American Life, […]

Verizon Media Academy Ends For 2021 With Youth Charity Pitch-Off
  • Advertising
  • Media

Verizon Media Academy Ends For 2021 With Youth Charity Pitch-Off

Verizon Media’s talent program has come to an end for the third year, closing with a hybrid pitch-off event for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD). The Verizon Media Academy class of 2021, made up of 44 emerging leaders from across Australia and New Zealand media, advertising and marketing industry, were given just one hour to […]