One other thing that came out of the Conference Board meeting is the need for a common nomenclature when referring to marketing related activities within companies. The problem is especially a big one in large companies that grew through acquisitions. When you have employees in different divisions that use the same terms to mean different things – that is a recipe for disaster.
One of the most interesting ways to cope with that problem came from MetLife, which has a program in place for every person from the Chairman on down to go to a one week executive education program on marketing strategy at a major university in Massachusetts (it sounded like the Strategic Marketing program at the Harvard Business School – which is a great program). By doing so, everyone at MetLife supposedly uses the same terminology when referring to marketing activities and goals.
That made me think of the terms used during this conference vs. some other marketing conferences I attended in the past – especially West Coast conferences. The popular terms at this conference were customer needs, positioning, marketing ROI, engagement, market research, brand attributes, brand equity, segmentation, differentiation, targeting, partnering and perceived value. Very little or hardly ever did I hear discussions about conversations, attention scarcity, lack of control, social media, platform of participation, customer empowerment, customer attraction, customer assistance, affiliating, or community-based marketing.
Now I know that I am comparing apples and oranges in many cases, but the point I am trying to make is that it must be hard for marketers to have a consistent lexicon, when the marketing thought leaders keep using different terminology.