01.24.05-1 DOES MARKETING REALLY NEED A NEW LANGUAGE?

Hamish Pringle and Peter Fisk are advocating a new language for marketing (Hamish is the Director General of the UK-based Institute of Practitioners in Advertising). Messrs. Pringle and Fisk along with many of our marketing brethren feel that a new language is needed for marketers to communicate to non-marketing audiences. I applaud their effort. Any effort that leads to better communications between marketing and the enterprise is welcomed.

A new web site has been established by Pringle and Fisk to advance their thinking which they have titled Customer Capital. Their notion is that customer awareness, customer preference, customer affinity, customer numbers, customer yield and customer retention should be used to determine Customer Capital. The purpose of Customer Capital according to Pringle and Fisk is to create a simpler, more consistent, more acceptable language by which marketing can articulate the value it creates...

A driving force behind the creation of this new language is the ability to properly gauge and describe the real value of longer-term intangible marketing efforts like branding and customer loyalty initiatives. Importantly, they also want this new language to be embraced by the financial community who have been alienated by efforts to date. Pringle and Fisk have invited other practitioners to contribute to the development of this new language which you can do at the web site here. I have three quick comments to offer:

1. Marketers are already perceived as being out of step with the rest of the enterprise. Will not a new language simply increase and/or highlight these differences?

2. Will a new language be perceived as a means for marketers to recast or mask failed branding and CRM initiatives?

3. There are four existing metrics that can be used to measure marketing effectiveness. They are market share, sales revenue, operating margin and budget. These metrics are familiar, unambiguous, honest, and accurate.

Rather than marketers creating a new language why not embrace existing metrics already in use and trusted by the enterprise? Instead of creating a new language how about identifying new methodologies and approaches that might properly gauge the value of longer term efforts using trusted metrics?