Roehm and Womack on 'Marketing 2.x'
In a presentation filled with wry references to their rocky tenure and departure from Wal-Mart, they presented ideas that, according to Roehm, "we were never really able to enact for all kinds of corporate, political and bureaucratic issues."
In the golden age of marketing--Marketing 1.0, corresponding to the broadcast era ending in the 1990s--Roehm recalled that advertising agencies "were linked all the way to the top" of corporations. They had access to CEOs and other members of the C suite. Now, however, a process of hierarchical inflation has separated marketers from the top levels of their clients' organizations.
Moreover, the development of new media technologies has created myriad routes to reach the consumer, whose complexity is clearly overwhelming traditional marketing agencies. What's more, brands and products are proliferating. Womack notes: "The brand space is more complex, with multiple different line extensions, each using a different media mix."
In this rapidly changing technological and brand landscape, Roehm and Womack urged an institutional commitment to innovation. Acknowledging that this is often given lip service without corporate follow-through, they presented a specific recommendation based on two innovative companies, 3M and Google, which set aside a portion of their budgets (and in Google, employee work hours) for R&D activities. Borrowing from these models, Roehm and Womack called for 10% of marketing budgets to be devoted to "marketing R&D"--dealing, for example, with novel new media strategies for reaching consumers.
The duo's most unusual suggestion, however, concerned the structure of marketing agencies themselves. With the media revolution expanding and accelerating, and the emergence of increasingly specific niche marketing concerns, they took it for granted that traditional marketing agencies can no longer keep up. Thus, they advocated the adoption of an independent producer model--fittingly, borrowed from Hollywood movie studios--in which a single executive with total financial and creative responsibility leads a specific marketing initiative from start to finish.
This model has the advantage, Womack pointed out, of giving the individual in charge the time, freedom, and motivation to explore new possibilities and strategies as they become available. Replacing an outdated "one-size-fits-all" approach, the independent producer model would allow creation of tailored campaigns with unique media mixes appropriate for specific products.