Monday, July 27, 2009

The business of business; or the recursive angst of marketing

The recession- apparently its over according to the bank of Canada, and several business people that I talk to alot- had some very specific victims. The North American "big three" are now the big one Ford, although Honda, Toyota and Mazda all make their vehicles here. None the less, many people are out of work, and unlikely to get such high paying jobs to replace the assembly-line work. Here in Quebec, it seems marketing departments have been drastically reduced in scope. Anecdotally, the marketing industry seems to have been hit harder than other areas. And oddly enough this seems reasonable as marketing I am going to argue, is the primary commodity of our age.

Marketing is the theory, and sales are the practice. That is why marketing departments get cut. They provide rationales for what price should be charged for a product, how a company should advertise and even design their products or organise their services. when a company ceases to sell, by definition, the marketing department guessed wrong. A friend of mine, who has a marketing degree from a prestigious business school, often smiles and says that half of all advertising money is wasted but nobody knows which half that is. My guess is that by the same token, half of all money spent on marketing is wasted. The sales department actually generates revenue so the culprits can be evaluated down to the last cent, while the marketing department generates projections (guesses?), rationales and analysis.

And so having searched through sources such as Statistics Canada, the Canadian Marketing Association, it looks like slightly less than one half of revenue in canada goes to marketing. this suggests that my assessment of the mid-nineties was correct. The biggest industry in the world is marketing. Not food, metals, or even oil and energy, but figuring out how to get people to give you money in exchange for something else.

I have been thinking about how to "monetize' my knowledge. Instead of dreaming of being a rock star, or some such high glamour activity I have been asking myself " where do people spend most of their money?" and how can I get in on it? North american's spend a lot on automobiles, so being a mechanic and opening a garage might be a good place- however, I don't love cars and my training is as ateacher and philosopher. Most everyone likes to live in a nice house, so building, repairing and renovation could be good- but I do that already, and I want to do something else. I don't want to work for a company as such. i have always done better as self-employed or contract. Education is a mugs game. Like heaven, everybody wants it but nobody wants to pay the price to get there. But marketing, hmmmm. Buying into the biggest industry in the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where do people spend most of their money?
Entertaining themselves and distracting themselves. Soothing and comforting themselves.
People with the money just want to forget about all the stresses it took to get the money.
Think of how good it feels to have a moment to trot down to the pub and relax for bit...
Large screen tv's to lose themselves in, comforts and indulgences to make them feel better.
Self medicating.
There's your money.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster