“Do or Die”: tough medicine for the CMO

Marketers need to shift their focus from saying things about their brands to creating great products and experiences that will make people love their brands.

That’s what Clark Kokich believes. Clark, chairman of Razorfish, is the author of Do or Die, a new book that challenges marketers to rethink the way they build relationships with consumers. Recently he discussed with me the ethos of Do or Die, including how his simple premise — that marketers should stop saying things and start doing things — has a far-reaching impacts on the way marketers do their jobs, ranging from how they generate ideas to how they collaborate with agencies and their peers in Information Technology and Creative.

Do or Die, available exclusively on the iPad, argues that marketers just don’t have the ear of the consumer like they used to — not at a time when consumers have tools like Yelp to tell each other what they think about a brand. The book cites a Nielsen Company study that asked 25,000 Internet users from 50 countries, “Which sources of advertising do you trust most?” Nine out of 10 respondents said that they rely on friends and colleagues, and the next most popular source was consumer opinions posted online.

As Clark sees it, the problem is that too many marketers and their agency partners remain mired in an old model of sharing “one-way monologues” touting the benefits of a brand.

“Saying is great when people are listening,” he writes. “Saying is fantastic when people believe what you’re saying. But saying is a dud when consumers aren’t paying as much attention to traditional media and don’t find a one-way litany of sales points all that convincing.”

The solution: borrow a page from companies like Nike and Virgin America, which are finding imaginative ways to create immersive experiences for people to interact with their brands. For instance, while many of Virgin America’s rivals pour their marketing dollars into one-way advertising, Virgin famously builds its brand by transforming the laborious process of air travel into a fun experience.

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