In Defense of Marketing

“You can’t prove advertising really works.” “Marketing is all gut, there’s no science to it.” “The marketing department is a cost center, not a revenue driver.” As marketers, we’ve been hearing this for decades. And even as new marketing channels and technologies have arrived on the scene – including many that savvy digital marketers see as game-changers – new doubts and stigmas have arrived with them.

There’s never been a better time to be a marketer._ _That’s how I see it. The creative tools we have at our disposal make it easier than ever to turn a great idea into something real. New technology has given us new ways to connect with customers and measure the impact of our work. Marketing matters more than ever.

But not everyone is convinced. According to a recent study by The Fournaise Marketing Group, more than 70% of CEOs believe marketers are too disconnected from business results. The view from consumers isn’t much better. A new study just released by Adobe shows 68% of those surveyed find online ads “annoying.” “Distracting,” “invasive” and “creepy” were not far behind. What’s more, a recent article making the rounds in marketing circles calls for the death of the CMO position because, among other reasons, “Marketing impact is often hard to measure… …to know whether all those millions of dollars spent have led to an increase in real sales.” Marketing is BS

This is nonsense. And Adobe is calling BS.

Today, we launched a brand new marketing campaign we’re calling “Metrics, not myths.” Our approach is to identify top myths about digital marketing that plague brands, agencies, chief marketing officers and CEOs and turn them on their head — with irony, humor, a provocative point of view and proof.

Our first myth, “Marketing is BS” runs in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and numerous online outlets today. Other myths – like “Social Media is Worthless” and “Marketers Hate Big Data” – will roll out in the coming days and weeks. The whole campaign will be bolstered with a robust social campaign, some fun videos and more.

I hope you’ll pardon our French, but we want this campaign to be honest in capturing both the passion and genuine frustration marketers feel when their contributions are undervalued and they’re told the impact of their work isn’t measureable. As a company that’s served marketers and designers for 30 years, Adobe feels their pain. As a CMO who spends 74% of her own marketing budget on digital, I know better. Marketing’s impact can be measured. Creativity and data can work beautifully together. We’re willing to prove it.

Digital marketing can work. More importantly – with so many eyeballs and so much opportunity moving online, to mobile, to social – digital marketing has to work. As a career marketer, I feel strongly about this. If you agree, I hope you’ll join the conversation. After all, there’s never been a better time to bust a few myths. There’s never been a better time to be a marketer.

Ann Lewnes is Chief Marketing Officer at Adobe. Follow her on Twitter at @alewnes

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