Tuesday, 12 March 2013

John Sergeant’s take on the Magic of Marketing

I’ve crossed paths with John Sergeant on enough occasions to predict that when he opens his mouth to speak you know that you are in for a succinct slice of his wisdom delivered with humor and enough wit to make even the driest of topics interesting.

It was no surprise that John had a room full of current students, alumni, industry leaders and fellow teaching staff from the Master of Marketing Program at the University of Sydney intently listening to his panel discussion on the future of marketing last week.

When John addressed the questions of what do Marketers do, he didn’t hesitate for a minute to think about his response. He said, “Marketers produce an intangible good. It’s magic. A Marketer’s job is to infiltrate the magic into the business in a way that makes it relevant to individuals”.

When asked ‘How do you understand the magic that marketers do?’, John responded, “you have to start by getting out of the mental habit of referring to human beings as consumers. Habits of speech become habits of mind. Continually referring to people as consumers is a habit of marketers that stands in the way of delivering empathy”.

John even delivered a potentially lucrative offer to his future 2013 students. Students that catch him referring to people as ‘consumers’, will be paid 5$ out of John’s hard earned cash in return for his sinful referral.

It’s easy to forget that our business is about adding the magic and not simply dealing with the numbers that present themselves as a result of the data explosion. What is important, however, is to understand the insights that the data offer us, turn those insights into a very fine magic powder and then sprinkle that magic powder over the business. And that’s what Marketing is all about, according to John.

Mina D'Souza
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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