Marketing · Advertising

Did Loyalty Kill Marketing?

Matthew Diaz

February 16th, 2015

I came upon this article in the Harvard Business Review that brings up good points on how brand loyalty is slowly killing marketing.

What are your thoughts on customer loyalty and moving away from spending money on marketing and advertising?

Why aren't Nike or McDonalds taking this approach?

Rodrigo Vaca Product & Marketing

February 16th, 2015

If you define marketing narrowly, then yeah, it is dead.

If you define marketing as understanding customers, translating those needs to people inside the company, segmentation, and then translating products and features into something that people will want to buy, I don't know hot it will ever be dead.

Case in point: the article points to Apple as an example. Yet, last time I checked, Phil Schiller was still the CMO at Apple (Sr VP of Marketing).

Don't believe everything you read!


February 17th, 2015

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Yoli Chisholm Founder at WELL -

February 16th, 2015

While I agree with the spirit of the article which essentially is sounding the alarm that the mindset and approach of marketers today needs to change...In fact I wrote on the topic back in May in a quick rant "Investing in Advocacy vs. Acquisition"

but make no mistake about it this is not the death of marketing ...I liken it to the changes that the CIO is going too does the CMO's skill set, strategies and approach have to change. Much like we embraced social, so will we embrace content marketing, marketing automation, advocacy and adjust our budgets and focus accordingly...

But like I always say to Startups...everything you do IS marketing.... the companies that understand that building a great product lowers marketing costs, having great customer service IS great marketing, nurturing existing customers IS marketing...enabling happy customers to share and refer IS marketing....great frictionless buying experiences IS marketing.

So is far from's just updating its approach and working new muscles

Dominic Warne Global Brand Director - Sea Life (Merlin Entertainments plc)

February 17th, 2015

An eye catching title, but as several others have said, it's a myopic view of marketing. Whether you view marketing as all encompassing, or simply a function, what is right about the article is about creating an experience that people connect with and keep coming back to. 
What is wrong is (again as others have said) that it's divorcing loyalty from marketing. In some ways it completely diminishes the role of marketing when marketing should be the team that connects with the consumer and galvanises the wider company to make consumers their number 1 priority. 

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

February 17th, 2015

Hello Matthew,

While Apple has been wildly successful, we should not forget they have a yearly budget of about 1$ billion in just ads. On top of that, their retail store also act as marketing channels. This just to quote one of the examples from the article.

So, in the case of Apple, marketing is there, is just that's being done differently, but it's still marketing.

Ohh and going to your original comment on why McDonalds and NIKE aren't doing this? The Apple retail experience mirrors the NIKE Store experience form branding purposes. Needless to say, NIKE Stores have existed years before Apple retail stores.


Eva May Purposeful Program Developer and Marketing Professional

February 16th, 2015

Marketing has always been about generating customer loyalty.  Back in the early days of selling, before marketing emerged as a profession, door-to-door salesmen had to develop trust in their product and in their sales proposition. However, one-on-one sales pitches were an extremely high-cost way to sell nearly all types of products. So marketing emerged, and progressive companies utilized mass media to generate awareness of and interest in their products, resulting in sales and loyalty with a much better ROI. Over the years, many wonderful marketing and sales tools and tactics have emerged, some of which are cost-effective and some of which are just costly. And CMOs have had to keep up with the myriad of tools and tactics available and select the best marketing mix for their companies and customers, in many cases no longer needing to build awareness or brand equity (because it already exists), but to strengthen loyalty and engagement. What's really fun now, although it's also very challenging, is that we have come full circle in marketing. One-on-one relationships need to be created with customers in order to generate passion for our brands, and customer loyalty. But done properly, it can be cost-effective, and very successful. By no means is this the end of marketing - it's just a different toolkit!