60s group Peter & Gordon used to sing “A World Without Love” – I sometimes wonder what a world without marketing might be like. When I think of how the absence of marketing would affect buyers, I recall how things worked in the old USSR. Here are some examples of how buying would change if we had no marketing:
- Google would still be used, but without brand names, you could have to visit dozens of sites, all using different wordings, only to realize the products they’re describing are identically the same.
- When it comes to technology products, you would be subjected to hearing all about how a piece of equipment is put together, but you wouldn’t necessarily be told anything about what it’s used for.
- Without sponsorships and ad-supported media, the cost to receive business magazines or attend conferences and association events would double. There’d be a charge to see a company’s website or get a brochure. To call them, instead of a 1-800 number, the call would cost you a toll charge.
- Commerce in general would be tougher without the existence of intermediaries like Lyrico, Kelly Services, CDW, Nebs, Corporate Express, Staples, NewEgg and Acklands-Grainger.
- Because companies wouldn’t see problems from your perspective, they would sell what’s easiest for them to make. Mail-room machinery would fold letters but it wouldn’t apply postage – that’s up to you & the post office. You’d buy your workdesk from one supplier, but your office chair would have to be bought elsewhere. Hotdog weiners would come in lots of 6 and buns in lots of 8 (whoops, for some strange reason that’s the way it’s done today.)
- You wouldn’t recognize company names like Cisco, FedEx, Xerox, Oracle or Yahoo!….because their names would use the impossibly long technical terms that could identify their products.
I think you’ll agree that the world I’ve imagined is a pretty grim place. I’m far from satisfied with how marketing is done in our world, but I hope you’ll agree that we’re better off with it than without it.