Sorry, HBR. Marketing is most certainly NOT dead.

Gee Ranasinha Business

Share this with your friends


Here we go again…

The Harvard Business Review, a journal that I normally hold in pretty high estimation, published an article called Marketing Is Dead. Go and take a look at it. I’ll wait…

When the title showed-up in my RSS reader, my first reaction was that it was some dodgy linkbait post that had somehow slipped through the net. It was only when I realized that it was from HBR that I sat up and took notice.

The article begins:

“Traditional marketing – including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications – is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.”

Oh really?

Marketing isn’t – just – Advertising

My main beef with the piece lies with the assumptions made by the author, Bill Lee. It doesn’t start off well, as it seems that there’s some confusion between the terms “Marketing” and “Advertising”, the latter actually being a subset of the former (all ‘advertising’ is ‘marketing’, but not all ‘marketing’ is ‘advertising’, if you get my drift).

Marketing isn’t just advertising, promotion, communications, PR, branding and what-have-you. It’s much more than that. Marketing’s no longer just a department in an organization, or a cost center. Marketing is how your receptionist answers the phone. It’s how your best (and worst) customers talk about you. And it’s everything in-between.

Marketing is everything from what you sell, to how you sell it. To say that Marketing is dead is like saying that business itself is dead.

However, one thing is for sure: Marketing is most certainly evolving. The techniques and processes are changing, just as audiences change. Social media, together with digital content, has changed the model and opened-up a wealth of opportunities that we are all only just starting to discover. But that’s nothing new – the Marketing industry has always had to evolve to changing market dynamics.

It seems that Mr. Lee has just published a book through HBR Press. How did I know? Because it’s mentioned at the end of the piece. There’s even a link to Amazon for those who’d like to buy the book.

Seems like Marketing – and Advertising – is alive and well after all.

About the Author
Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha is CEO and founder of KEXINO. He's been a marketer since the days of 56K modems, lectures on marketing and behavioral economics at a European business school, and was noted as one of the top 100 global business influencers by (those wonderful people who make financial software).

Originally from London, today Gee lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and young son.

Find out more about Gee at Follow him on Twitter at KEXINO, on Facebook at, or on LinkedIn at


Want to receive our articles by email?

Simply enter your email address here »

You will only get article updates - we will not put you on any distribution list.
By entering your email address you are providing explicit consent that we can contact you.
You can remove that consent at any time.