Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Over the holidays I scrutinized a bombardment of marketing blogs and whitepapers forecasting marketing’s future.  I could draft my own set of predictions, but I would only be repetitive.  Instead, I plan to share some observations this month about the topsy-turvy world of marketing starting with Retro-Innovation.  

Read On:
I have always been an advocate of Hybrid Marketing; a blend of classic marketing and Web 2.0 interactive, collaborative platforms.  What I am observing is marketers are moving further away from classic marketing (push or outbound tactics) and leaning more towards inbound marketing.  In addition, due to the increased penetration of mobile devices, sellers are now being challenged to engage with their buyers in real time.  Through engagement, companies have learned the benefit of identifying their dedicated, loyal customers (a.k.a. Brand Evangelists, Super Fans), individuals who spread the word about the benefits of their products or services.  Smart marketing!  However, now I believe it is time step back and add a dash of classic marketing back into the hybrid blend.  I call this process Retro-Innovation – taking a classic, proven marketing concept and updating it. 

There are numerous ways companies are connecting with their online Super Fans – real time engagement, rewards, discounts, etc.  Suggestion: Get offline and meet your Super Fans live by creating an event (a.k.a. party).  Event marketing is an old concept, but with a dash of Retro-Innovation, it has the potential to go viral.  Rationale
  •   Everyone loves a freebie.
  •   A well orchestrated marketing event exercises the principle of exclusivity.  People still value exclusivity.
  •   A great way to sample products/services and get live feedback.  Surprise your guests with a take home goodie bag.
  •   Satisfied guests will share their experiences via social media.  
  • Documentation of the event (e.g., video, photographs, etc.) can be utilized as content for a company’s ongoing online marketing initiatives.
Does your organization’s marketing need some Retro-Innovation?


  1. Jim,
    Good post. I do think 'retro' marketing will not go away. For example, in B2B marketing, direct mail, personal selling, and email are still king. Inbound marketing is just another tool in the marketers toolkit. A good marketer uses both outbound and inbound marketing tactics together to help get people pushed through the sales funnel. Same with B2C, though the tactics are a little different, same concept.

  2. I would thoroughly agree with your overview, with the following caveat: Retro-Innovation should also include a few elements of classic marketing to emphasize the hybrid method of a blend of connection with your brand's fans. Furthermore, arranging an event in key markets can be aided if you have truly been active in Social Media and already have fans on Facebook and Twitter, you can easily use the viral nature of those connections by posting invites throughout your public network. For certain products, and for brands that are unique and engaging, such an effort will pay off in intense loyalty. Just do it.

  3. Excellent points, Jimmy. I would suggestion only one thing: Let's call it "Core Marketing As Strategy." Marketing is anchored in creating value, capturing value and sustaining value.

    Call it anything necessary, but the essentials of marketing are not changed by new communications channels (social) and by new engagement tactics (today's inbound).

  4. Not one to turn down an invite to a party, I'm in. But you also raise an excellent point, in an era where we seem to value faceless communication, and do business based on a "trust" gained from social media exposure, the face-to-face meeting, whether it be a party, a cup of coffee, or a chat in a supermarket can not be beat for building relationships and driving business.