Marketing: Dead or Alive?

11/26/2019 Unknown 0 Comments

At our last @BIC Lecture of the Fall 2019 semester, Jason Chebib, VP Consumer Planning at Diageo North America, posed a provocative question: is marketing dead or alive? While the truth is rarely found in the extremes, Jason provided an impassioned argument for why marketing -- as a human function -- is fundamental to a civilized species and most certainly alive (and kicking). Plus, it's never been more fascinating.

In a freewheeling presentation, Jason continued a conversation he's been having with BICsters since Diageo first partnered with the program as a capstone client back in 2018. What makes marketing such a fascinating endeavor? First, he provided some historical -- even evolutionary -- context: marketing developed as an essential tool as humans became more skilled in trade. So to succeed in marketing, one must understand humans to their core. Socially, different parts of the world, at different times, experimented with different types of markets.  Jason posited that this is why the concept of brand loyalty should be rejected. Rather, people are "repertoire loyal." It's therefore a mistake, he believes, to narrowly target a key group of people while ignoring the rest.

He also challenged the audience to think of marketing as more than just a modern form of consumer manipulation. Instead, marketing is a way to speed up the process for getting things around the world. It helps spread new ideas, new products, new technologies, and publicizes offerings. Mass marketing is responsible for opening up the world and opening up new revenue streams. It is responsible for humans growing as a species. 

When asked what he thinks motivates today's companies to engage in corporate social responsibility, Jason admitted that most societies have come to distrust large institutions because they've let people down. The Great Recession heightened this impression, necessitating a restoration of trust.

Before he concluded, Jason left the audience, filled with BICsters, with words of inspiration: Today's technologies give us a better understanding of how the human mind operates. The newest generation of marketers have the power to collect enormous amounts of data that provide unparalleled understanding of consumer behavior.  He encouraged BICsters to be creative and to innovate -- to make something good out of the new tools that marketers now have at their disposal.

About Jason Chebib: As VP, Consumer Planning at Diageo North America, Jason oversees consumer strategy across Diageo’s portfolio of leading Spirits and Beer Brands in the US and Canada. Prior to moving to New York, Jason was Global Planning Director, Whiskies, based in Amsterdam. Unsurprisingly (he loves Scotch), this was the role that tempted Jason into joining Diageo. Preceding a six-year stint as a Brand Consultant and Marketing trainer, Jason had a career in ad agencies in London, including Ogilvy, J Walter Thompson, Publicis and BBDO.

Alongside multiple creative awards, he won two APG Creative Planning Golds, an IPA Effectiveness Award and a Marketing Society Award. Jason is a founding member of The Marketing Society New York, and Chair of the ANA’s Agency Relations Committee. Jason has a First from Oxford, but would cheerfully swap it for Arsenal FC to win the Premier League.

ABOUT The @BIC Lecture Series: BIC's signature forum brings thought leaders and industry icons to campus each semester. Past speakers have included IPG's Michael Roth, Ketchum CEO Barri Rafferty, Iconic Designer Paula Scher, TBWA\Chiat\DayNY CEO Rob Schwartz, GroupM CDO/CEO Rob Norman, Golin CEO+ Matt Neale, Weber Shandwick President Gail Heimann, digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff, founder of WPP Sir Martin Sorell as well as authors Michael FarmerDouglas DavisMarion Salzman, and Sandra Stahl.