5 Things I Know About Marketing

In this series, we ask MSI marketing leaders to share some of their core beliefs about marketing.

Scott McDonald, The Advertising Research Foundation

Marketers often live inside their own brand bubble, imagining that consumers are paying much closer attention than, in fact, they are. . . . This is one of the reasons why advertising needs to be sustained.


John Deighton, Harvard Business School

Strong brands are a reward, not a goal. They are what you get for doing everything right other than trying to have a strong brand.


Gerald Zaltman, Harvard Business School

Marketing is a world populated by major blank spaces. The willingness and skill to imagine what is missing is what generates big insights. This is how visionaries lead. They see data not as goal lines but as springboards for thinking and planning.


Christine Moorman, Duke University

Good marketing is a long-term play. It requires finding the right customers and doing things that meet their needs. If you’re doing those two things you’re well on your way to capturing value for your company.


Jonah Berger, University of Pennsylvania

Only about 7% of word of mouth is online. Most is face to face. Harnessing word of mouth, then, requires more than just a social media strategy; you need to think about where your customers are.


Rebecca Hamilton, Georgetown University

If consumers often make incorrect predictions about their future preferences, how can we, as marketing researchers, predict their preferences? It’s critical to choose the right research method to answer the question we want to answer.


Kevin Lane Keller, Dartmouth College

It is really easy to get swept up with marketing to the customers at the top of the pyramid and ignore the needs of those at the base in the process. Both matter, but they need to be marketed to differently.


Sean Burke, GE

Particularly for marketers, we need to continually push beyond product features and ask: What can our customers accomplish with our product or service?


Rebecca Van Dyck, Facebook

The wonderful quality of marketing is that it is based on the successful blending of art and science.


Barbara Kahn, University of Pennsylvania

Everything consumers do is based on their perceptions. It's striking how powerfully you can change behavior based on just changing perceptions.


Gavan Fitzsimons, Duke University
Brands are incredibly powerful in the life of a modern-day consumer, more so than most of us realize.


Andy England, CMO, MillerCoors

The product experience is your most important investment. Make it so special and so wonderful that people will want to have that experience again.


Mark Addicks, CMO, General Mills

Start with the stuff that matters: the product and the larger experience around that product. That is where you should be focusing the majority of your time.


Jim Trebilcock, EVP, Dr Pepper Snapple Group

The need to be closer to your consumer—your shopper—is greater, because everything is changing. There is no easy growth out there.


Susan Fournier, Boston University

As brand managers and branding researchers, we put brands at the center of our thoughts and activities and in doing that, we lose perspective...Every brand manager thinks that their brand plays or could play a big role in people’s lives. That is not—and simply cannot be—the case!

Dominique Hanssens, UCLA

I see so much pressure on marketers these days to be in touch with “each and every consumer” individually via technology. Brands can and should inform their consumers in various ways, but also realize they ultimately want to make their purchase decisions on their own.

Ann Lewnes, CMO, Adobe

The ability to see in almost real time how tuning something can make a difference in how a customer responds and transacts—that is the most revolutionary thing I can imagine happening in marketing!


David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS

I have devoted a good deal of my career to evaluating television programs, using all the tools at my disposal to inform my management as to whether or not a television show will be successful… But with all that, I could not write a successful situation comedy.