Paul Holmes 28 Mar 2011 // 9:55AM GMT
Like Richard Edelman, I have been reading Philip Kotler’s new book Marketing 3.0. Like Richard Edelman, I am encouraged by its premise, which is essentially that marketing in the future will look a lot more like public relations (that is to say, more values-driven, more stakeholder-focused, etc.); and like Richard Edelman, I am disappointed that Kotler and his co-authors feel the need on several occasions to willfully mischaracterize and denigrate PR. (I can’t help wondering whether marketing maven Kotler realized that his book was essentially making the case that marketers need to morph into PR people, realized that notion would be unpalatable to many marketers, and decided to make it a little more palatable by taking a few potshots at the PR profession.) In any case, he writes: “We have observed that many companies undertake socially responsible actions as public relations gestures. Marketing 3.0 is not about companies doing public relations. It is about companies weaving values into their corporate cultures." So if social responsibility is not about helping a company build stronger relationships with its publics, what is it about, exactly? Come to think of it, if “weaving values into their corporate cultures” is not the starting point of any good relationship with your public, what is? I suspect Richard and I are in agreement in two more things, then, which are that Marketing 3.0 is coming (for the smartest and most sophisticated companies, it is already here) and that it is absolutely, fundamentally, at its core about helping companies build strong, sustainable, substantive relationships with their stakeholders, or publics. Which is to say, Marketing 3.0 is all about public relations.