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15 Minutes of Marketing and The End of Advertising

Hennes & Mauritz

Do you like this advertisment from Hennes & Mauritz? Do you believe that it works? This billboard happens to be close to everywhere I look, and it’s part of their latest marketing campaign. Does it work? Yes, it probably does, and I’ll tell you why at the end of this rather long post.

I have been thinking a lot about what I should be doing with my blog. I have thought about posting less often, and spend most of my time working for my client, but right now, I’m thinking that this blog is a part of me and my business, and it’s my way of showing you exactly what I’m doing, and it’s a way for me to learn from what I’m doing by receiving feedback from you.


I still don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing with the blog, but here’s an attempt to show you exactly what’s happening.

Tomorrow, I’ll be speaking about marketing to a very interesting group of people. I only have 15 minutes, and I have so many things to say. But, the topic is marketing and social media. What I’ll do, is to focus on explaining marketing, and how marketing has changed, and instead of telling people exactly how they should be using social media, I’ll be telling them a story about marketing that they won’t forget.

Still remember the beautiful woman at the top? I’ll get to her in a minute…

What is marketing?

Marketing is not advertising. The problem is that it has been advertising for at least the past 50 years, and that’s why some people still think it’s about advertising. And that they should interrupt as many people as possible with their very good looking ads.

I believe that we have three levels of marketing:

The first level is to get attention from people who have no idea who you are and to make them become interested in you.

The second level is to turn the same people from just being interested in you into customers.

The third level is to turn the customers into customers for life.

How you do the the three levels are very different today, than it used to be. And this is what many people don’t understand. We’re in a completely different era, than when marketing started out.

Three eras of marketing

As far as I can see, we’ve got three eras of marketing.

The first era was the industrial era, where everything was about the production methods, and how easy and cheap, and fun etc. it was to create products. That was the marketing, producing new things, and making things cheaper, because the production costs was low, and we got new products all the time – because of the production methods. This happened a long time ago. I know that the industrial revolution was the period from 1750 to 1850, but the industrial era in marketing (from what I understand stopped when mass media started)

The second era of marketing is the Mad Men era, the era of mass media. This is the period where the focus was more or less about taking the advantage of the mass media. I’m not going to say exactly when it started or when it ended, but let’s just say that it’s from the 1960’s to somewhere during this mellenium. And the reason why they focused on mass media was that doing so got close to everybody’s attention. It was exclusive, for the first time in history, they could reach everybody with a message (ads). And the more messages they created, the more money they would earn. People noticed close to every single ad. This worked because our attention had very little competition. Few TV channels, few radio channels, few magazines etc.. and we weren’t used to ads, not like we’re now.

I am not sure if the third era has a name, but this is the era we’re living in now (internet or social media). And the most interesting thing about this era when it comes to marketing is that it’s almost the complete opposite of the mass media era, we’ve got a major problem with getting attention. We can’t just create a mediocre advertisement and show it on TV, and that’s it. We can’t create average stuff anymore. There are just too many choices. When I was young, living in Norway, there was only a few choices of everything. We had three TV channels, we had four chocolate bars, a few interesting magazines for kids. Now, even here in Norway, it’s close to impossible to count all the various choices. And, now that we’re more or less become immune to traditional advertising, we need to make a switch.

I am not saying that not a single person will see your ads. What I’m saying is that it’s not as effective as it used to be, and it costs more money than the type of marketing that works

Like I said, the hard part is earning attention and trust. In order to do that, we need to focus on a different level. Interruption used to work, and it still works, but only if your interruption isn’t being interrupted. And that’s the point, your interruption is being interrupted all the time. Today, you need to earn the attention, you can’t steal it anymore.

Internet helps you to build connections. And it makes creating relationships a lot easier. That’s why it should be a major part of our marketing.

The Marketing Methods

The reason why I started my marketing business, is mostly because I want to help people. I want people to stop to think that they can be average and still be successful.

I have seen too many examples of executives that just don’t understand when marketing should be applied and what marketing is all about. Think about the era, and step back and look at what’s happening all around us. It used to be that a company created products, and when the product was finished, they talked to the people in marketing and told them to start advertising / sell the products. That’s not how things should be done. This just doesn’t work anymore. It won’t work in any type of products or for any type of service.

What we need to understand is that marketing should be implemented in the products and services, and that the people working in marketing should be included from the scratch, and be part of the product development. If you create products that makes people say yes every single time, well, you won’t need a single advertisment. The marketing is part of how you create your products, and why you do it, and how you run your business.

We are back where it all started

I don’t remember this far into the past, but sometimes I can visualize how it must have been like. A long time ago, the only marketing method that was guaranteed to work, was word-of-mouth. People bought what their friends told them worked. They walked to the local shoe store, and they talked to the man running the store, they were friends, and they trusted him. The sales process was based upon the trust. They bought every single pair of shoes from the same man.

Now, we’re back at where it all started. We are buying what people tell us to buy, and we’re looking for relationships and trust. But, we’re finding the answers online, and word-of-mouth are social media, and our friends are hundreds of people instead of your closest ones. When you recommend something, you’ll share it and people will see it in a matter of seconds (it used to take hours or days), and you’ll share it with a lot more people. The same things happen when you’re sharing bad reviews. You’ll share a bad review within seconds, and it spreads very fast.

The technology has changed. The speed has changed. But, the principles of marketing is still the same. True relationships builds trust. And trust is the only part of marketing you’ll guaranteed to work (forever).

But. Traditional advertising still works

Now, let me tell you why the beautiful woman on the Hennes & Maurtiz billboards works. We’re now focusing on level 1 of the levels of marketing, and this is where we get attention and make people become interested in who we are and what we’re doing. If we’re using traditional advertising, we can only be fairly successful if we’re standing out from the crowd, and doing something that fascinates people. And one of the seven triggers that makes us fascinated is lust. Sex sells. That’s a fact. And, what you might not see on the image above, is that the woman is exceptionally tan. She’s in fact so tan that it’s been a major discussion in Norway about the effect on the ads on girls (and women), and some have added that the effects can lead to cancer. It’s clearly that when you’re watching the ads you’ll see that she’s too tan (if there’s such a thing). And, that’s the point. In order to get attention doing traditional advertising, you need to do something extraordinary, something that will make you stand out from the crowd. If you stand out from the crowd, you’ll eventually get attention.

But. Remember. What they’re doing is only level 1 of marketing.

Permission marketing

Instead of stealing attention by using traditional advertising, like adding a beautiful woman on a billboard, we should be using permission marketing. Get permission first. Make people find you, instead of the other way around. Stop interrupting people, and do something that will make them want you on their own terms. Take a long hard look at yourself. The (only) people and brands you’re giving permission too, are people and brands you already have a relationship with.

Is this 15 minutes of marketing?

If you had 15 minutes to talk about marketing, is this what you would have focused on? I’d love to get your thoughts.

38 responses to “15 Minutes of Marketing and The End of Advertising”

  1. Bill Dorman says:

    I mean really, can you be ‘too’ tan?

    You would think with me living in Florida I would have this great tan, but actually I’m pretty pasty with a little bit of the golfer’s tan going. I’ve already had a couple of skin cancers removed so I either cover up or put sun screen on almost religiously. A tan looks nice, but I can assure you, skin cancer (or the after effects) does not. Me loves my skin………:).

    Sex does sell and even with that sometimes it’s hard to stand out from all the noise. However, there is still a place for traditional advertising, you just have to be more creative and know your audience.

    Good luck with your talk and whatever you decide to do with the blogging. I do think blogging is a way to ‘learn’ and it can help you in many aspects of your work.

    • I will continue to blog, I am sure I will. It’s just a matter of how often and how many details I should add and if I should make blogging a part of what I do daily (as part of my business, and part of learning). To me, this is the right way to go. But I am not really sure, at least not yet. Today was my first day of testing the learning thing, before the speech, and so far it’s going pretty good 🙂

      I also believe that there’s a place for traditional advertising, but we need to be a lot more creative than what I’m seeing now.

  2. eliza says:

    i think it works for men who like to look at females but as far as women are concerned, this wouldnt make a female want to read more etc
    i hear what youre saying about spending less time on your blog but if its your passion, do it man, all i can say is listen to your heart, do what makes you happy in life, after all it´s too short

    • Hi Eliza,

      It doesn’t work for me, and the only reason I’m watching, is because of my love for marketing. I notice close to everything, good and bad advertising, because that’s my job 🙂

      I probably won’t spend less time blogging, but I’m thining about how to use my blog as part of my business and part of learning. Using my blog as a way to share what I’m doing in my business is a great way to get feedback, and I’m going to test it a few more times to see if this is what I should be doing.

  3. You and I have very different thoughts on public speaking Jens.

    While I could go on forever in an article, I’m thinking 15 minutes would seem quite long standing up in front of a crowd! LOL

    I like your mention of permission marketing. I think companies should focus less on trying to get their message in front of us countless times throughout the day regardless of our activity or frame of mind, and instead try to tailor their message to land when it’s needed in the form of help.

    For example: If I don’t need a new car at the moment it doesn’t matter how many times they tell me about the new Honda Accord, I’m still not going to be in the market.

    • So you don’t like public speaking? Well, I used to be very shy, and I am still fairly shy, but if I can pick the topic and I’m prepared, well, then I just love it. It’s the same with blogging really, it’s a way to help out, and try to make people prevent doing a lot of mistakes. And since I’m seeing people doing mistakes every single day, I’m doing my best to tell them exactly what they should be doing.

      I absolutely agree with you about permission marketing, and your Honda Accord example is perfect.

      • You know, I’ve only had to do it a couple of times and the first one went off without a hitch and I thought to myself “this is easy! I don’t know why so many people dread public speaking” and the second which ironically was in front of a much smaller audience my mouth dried up to the point I could barely talk LOL.
        I think I realized then what all the fuss was about! 🙂

  4. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, If that ad were in the US, many people wouldn’t think she was too tan, they would think that she has a naturally dark skin tone. But in Norway, I’m thinking that’s a bit different?

    Marketing and advertising fascinate me. I love watching Mad Men and seeing advertisements and icons from the 60’s that were classics. Companies chose recognizable logos and stuck with them for years then. The Wall Street Journal did a piece a few years ago with a quiz about company logos. It showed recent logos and asked which companies they represented. Very few people got it right. Then they showed traditional logos from Mad Men days and people knew exactly which products were represented.

    Krispy Kreme donuts became a very popular brand without any advertising whatsoever. Their marketing was their “Hot Donuts Now” neon signs outside their stores. Unfortunately, mismanagement caused the company problems, but how great is it that you have such confidence in your product that you don’t feel the need to advertise?

    I wish you the best of luck with your speech, Jens. You’re right, we’re living in a time where it’s much more difficult to get people’s attention. But I bet your speech takes you through steps one and two of the marketing process with new customers!

    • I actually didn’t notice the too tan part either, and to me it was just a naturally dark tone, until I read the discussions. So, someone noticed, but it wasn’t me 🙂

      My best example with adding marketing to the products (and to the company) is Zappos. I have never bought anything from them, but I just love reading about everything they’re doing and this company is just amazing.

      I have heard about Krispy Kreme, but I have never tasted their donuts or seen any of their stores, but I love the example you’re giving. And to me, that’s part of what I want to do with my business. I want to help companies turn into “Krispy Kreme” or “Zappos” and add marketing to every single level of their business, not just the last part.

  5. Adrienne says:

    I did have to laugh about the “too tan” conversation going on here Jens. We’ve had some lady on the news here lately because she’s taken tanning to a new level. She’s horrible looking so that’s the first thing I thought of.

    You know you’re right Jens about TV commercials. I never watch them anymore. I actually hate watching them which is why I tape everything and have for years. So if some company were trying to get my attention about their product, that would not be the way to go about it.

    Word of mouth is the best way. Always has been and always will be. They just have to make sure their product is above all the rest and get them online and start spreading the word. Give away some freebies if they are that type of company.

    I think I shared with you some time back about a friend of mine who was bragging about these health drinks that she loves and the company was paying attention, saw her messages on Twitter and sent her four cases of their drinks. You think she spread the word then, she was on fire after that.

    Hey, it works. No ifs, ands or buts about that. You go get em Jens, you’ll do great.


    • I didn’t know about the woman that had taken tanning to a new level, I guess the too tan conversation in Norway is a little different 🙂

      I love marketing, and I watch a lot of commercials just to see what’s happening in the world of marketing, but still, I can’t remember what I have been watching. There are just too much ads. I see them everywhere I go. And I’m thinking that if I can’t remember, who can?

      The example of the health drinks is awesome, and I might actually use it in my speech 🙂

  6. Adam Snyder says:


    I was also thinking about blogging less a while ago but then I thought about it some more and figured that there has to be another way to maintain my blog and still add to my business. It was then that I actively looked for guest posters and also paid some freelancers to do some work for me. This allowed me to work on my main site more often than I used to in the past.


    • I’m thinking that I’ll find a way that will actually make me blog a lot more than I used to. And that’s not just guest posts, but I’ll do more sharing about what I’m actually working on in my business and add questions that I’m struggling with. And this way, it will be more of a learning process for me, and when I have something to teach, I’ll do that too 🙂

  7. Ashvini says:

    Hi Jens,

    I feel that level 1 marketing still works. Not because of the fact that level 3 is not making enough inroads. It works because advertisers have started to determine the innermost desires of consumer. A lot of people for example would like to fly( if possible). This may be the innermost desire but if a company can do that, people will buy the product in large number.
    In India, there was no market for cosmetics ten years back. Cosmetics was introduced and soon a mad rush to look better followed. Do Indian women look better with cosmetics, I dont know but cosmetics is a huge market .
    There are fairness creams for me also( laughable but true). So as long as advertisers looks to the core desire and they are able to find that advertising will succeed, how sinister it may be.
    The good thing is that there are quite a number of people who are not swayed by it are going towards permission marketing.

  8. Ashvini says:

    I am having trouble with keyboard . I meant “fairness creams for men”.

  9. Ruth Zive says:

    First of all, my feelings about tanning are forever changed thanks to Bill’s very disturbing image link.

    Second of all, sex sells. It always has, and I suspect it always will. So there will always be a place in advertising/marketing for scantily clad, tanned, seductive women (disturbing as that is).

    Third of all, I agree with your assessment of this third and most recent era of marketing. Relationships matter MUCH more than they did in the 2nd era. Word of mouth and reputation are very important. Authenticity, transparency and accountability also matter more.

    So…my point here is that considering these trends, CONTENT has become an even more important tool in the marketing one’s products and services. Which personally, I think is great news!

  10. Jack says:

    Relationships make a significant difference in all facets of our lives. Content marketing can be a very powerful part of that if you understand how to use it and build a rapport.

    Not that it matters, but I tan easily and get quite dark. I don’t tan like I used to because I am much more cautious about skin cancer, but I used to do it frequently. People would ask if I was mixed.

    • I second this. Relationship make a huge difference, and always have since the dawn of time 🙂

      Despite this, every era will “re-discover” the power of relationships, and declare that it is something ‘new’ 😀

      And on the tan issue, I *am* mixed, and tan super-well. Period 🙂

  11. “it’s almost the complete opposite of the mass media era, we’ve got a major problem with getting attention” – this is the main thing that my clients don’t understand. I work with a small businesses, and the owners think that if they show a lot of ads to the potential customers (the more the better), they will sell more. It’s hard for them to understand that an era of agressive advertising is over. Thanks for the post.

  12. Lisa says:

    This post really fascinates me Jens as I’ve been in the traditional advertising for years at my day job (newspapers) and I see the effects of social, content and online marketing has had over the past 10 years. It’s really all changed. I think you hit the nail on the head with permission based marketing. I never answer our phone anymore unless I know who is calling. I delete emails unless I asked for them or know them. I don’t watch many commercials or radio commercials. I’ll see print ads to things I subscribe to. See the pattern? Good luck with the speech. I’m sure you’ll continue blogging – it doesn’t have to be a set schedule – it’s ALL your schedule 🙂

  13. Misheal says:

    For the most part I agree with your points, but personally I m just not a big fan of getting desperate to get the attention, the problem is, that something “extra ordinary” is hardly creative and most companies just invest in weirdly unique ideas without even thinking about the repercussions, and I am fully against this overdose of sex in the ads these days, just like I couldn’t find a logic behind placing an attractive booth girl in those trade shows, with products that don’t have anything to do with ladies.

  14. Hi Jen,
    Real interesting post but what about other facets of marketing like competitor study and if you are thinking about the global market, then what about culture focussed marketing

  15. faissal alhaithami says:

    Loved your post, thanks for making it.

    But I think that turning people from just being interested in us into customers is part of selling more that it being a marketing.

    Thanks for the post.

  16. Brain says:

    Every business try to get success and it must require strong marketing background. Marketing has not any particular method to attract users but it depends on market position, latest techniques and people’s reactions so, at first, I will concentrate on market situation. After this find any trick which easily attract people. Marketing is not just to find customers but another goal of marketing is convert people into customers so, I will think about it. This is enough for 15 minutes or not?

  17. Congratulations for attaining such a colorful career in online marketing. The fact that you are delivering lectures about it is an obvious indication that you have established your name that strong in this field. What you have done is an example of redefining the standards of marketing.

  18. Jason Homes says:

    Marketing initiatives should not be annoying for the target clients because they may rather have a strong distaste over the brand that you are pushing. It should be catch the attention but must be an eyesore to them.

  19. Good point! Thank you for sharing this article. If you were to ask me, 15 minutes of marketing can be helpful if you are really into making your business to be successful.

  20. I like your point with regards on your post, It seems to be interesting and great to hang out with friends.

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