Game over for Marketing, so says Saatchi

Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi yesterday addressed an audience of senior business leaders at The IoD’s Annual Convention and claimed that in today’s crazy world strategy is dead, the big idea is dead, management is dead and marketing, as we know, is also dead. Pretty strong words from the head of one of the most influential advertising agencies in the world.

I think most of us know the world has moved on and continues to move with such a furious pace but coming from one of the worlds biggest marketing cheeses its a proper WTF moment. How much is real and how much is a stab at some controversial press is not clear but he is certainly echoing the thoughts of a lot of Internet marketeers. Should we sack the marketing department, hire some spotty-faced twitterers and retire to the Caribbean (where marketing is probably still alive  and kicking)?

No. Not yet. Not quite yet.

Here’s what he said:

“Strategy is dead. Who really knows what is going to happen anymore in this super VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world? The more time and money you spend devising strategies the more time you are giving you rivals to start eating your lunch.

“Management is dead. To win today you need a culture and an environment where the unreasonable power of creativity thrives. Ideas are today’s currency not strategy. Martin Luther King did not say ‘I have a vision statement’ did he? He had a dream. You have to make sure you have dreams and your brand also needs a dream.”

he then goes on to say

“The big idea is dead. There are no more big ideas. Creative leaders should go for getting lots and lots of small ideas out there. Stop beating yourself up searching for the one big idea. Get lots of ideas out there and then let the people you interact with feed those ideas and they will make it big.”

Now that makes a lot of sense. This is much more a reflection of the change in culture that is required by contemporary marketing agencies. Hopefully we’ll see the death of the HiPPO (Highest Paid Persons Opinion) and the growth of collaborative creativity. This has been a long time coming.

Say hello to the birth of Agile Marketing. It’s an exciting time.