Interview with Thomas Husson, VP principal analyst for Forrester

The notion that marketing is at the root of consumerism and seeks to manipulate us, creating unnecessary needs and pushing us to over-consume, is unfortunately well established in society. This idea of marketing
pollution, of the omnipresence of advertising, of the manipulation of our brains, is effectively summed up in the phrase “that’s marketing”.

There is a natural distrust of everything to do with marketing and advertising, which ultimately serves the brands themselves. It’s no coincidence that for several years now, marketing directors have preferred to call themselves customer directors, customer experience directors, chief growth officers, etc.

The central question that this book seems to ask is that of a refoundation of marketing.
Some may dismiss the acronym ZERO as the very example of a marketer’s jargon that wields English concepts like Reload, Open, Reframing…without giving them any meaning. Personally, I find it
healthy that this book revisits this debate, which is not new, and proposes a manifesto. For me, it’s more of a return to basics.

Marketing has never been circumscribed or limited to the notion of advertising. The marketing function is first and foremost about matching the expectations of individuals and society with what acompany or association offers, i.e. an organisation that shares a common goal. The marketer is like a blotter that must absorb and anticipate society’s expectations. Marketing can and should be behavioural and societal, it is at the heart of the transformation of companies. It offers a reading grid and makes it possible to give meaning. Without marketing, there is no understanding of the customer, no product and service innovation, and no growth.

ZEN: I like this idea of mastering time, of slowing down. At the end of the day, the consumer either wants to save time by having the smoothest possible journey, or they are prepared to give you time to discover your offers, stroll around your flagship store or let themselves be carried away and dream. The challenge for the marketer is to
understand the interaction context of his customer or prospect in order to give him back control of his time.

RELOAD: I have a little more difficulty with this term, but yes, we all aspire, especially after this pandemic, to recharge our batteries, and to a more profound change. The crisis has accelerated the perception of the need to involve companies in the ongoing societal and ecological revolution.

OPEN: Yes, of course, we need an open approach. The most advanced marketing teams often call on different talents and social sciences: ethnography, design, sociology, etc. Only this type of approach allows us to truly
take the pulse of the society in which we evolve.

ZOOM: I think the important point here is the notion of vision. Giving meaning to customers and employees alike. 

EXPERIENCE:
Forrester has long made the notion of experience, customer or employee, the backbone of its research. Harvey Manning, Vice President and Director of Research, joined our CX practice in 1998 and published a book entitled “Outside-In” which is still a reference in this field. So I’m not going to argue with you on that
word.

REFRAMING: Less bullshit, yes. However, I admit that this term does not invite it ­čśŐ

OPINION: For me, opinion is the same as vision. Brands will increasingly be required to take a stand. Not because trust is diminishing, but because it is evolving and being embodied by new players, who are ready to take risks, and who demonstrate transparency and authenticity in the image of the social phenomenon that C’est Qui Le Patron? has become, for example!

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