Senior Marketers Go for Godin, Have Had Their Fill of Long Tail

Anderson Survey Shows Which Concepts, People Resonate With Elite Execs

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

"Buy American" and "Long Tail" are just so last year; marketers are all about good old-fashioned customer satisfaction and retention.

That's according to an elite group of marketing executives, members of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, recently surveyed by Anderson Analytics. Membership in the group is by invitation only, with a screening process that requires a salary of at least $150,000. More than 80% of members are senior executives, C-level executives or owners of companies involved in strategic planning, marketing, advertising and sales.
Seth Godin

The Marketing Executives Networking Group voted Seth Godin the top marketing guru.

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Chart: Buzzword Breakdown
The marketing concepts respondents pay the most attention to -- and those they ignore
More than 600 of the group's 1,657 members responded to the survey.

The top buzzwords for this group are traditional concepts such as segmentation, brand loyalty and competitive intelligence.

A few addendums
However, the old-school thinking was followed closely in the ranking by new-school media concepts including search-engine optimization, data mining and personalization.

"It says to me that you can't walk away from the basics, but it's also a complex world, and you can't ignore the new ideas either," said Chandra Chaterji, an executive at GSD&M's Idea City, who is on MENG's board of directors.

"It adds to the growing complexity of the CMO function, as well as marketing in general."

Green marketing was the most popular write-in buzzword, while the least-popular concepts, named by fewer than 40%, were Six Sigma, game theory and faith-based or religion-based marketing.

"Concepts such as Long Tail and Six Sigma will continue to wane in popularity, while the renewed interest in classical issues such as customer satisfaction/retention and segmentation will continue to draw increased attention from marketers tired of these cute buzzwords," said Tom Anderson, managing partner of Anderson Analytics, in an e-mail. He added that most of the trends mentioned fell into four broader categories: traditional marketing, global issues, new digital media and green marketing.

The study also queried MENG members about a host of other topics, including most important marketing/business gurus, key demographic groups and best business books.

Godin, Jobs top list
Seth Godin is their top marketing guru, followed at No. 2 by Apple's Steve Jobs, whose iPhone and iPod success seems to have pushed the entrepreneur and CEO to near the top of the marketing heap. A mix of typical marketing experts and more-business-oriented execs rounded out the top 10, in order: Peter Drucker, Warren Buffet, David Aaker, Tom Peters, Jim Collins, Jack Welch, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Ries and Phil Kotler. Former U.S. vice president and current global-warming guru Al Gore made the top 20. A handful of the executives also chose "myself," Mr. Anderson said.

Some of the gurus also made another list in the study -- as authors of the last-read and most-recommended business books. The most common recent read was "Good to Great" by Mr. Collins, followed by "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman and "Blink" by Mr. Gladwell. When asked to rate the books on a five-point scale (five being the best), the highest-ranked was Eliyahu Goldratt's business novel "The Goal," published in 1984, with a 4.7 (although it ranked No. 14 in popularity), followed by the newer "The 4-Hour Work Week" by 29-year-old Timothy Ferriss, with a 4.4 rating (ranked No. 9 in popularity).

When the marketers were asked what one business book they would recommend to fellow marketers, the top answer was "Good to Great" again, followed by "Positioning" by Mr. Ries and Jack Trout and "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey.

As for the most important demographic groups, the usually overlooked baby boomers were deemed important by 88% of respondents, followed closely by Generation X (86%), Hispanic/Latino (86%) and women (85%). At the bottom of the list were Generation Z (72%) and urban (72%).

"What our members are saying is they're all important, and they can't walk away from any of them," Mr. Chaterji said.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Timothy Ferriss as Timothy Harris.
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