Anti-Marketing is the Anti-Matter Equivelant for Marketing and is Now Back in Vogue

October 13th, 2011 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

Anti-marketing is coming back into vogue. Anti-marketing is the anti-thesis of the flashy, emotional appeal. It is the lengthy, detailed, fact laden, and intellectual outline of the context of the problem, value proposition, feature and functionality comparison. In short, it isn’t short, but substantive. Not “anti” marketing where marketing is evil, but more like Anti-matter and matter. Marketing and anti-marketing cannot exist in the same space, but one cannot exist without the other. Anti-marketing is the long form of campaign marketing; not a “quick read”, but it is designed for those who want a more qualitative understanding of a solution to make an educated decision.

Look at ads pre-Madmen 1960’s where text was a large portion of an ad, but Madison Avenue changed and started to focus on eye candy to appeal to your emotions. Now, appeal to impuse purchase outweighs the educated, thoughtful, and careful deliberation.

Marketing today is now like eating light, visually attractive tapas at a bar or tacos from a food truck, but sometimes you want a hearty meal; a steak and potato or really hearty pasta dish. Buyers want a balance between light and sexy balanced with nutritious and filling. There is a place for both, but in a campaign driven, immediate gratification culture of continually looking for the next marketing “fix” that gives a short-term boost in inbound leads, it is hard to think about “slow cooking” and building a longer relationship with the market. You need both, but balanced in a way that you don’t take a short-term hit in performance, but get out of the cycle of always looking for tactical campaign wins. Buyers get tired of being fed a diet of flash without really helping solve their problems.

Complex product and services whether highly technical, high-ticket items, or complex implementations still require a deep understanding by the buyer. If my company is spending $1M or $10M on a system to solve a complex business problem, you have to believe that I want to understand the moving pieces, the risks, the resources, and the impact before making a decision of that magnitude. A flashy ad or tradeshow booth or an email isn’t going to move me. Awareness is important and critical to assisting in getting the sales people in front of a decision maker, but more and more buyers are expecting to be able to do their own online research prior to sitting down with that rep.

Many buyers are turned off by the amount of “awareness” marketing that they are getting and are resisting all attempts at anything that smacks of marketing manipulation or lacks personalization (SPAM). That increased resistance to perceived emotional appeal is limiting marketing organizations ability to generate interest through traditional channels. I can’t tell you how many marketing organizations are struggling with lead generation with SEO, email marketing, tradeshows, PR, etc. Everything is down across the board and it is worse with the economy as they are naturally less buyers in the market on top of it.

We see a few responses emerging: doubling down on the activities (buy more lists, scrub the database harder, send more emails), hire more sales people with rolodexes and shift the burden to the sales organization to find their own leads, or look for alternative approaches. As we provide social target marketing services, you can imagine where we fall in the spectrum so I won’t pretend to be objective.

But, I bring it back to the start of this post on anti-marketing. It is a slow cook method for building long term sustainable engagement with the market. It gets some quick wins with people who are already in a purchase cycle, helps qualify existing opportunities, and shortens the sale cycle by assisting in leveraging education to build momentum and evangelism within complex purchase cycles. But, the reality is that if a buyer is ready to purchase and actively shopping, awareness marketing is probably going to drive faster demand. The challenge is that it is a depreciating investment in that if a buyer isn’t ready today, it is largely lost on them.

Social target marketing is an appreciating investment in that it adds value to the sale, but also the volume of content and relationships built in the market produce increasing residual brand equity in the market over time.

From a marketing budgeting perspective, we get asked all the time how do you stack up against X or Y marketing channels?  Can you produce more leads, lower cost, better quality? The answer is yes, but not right away. It takes time to build momentum. As a CMO, I always want to balance short-term quick wins, with mid-term investments to make sure that I built a base over time, but didn’t take a short-term hit to performance. I also knew that long term was too long in marketing. Balance is key.

Tactical marketing campaigns provide quick hits that juice our lead numbers, but you can’t expect strategic value over the long haul (market-share) from just tactical, awareness campaigns. You have to invest in longer term, more strategic activities that will bear fruit over time. The savvy marketing organizations know how to balance both to produce both short-term spikes, but also to balance with stable, continuous growth over time.

As a marketer, I also look for an edge in the market. Something that gives me a disproportionate return on my marketing spend. Email marketing and SEO did that a few years ago. Marketing automation is helping today. But what comes next?

If you haven’t looked at social target marketing as part of your strategic marketing tool kit, you may miss an early growth opportunity for quick impact from first mover advantage and also miss out on a bridge to longer term growth.

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at or contact him directly at

  • Saumya Purkayastha

    Awesome article Matt. I really appreciate the thought that there has to a fine tune and balance between traditional, new and newer forms of marketing, promos and lead gen. Along with an increase in the efforts in present channels there has to be a more deliberate focus on finding out what are the new channels which can be brought into the play.