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(originally published by Booz & Company)


Keeping Marketing’s Promises

What companies need, therefore, is a new approach to demand creation that actually enables — make that forces — a company to be what it says it is. To borrow the phrase architect Jon Jerde made famous, that discipline is placemaking. Places are what provide the primary means for companies to demonstrate exactly what they are for both current and potential customers. Companies that embrace placemaking understand a fundamental dictum for contending with authenticity: The experience is the marketing. In other words, the best way to generate demand for any offering — whether a commodity, good, service, other experience, or even a transformation — is for potential (and current) customers to experience that offering in a place so engaging that they can’t help but pay attention, and then pay up as a result by buying that offering. Stop saying what your offerings are through advertising, and start creating places — permanent or temporary, physical or virtual, fee-based or free — where people can experience what those offerings, as well as your enterprise, actually are.

Author Profiles:

James H. Gilmore ([email protected]) and B. Joseph Pine II ([email protected]) are cofounders of Strategic Horizons LLP. 
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  1. Stuart Elliott, “Working to Sell Advertisers on Newspapers and Magazines,” New York Times, Feb. 15, 2006: The Magazine Publishers of America responded to the increasing competition for advertising dollars by launching a series of their own ads, hoping to convince marketers that print media was still a viable way to reach consumers. Click here.
  2. James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II, Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want (Harvard Business School Press, 2007): The book from which this article was excerpted. Click here.
  3. Geoffrey Precourt, ed., CMO Thought Leaders: The Rise of the Strategic Marketer (strategy+business Books, 2007): This book offers insight from 15 top marketing leaders on the current and future direction of their field. Click here.
  4. Richard Rawlinson, “Beyond Brand Management,” s+b, Summer 2006: As traditional forms of marketing such as direct mail and brand advertising are supplanted by unprecedented forms of electronic media, marketers find themselves forced to master new skills, both qualitative and quantitative. Click here.
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