The Marketing Lecture
On the first day of my marketing course, the lecturer walked in and wrote on the board:
Marketing is the world’s only truly useless industry. It does nothing except create advertising people don’t want to watch, products people don’t need to buy and expenses that must be absorbed into the purchase price of everything they touch.
“Okay,” the lecturer said. “I’m lying, of course. What’s wrong with this statement?”
There was a long, uncomfortable pause, then some mature-aged student came up with the sort of pathetic answer that made the rest of us glad we hadn’t spoken up. The lecturer wrote it on the board, and for the next 55 minutes we thought up useful things marketers did. By the end, the lecturer had covered the board with our ideas and we were all feeling pretty smart.
“You’re all wrong,” he said. “None of you picked what was wrong with it.”
He stared around the room until the mature-aged student couldn’t contain herself any longer and asked, “So... what is wrong with it?”
The lecturer, who I still regard as the only one of my teachers who truly understood marketing, said:
“There are two truly useless industries. The other is accounting.”