Why Not Marketing?

A good deal of the feedback concerning my post on hypothetical conversation departments seems to indicate that the Conversation Department shouldn't report to marketing. I just listened to Rubel and Jaffe talk about the post a bit, and there it was again - an advancement of the notion that Consumer Conversation shouldn't be a marketing function. Why not?

Honestly, I really don't care one way or the other. But it seems that some folks are arguing that a "Chief Conversation Officer" should report directly to a CEO and that the function shouldn't be a marketing function. I happen to think that this argument is the result of a belief that anything remotely associated with marketing is lame, lame, lame.

I need something a little bit more substantial than that to make a case, though.

Remember that marketing's function within a company is (ostensibly) to find and develop markets for a product or service. And if you believe that markets are conversations, doesn't it logically follow that conversations fall into marketing's area of responsibility? I mean, I can understand that Cluetrainers are fighting the traditional tenets of marketing, but if you change the nature of marketing altogether, what could possibly be the objection to using marketing people to get the job done? Is it the assumption that an old dog can't learn new tricks?

For some new companies, it might be less painful to absorb the responsibility for participating in conversations into marketing, rather than create an entirely new department with a CCO (Chief Conversation Officer) reporting directly to the CEO. If we'd rather do it the second way instead of the first way, we need an argument a LOT more compelling than "Marketing Sucks."

I'm just sayin' is all.