What’s the Point of Marketing?
Posted on 05 June 2014
Why is marketing important? And what’s the point of marketing YOUR business?
Lots of business owners I speak to – especially in the helping, healing and service professions – feel uncomfortable about the very word “marketing”. They think marketing is pushy, sleazy and unethical (unfortunately, when it’s done badly, marketing can be like that), and they don’t want people to perceive them that way.
So they coyly couch the word “marketing” in terms they think are more acceptable, less scary: “public relations”, “branding”, “publicity”, “building a tribe”, “sharing”…
But let’s get real! Think of all the activities you might do that fall under the wide umbrella of marketing:
- Researching and designing your products and services
- Ensuring that every customer’s experience is user-friendly, delightful, amazing…
- Creating a website
- Writing effective and shareworthy taglines, brochures, blog posts, enewsletters, white papers, books, ebooks, emails, video scripts, tweets…
- Producing flyers and posters
- Doing surveys
- Creating videos
- Sending out media releases and doing interviews
- Creating promotional materials and corporate gifts: t-shirts, calendars, pens, coffee mugs…
- Gathering testimonials
- Doing webinars and teleseminars
- Printing business cards
- Having a booth at a trade show
- Offering discounts, coupons, loyalty cards, membership programs…
- Offering no-cost samples of your products or services
- Creating affiliate deals
- Doing competitions
- Attending networking events
- Public speaking engagements
- Corporate Social Responsibility programs
- SEO (search engine optimisation)
- Creating social media accounts
- Following/liking people and companies on social media
- Asking people to “Like” your Facebook page
- Sponsoring worthy causes
- Getting a professional to design your logo, staff uniforms, shop or office interior…
- Doing flashmobs
- Commenting on other people’s blog posts
- Training your staff
What’s the point of all those activities? It’s to build the “like, trust and respect” factor, to build awareness and word-of-mouth buzz, to be seen as a responsible corporate citizen, to make your company’s online content easily findable and shareable, to establish and nurture relationships, to be seen as a thought leader, to get media coverage…
And deep down, what’s the point of all THAT?
It’s to sell more of your products and services, more often, to more people, preferably at a profit, right?!
Just to be clear: I’m not recommending that you sell useless crap, and I’m not advocating mindless, wasteful consumerism. But if you’re in business, you want to sell your products and services and make a profit so that you can keep on serving your customers, employing your staff and making a difference in the world, don’t you? Otherwise your business is just an expensive hobby.
So please don’t be apologetic about marketing.
The lesson: As Sergio Zyman, the former chief marketing officer at The Coca-Cola Company and the author of “The End of Marketing As We Know It”, said: “The purpose of marketing is to sell more stuff.” (I like that quote so much I use it on my website.)
- Let go of any beliefs you have about marketing being pushy, sleazy and unethical – they’re not helping you, or the clients who want and need your products or services.
- Get very clear that EVERYTHING you do in your business has marketing implications, because everything you do affects people’s perceptions, motivations and expectations about you, your company and your products and services, and that affects their behaviour: they’ll either buy from you or they won’t. (In fact, my definition of marketing is: Managing perceptions, motivations and expectations.)
- When you’re considering any potential marketing activity, ask yourself: “How is this going to lead to actual sales?” (I’m not saying it’s easy to measure that process – that’s another story.)
I’d love to hear what you think. Do you enjoy marketing yourself and your products and services, or does it make you cringe? Please post a comment.