What’s the REAL Purpose of Marketing?

Posted on 18 January 2010

What’s the REAL purpose of marketing? When I ask my friends, twitter buddies, clients and students that question, I get answers such as: to make people aware of my product or service; to build my brand; to communicate a message; to create demand; to make people have nice warm fuzzy feelings about my company; to build customer goodwill; to protect my company’s reputation; to manage the customer relationship, etc. etc.

Yes, that’s all well and good, but what’s the ultimate purpose of all that?

One of my favourite quotes about marketing comes from Sergio Zyman, the former global marketing boss of The Coca-Cola Company and the author of “The End of Marketing As We Know It” and “The End of Advertising As We Know It”. He wrote: “The purpose of marketing is to sell more stuff.” (By the way, I’m pretty sure that when Mr Zyman said “stuff”, he didn’t mean “useless crap that nobody needs”. No. “Stuff” means your product or service, or even your ideas.)

I love that! No coy, apologetic wimpiness. It cuts through all the fluff and unashamedly gets right down to the essence of the issue. Because if your marketing activities aren’t resulting in measurable sales, what’s the point?

Even if your company sponsors a worthy charity (perhaps under the banner of your Corporate Social Responsibility programme), ultimately, the purpose HAS to be “to sell more stuff”, right? What do you think?

Of course it’s not just about “selling stuff” at any price – you have sell PROFITABLY to stay in business. But the issue of pricing, well, that’s another story…

The Lesson: To quote Mr Zyman once again: “The purpose of marketing is to sell more stuff.”

Action Step: When you’re considering a possible marketing strategy, ask yourself this question: How will this help me sell more of my “stuff”?


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