There’s this weird misconception when I talk to people about Marketing; they seem to believe its some kind of performance. Like an illusive feature to business that not everyone needs. But, that is completely wrong. It’s a complete misunderstanding of what marketing does for a business. Every single person that tells me they have not been marketing their business is the liar. They are the magician that does not self identify as a performer. Just because you do not understand the thing you are talking about, does not mean you are not a participant in the act. Let me give you a very simple example.
The very foundation defining marketing, is what textbooks define as the “marketing mix” or the five (5) P’s. These are:
At a very basic level, when someone hires me to handle marketing these are the things I am concerned with developing. These are also the things that people are already handling. To do business, is to have a marketing mix. You must have a product (or service) to sell, you must decide where it will be available, the price you will charge customers, how you will let people know it exists, and who the people are that both sell and buy the product. You may call that owning a business. I call that marketing. And anyone that understands business, should too, call that marketing.
If you own a restaurant. You chose the location of that restaurant. You chose the prices of the food and drink that will be sold. You chose the wait staff and kitchen that would prepare the items. Now, you might think at that point you haven’t done marketing. Did you hang a sign outside the business? That is promotion. Did customers come in? Those are the customers.
Marketing is a verb. If you own a business, you are Marketing. If you don’t value marketing, then you don’t value the work you have done in opening your business. Period. Stop galavanting around as if “marketing” is something beyond what you have already done.
Why hire me? I will refine your marketing. I will optimize it. You may have defined the first four P’s in the list that lead up to people. I take those things, deal with the people, and help you refine all 5 P’s. It’s not rocket science, but it is very complex.
In my head exists a labyrinth. I can’t just hand over the labyrinth. Instead, I can show you how to build your own labyrinth. That’s why you hire me. You hire me to help you guide customers through the labyrinth that is your brand. We call that the customer journey. The decisions you’ve already made – maybe you call them operations – have created a labyrinth already. Many times it can feel like a maze rather than a labyrinth. The problem is customers need guides.
Many people think that the purpose of marketing is to “trick” or “influence” someone into doing something. That’s incredibly wrong. The purpose of marketing is to find market fit – to find customers that have the same beliefs as the brand and influence them to join the brand. In doing so, together we can find what’s best for the customer.
Its not a matter of what’s best for the business. What is best for the customer should be what’s best for the business. Of course, there are outliers. Not everyone is you customer. In these cases, there is an equilibrium where the transaction happens: what is best for the customer is also what is best for the company. This is equitable exchange, and it is what every company should strive for: true market fit.
It’s no coincidence that both an army and a business are called companies. The only difference is the target. With a brand, the company is looking for targets to join the company as customers. Customers can become advocates and even ascend the ranks as employees, managers, and investors. Brands are social entities where armies protect social entities. Both are supposed to be in service to society. Both require loyalty to endure.
And so, I too endure as a marketer. But, I am not an advertiser. I bring people together in company and community to endure the social experiences we call life. That’s what a marketer does. Marketers are not magicians, their not con artists, they are only one thing: they are people that understand people.
If I don’t understand you, you cannot be my customer. If you are my customer and I don’t seem like I understand you, it may be possible that I do understand you. I just can’t relate to you. And, if I cannot relate to you I cannot do my job. Which means, I am not your business developer. I can’t be a business developer for everyone. Just as not everyone can own business. And, more importantly, not everyone can be a customer.