I spend a lot of time in this column talking about what branding is, what social media is and what marketing is and I try to get the message out that every company has a story to tell. It is our job as marketing professionals to create that story, make it an alluring and attractive story, and get it out in front of the right people. Doing that the right way will help your company be found and known and will make the job of your sales team that much easier.
But honestly, there is so much confusion about exactly what marketing is that I thought it was time to clear the air by talking about what marketing is not.
Marketing is not a miracle solution that will automatically bring you sales. It’s really part of a complete mosaic made up of a combination of a great product, great customer service, and great story and a great strategy, great sales tactics and a great sales team. All of these are “tiles’ in the mosaic of a great company.
Marketing alone will not bring you sales, nor will a part of your marketing effort. If you tell me that you placed one ad, once and got nothing out of it, you really don’t know what marketing is. If you tell me that you sent out three short sales flashes and did not get a single order, that “the phone did not even ring…once”, you don’t know what marketing is. Or if you tell me that you don’t need salespeople because you have a good marketing plan; or that you don’t need marketing because you have great sales people, all I can say, is you don’t know what marketing is.
Marketing is tedious and repetitious. If you only send a message out once, you don’t know what marketing is. If you tell me that you’ve been saying the same thing in your ads for three months and you want a new message, you don’t know what marketing is. If you are afraid that people are going to be bothered by your ads…you don’t know what marketing is. How many people liked Mr. Whipple and his Charmin? The answer is no one except for Charmin which became the number one toilet paper in America because of that old grouch. How about “Ring around the collar?” That made Wisk the number one brand …for a period of time that is. When they stopped the ad, their sales hit bottom. Now I’m not saying that your advertising has to be as tedious and aggravating as those ads, but it has to be memorable, and to do that people have to see it a number of times before it will sink in. Just how many times is a subject of great debate. I have read that you have to hear, read, or watch an ad at least fifteen times before it will sink in. Your ad messaging has to be simple, clear, concise and yes of course that word again, memorable. Remember that just because you’re sick of your ad, does not mean that you should pull it. Remember you are not your customer.
And finally, marketing is not something you can live without. You need it if you are going to have a successful business. You need it if you are going to grow your business, and yes you need it to be found. If customers don’t know who you are and what you do, and how well, you do it…they are never going to buy from you. Marketing moves the world, Marketing is what makes your company stand out, and finally marketing creates greatness.
What? “Marketing creates greatness. How can that be?” I hear you asking. Let me explain. By developing a great marketing message, you are actually defining your company. You are waving your company flag, the flag that will lead your company to greatness. The better the flag, the stronger the message, the more inspired your work team will be. Great marketing not only defines your company, it also makes it better. When you develop a great message, even if that message reflects your company’s future vision, rather than where it is today, you are driving your team to fulfill that vision, and make your company that shining company on a hill that you described through your marketing message.
Apple of course, leads the way with this kind of marketing. They arguably do not make the best products in the world (don’t get me wrong, they are darn good), but they make people believe that they are the best in the world. Not only that, but their messaging is so good that it has created a cult-like following of people who want to be in the “Apple club”. People who will camp out on the sidewalk to be the first in line to buy their overpriced I-Phone and consider themselves heroic for being first. That ladies and gentlemen is the epitome of great marketing. “1984 will never be like 1984” and ‘’Think Different”? It doesn’t get any better than that! And the proof is in the fact that they are one of the most successful companies in the history of the world.
So, what’s your message? How are you going to come up with a marketing message that makes people want to join your cult, er I mean company? Think about it. Heck don’t just think about it…really THINK about it. Spend some time on your messaging every day and do it with intention. The company with the best marketing always wins in the end. It’s only common sense.