Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What is marketing anyway?

It isn’t rocket science. It’s marketing. What we do is pretty straightforward; we create and distribute messages to get people’s attention so we can convince them to buy more of our stuff. That's not to say the implementation of specific tactics, or the analytics behind a new campaign aren't complicated - they certainly are. But our general approach to "marketing" doesn't have to be.

In the real world, you can have a great strategy, a message that customers care about, fantastic creative ideas and a website that brings tears to your eyes…but if no one hears you then none of it matters. In other words, you need to be heard, otherwise what’s the point? This is especially true for emerging businesses. You know the kind, start-ups that are ready to take off, small businesses on the brink of making it big or divisions of large corporations with a point to prove.

In his book, The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker wrote that "Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business."

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as "an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders".

In today's overly messaged marketing landscape, a more pragmatic answer to the question seems like the right way to go. I define marketing as the way messages about your company, product or service are created and communicated with your customers in order to elicit a positive response. In other words, marketing is the way we create and distribute messages to get people’s attention so we can convince them to buy more of our stuff. (Yes, I did just repeat myself because I think this is really important).

The response can be a decision to purchase from your company, to refer a friend or colleague, or to learn more about your offerings. In any case, these positive responses engage the customer so that you can build a relationship that will ultimately lead to an increase in sales. After all, isn’t that the point?

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