Marketing's Many Meanings. Beware Of The Why, But Help With The How

How do you define marketing? Go ahead, think about it? What is marketing and what does it mean to you? What does it mean to your customer and even more importantly…their customer?

Marketing has many definitions it all depends on who you ask. I found two I want to share with you. This one is from Diego Rodriguez is short, to the point, and gets the basics out there: “Identifying desirable experiences, then delivering them.” But this one from Harvard Business School’s Marketing Unit really made me think: “Marketers concern themselves with acquiring and retaining customers, who are the lifeblood of an organization. They attract customers by learning about potential needs, helping to develop products that customers want, creating awareness, and communicating benefits; they retain them by ensuring that they get good value, appropriate service, and a stream of future products. The marketing function not only communicates to the customer, but also communicates the needs of the customer to the company. In addition, it arranges and monitors the distribution of products and/or services from company to customer.” There’s a lot in this definition. How much of it do you do now for you business? Are you aware of how your customers are doing this for their business? Can you help your customers get new customers or keep the ones they have? How unique is your help?

Marketing isn’t like it used to be. In the old days money, at times BIG money, was spent to buy TV ads, radio ads and lots of print in magazines, bill boards, letters, flyers and so much more. Rarely did it get measured for effectiveness but that’s just how it was done.

Today the BIG money isn’t being spent like it used to be and marketing isn’t being done the way it used to be. Today the critical dollars that do get spent on marketing need more than an average to measure the investment. Real time information that proves the time and money spent was worth the effort is where success is being defined. It’s possible to do it with today’s technologies (direct marketing, variable information, PURLs and more), but it’s hard to get people to try it because it means they have to change. Change’s big roadblock is rarely not knowing “how”…it’s the fear to try something that’s unknown.

The usual marketing methods are still in play: Advertising, Direct Marketing, Guerilla Marketing, Positioning, Public Relations, Relationship Marketing and even Viral Marketing are still going on. But there are new ways to get the job done. It’s worth the investigation into seeing how your customer currently markets to their customers and see if you can’t research ways they could do it differently while enabled by the products and services you represent. You will surely set yourself apart from most of your competition that still believes as long as it’s faster, cheaper and quality capable then they should get the business.

Understand the different “whys” your customer may want to change then show them “how” to get it done. Products and services are tactical ways to get something done…but understanding the strategy of where someone is and where they want to go can bring you to a whole new level of a relationship with your customers and potential customers and get them to see the value in a relationship with you and your company. In and of it self, that is a different way to market you and your services. Take some time to answer the questions here and share them with your customers. The experiences in answering the questions is oftentimes more valuable than the answers.

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