No, that’s not marketing

Marketing is one of the only professions I know of where just about everyone thinks they can just get into it without any formal training. I can’t imagine showing up at a business one day saying, “I did my own taxes, so I can be your accountant,” or showing up at a hospital with an application to be a nurse because I spent hours on WebMD. And sure, marketers aren’t saving lives or handling finances, but what we know (or don’t know) can make the difference between your business succeeding or failing miserably.

Marketing is also incredibly nebulous as a professional distinction. Contrary to popular believe, advertising isn’t the same as marketing. PR is not the same as marketing. Communications isn’t the same as marketing and Branding isn’t the same as marketing either. Even Sales is often completely separate from marketing. Brand and advertising and PR and content and digital and consumer insights and pricing and social and events and product and positioning and communications and a whole bunch of other stuff are all part of the marketing toolkit, but they aren’t “marketing.”

Marketing, in it’s purest form, is about connecting companies with customers through understanding the market, developing the right product for that market, finding the right channels to distribute to that market, and creating the strategy to make it all work together. It could involve any number of the aforementioned tactics and channels, but it’s the job of a marketer to get the product or service to the market in the most effective way.

Marketing has gotten insanely complicated because of the number of tactics and channels available. There are, literally, hundreds of marketing channels and tactics. There are also millions of businesses that are using these channels towards similar goals – 6 million of them on Facebook advertising alone!

There are, literally, HUNDREDS of marketing channels and tactics today. All of these businesses are competing for attention and market share, and most of them are focused on tactics. “Let’s do video!” No! “Let’s do a podcast!” No! “We have to do influencer marketing!” No! “Let’s do Instagram ads!” Tomorrow something else will get hyped up and they’ll run in a new direction, all the while spending their hard-earned money with very mixed (and mostly vanity) results.

I wasn’t always a marketer. I started out with a communications degree and a love of research, but I knew nothing about marketing. 20+ years later, hundreds of projects, experience on client side and agency side, several products built and lots of education along the way, I’ve figured out a thing or two about marketing. And here is that thing (or two):

Self-serve ad platforms aren’t marketing and they give a false sense of accomplishment in this realm that is, likely, more harmful than it is helpful for businesses that need real marketing. Videos, podcasts, and content, in general, isn’t marketing. They’re great tactics for the right audience and, if done well, can be a cornerstone of your marketing strategy, but doing a series of videos isn’t going to automatically open the floodgates of customers. I could go on (and have and will), but as a rule, anyone who tries to sell you on specific tactics isn’t a marketer and they don’t understand marketing.

If you’re looking to grow your business, sustain your business, make your business more profitable or otherwise market your business, you’ll want to work with someone who spends the time to understand your market, understand if you have the right product for that market (if not, they will tell you that you are focusing on the wrong market or need to change your product), identify the right channels of distribution for both your product and your message, and put it all together in a measurable plan.

Anything less is not marketing.


SOURCE: Marketing Commute


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