What is Marketing?
One day while in the introductory stages of a marketing consultation, a business associate of a client of mine was allowed to sit in; she was a creative thinker who was thought to be able to assist in the marketing efforts of the business. While listening to the objectives of the client, the friend interjected, stating that all the client’s marketing objectives can be met by a graphic designer, a videographer, and a techno-savvy teenager au fait with instagram, facebook and snapchat. Would you want such an ill-informed individual managing your marketing efforts? Call the professionals!
Do you view marketing as advertising, sales and promotion? This primeval and limiting view can tremendously hamper the earning potential of any organization, especially if it is a view held by major decision makers. This does not change because you are doing it online.
Creative ads and social media channels are extremely important for organisations to connect with consumers (especially millennials and centennials), and some organizations may use social media as mere avenues through which messages can be delivered to an audience. But is this what marketing is?
The associate of my client made it seem so simple: create an ad - post it - and watch your sales grow. This seemingly simple process must align with the organization's strategy and requires inputs which requires insight, or the sales won’t grow how you want it to. You may even damage your brand and future earning potential in the process. Without strategy and an understanding of your target audience, you will not even be able to determine what to put into your ad, or where to place it. At the most basic level, a video needs a script, actors, location, theme, and sometimes background music, and there must be a basis upon which the type, quality and style of each input is selected.
Before we get to advertising, sales or promotion, we must perform a number of necessary marketing activities in all departments. The right processes must be developed, the right people must be selected and the right competences must be acquired to achieve the right end - an end determined from the very beginning, because you must first decide what solution to create, and for whom it will be created. Marketing precedes, includes, and exceeds all other business activities. It should be at the very core of every action within an organization, as it is the apparatus that guides and drives growth within an organization. Marketing is beyond just being able to understand, communicate and deliver value to clients and other stakeholders profitably; it is the process of shaping reality (perception) to achieve a desired outcome.
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