May 01 2011

What Exactly Is Marketing?

Why is marketing important for an entrepreneur’s success? What exactly is marketing, anyway? Business owners tend to over complicate it’s simplicity. Marketing includes everything you do that places your product or service in front of your prospects. It includes sales, advertising, pricing, packaging and delivery. All these activities are coordinated into a strategy that allows you to receive fair compensation for supplying a good product or service.

So what’s the problem? The focus many times starts in the wrong place. S.H. Simmons, a writer and humorist explains with a funny story about relationships. I’ll paraphrase what he said…

  • Marketing – A man praises a woman by showering her with compliments. He says all the right things to the right person.
  • Advertising – A man tells a woman everything about himself and how successful he is.
  • Public Relations – The man’s friend tells the woman all about the man and how smart and successful he is.

The point Simmons makes is that marketing should focus on whatever the customer needs, wants, or requires. To do that successfully, you have to constantly look at what those needs are. They change all the time. What is true today may not be valid tomorrow.

You can have the most brilliant strategy to get your products into the right hands, but it will not earn you a penny unless it is built around your customer needs. Bottom line, marketing does not begin with a great product. It begins with customers. It begins with people who want or need your product and are willing to actually buy it!

I remember spending months and months putting an educational program together for elementary schools kids. It was a program to help kids identify their special talents and the importance of education. It was very proud of what I created. It was going to change the world! I was disappointed when I found out no one wanted it!!

I think that happens to many entrepreneurs. They get so wrapped up in their ideas, they naturally assume everyone else will too. I know I did. The bad news – It just doesn’t work that way.

Marlon Sanders, a modern day marketing wizard, illustrates this perfectly in one of his videos. A struggling marketer who couldn’t seem to come up with a successful product asks Marlon “No one is buying my stuff. Why are you so successful?  What are you selling?” Marlon answers, “I’m selling whatever they’re buying.” Bingo!

The hard lesson a marketer needs to learn is that the most creative ideas, the greatest product features ever imagined, or the most superior service only succeed when you market within the context of what people want. People really don’t buy your “product”, they buy what it’s going to do for them. Before you invest your life savings into a new venture, take the time to find out who your potential customers are. That is being a smart marketer.

Are you marketing, or are you only using advertising and PR?

1 Comment

  • By Glen, March 11, 2010 @ 8:26 am

    There are a lot of good products that fail because they aren’t promoted properly.
    And there are a lot of bad products that become successful because of great marketing..

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