It wasn’t that long ago that I was at a barbeque at a friend’s house (on one of those few days in Melbourne when it was actually summer) when the topic, inevitably shifted to what we all do for a living.
You know the story, right? A couple of people whom I had never met before were excited to hear that I was in business for myself. I still enjoy that feeling, so when I told them I had a marketing business, I knew precisely what the next question was -which is…
“So, (pause), what is Marketing?”
I should have a stock standard elevator pitch rehearsed so I can simply press play in my memory to respond to this very common question. Even if I did, I don’t think that would work. Anyway, for the readers of this column, who perhaps would also like to ask me the same question, keep reading.
A definition of Marketing. Sounds simple?
The truth is, this is where it starts to get interesting. There are so many definitions of Marketing and just a quick look at Wikipedia will demonstrate this to you. In the definition sphere, there tend to be definitions that are very theoretical and others that are more corporate sounding or those that provide focus for a particular niche audience. Exhausting. So I am glad that Mark Crowe from the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) concurs.
Marks says that “some definitions cover activity but not strategy, others describe it as a management process but not its value creating output. On the other hand, a number of all embracing short definitions often become too simple and meaningless -therefore lacking in distinctiveness.” A minefield for anyone wanting a simple answer.
For the record, this is the AMI’s definition of Marketing –
Marketing creates value -for customers, shareholders and society as a whole. It does this by creating an alignment between what consumers value and what organisations offer. It offers techniques that help firms better understand the needs, preferences and perceptions of their customers (a prerequisite to adding value to them), and ways of using that understanding to focus the value-creating and communicating activities of the firm into areas where they will be most effective. (Roberts & Styles 2000)
So what is Marketing?
In my line of work, and perhaps for the Business Owner readers of this column, I like to describe Marketing as a journey, a process that can be constantly reviewed and refined. An ongoing commitment to adding value and growing sales, so I tend to explain it in the following way.
Marketing is –
1. Identifying a gap in the market;
2. Creating a brand;
3. Building a brand personality;
4. Defining an ideal (and loyal) customer/client base;
5. Having something unique to say and offer;
6. Becoming known to the ideal client/customer base (creating awareness); and
7. Being on the ideal client/customer shopping list when they are ready to purchase.
Definitions aside, I do think that in the main, people tend to get mixed up (especially in BBQ situations) because they think that sales and marketing are the same things. Whilst the Sales and Marketing functions work together and complement one another, they are not the same.
In summary, and for the record, it’s the marketing activity that (generally speaking) happens before the sales stuff. Whilst it is first, it then keeps on occurring during the sales process and after the sales transaction as well. It’s a continuous process. Something that most business owners would acknowledge is that marketing is a constant and ongoing process in your business.
Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing, the marketing agency Melbourne [http://www.nextmarketing.com.au] residents turn to when seeking a professional marketing solution. Her team can help you devise a marketing strategy, implement a social media plan, and her highly talented graphic designers work alongside her marketing pros to build a solid marketing plan that will help you attract more customers, expand your business, and build momentum for many months to come. You can find her on almost every social media platform out there as well as sharing fantastic tips and insider info on Next Marketing’s blog