Marketing is more than just selling shit.
There are some common misconceptions about marketing that need to be addressed. Without fully understanding what marketing is and how it functions it is impossible to appreciate why it is important and what benefits it can bring to your brand.
Marketing done properly can build your brand, grow a base of loyal and engaged customers and help you make money. But you need to make sure that you really understand the basics of marketing – what it is, how it works, when and why to use it – before you jump in and start splashing the cash.
Even if you pay a consultant (like me) to handle your whole digital marketing 'kit and caboodle' you should still have a good, working understanding of marketing so you can clearly communicate, strategise and understand the significance of certain tactics, decisions or data.
This blog post runs you through what digital marketing is, exactly what elements of your business it has its fingers in and why should prioritise it and give it the respect and time it deserves.
What is Marketing?
Like any 15-year-old preparing for their very first debate we’ll start off with a definition. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing as:
Granted this reads as a load of waffle and doesn’t really clear up how marketing functions in the real world. So let’s investigate the international Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) instead as it's a lot clearer than the scrabble jumble of words the AMA came up with.
The central focus of marketing is customers – anticipating their needs and successfully delivering on them. Marketing is not solely focused on profits because this is not the best way to build a business – all businesses have ‘customers’ and these customers should always be a focus because without the customers there is no business.
Additionally profit, when considered against customer satisfaction, is of equal concern – if you’re not making money your business cannot survive and your customers suffer.
See (not to sound too much like Mufasa) it's a symbiotic circle where one cannot exist without the other.
What do Marketers do?
As customer experience and satisfaction is a focus it stands to reason that marketing starts long before the sale is made and keeps going on long after. Yep, its not just about advertising, promotions and sales.
Marketers focus on building a brand identity, researching the market to provide the scope for a product that is needed and wanted, finding the best way to promote it, the best sales channels, right focus for after-sales support, the most effective customer service model, a product’s life-cycle, plus a million other tasks and tactics.
The point of this is not to outline just how amazingly similar we are to real-life superheroes carrying the weight on a company on our backs (…. just call me Wonder Woman 😉) but just how misunderstood the Marketing profession is.
There is this misconception that marketing is simply about advertising, or perhaps more specifically about Promotion. But that is only one small part of what we do – if you thought it was all promotional stuff you’re not daft, in fairness it probably is the most visible and obvious of our responsibilities. In actual fact we're just really good at being ninjas and doing a million other things behind the scenes that you don't see.
Just to be 100% clear, digital marketers do not believe their role is to simply sell ‘shit’ (a phrase I’ve often heard in relation to my job). Mainly we’re creative, data and word nerds (holla!) who just want to make it as easy for customers to find what you want or need. We’re not devious, super villains manipulating people to buy stuff they don’t need for wheelbarrows of money – we’re superheroes fighting for customers, remember?
And that’s why marketing is important to both customers and business owners. Marketers make it easy for the customers to find, buy and use the product that they want and need, and this means, as a business, you’re more successful and more profitable.
How Does Marketing Benefit My Business?
So if you're still reading, I've explained what marketing is and what marketers do but this doesn't explain why you should invest time or money into it. This is the bit where I tell you all about how marketing will make your business more profitable, successful and efficient.
For a business, marketing trickles down into so many areas and it ensures you’re not wasting time, money or resources, for example:
Good market research will tell you how well your product is suited to the market, how it should be priced, who your audience is and the best sales channels
Miss this and your product might flop, you could waste money promoting it to the wrong audience or the pricing could be off. All of these will cost you big bucks
Produce a whole advertising campaign including content that doesn’t resonate with your audience and you may as well be hiring a hotel room with some mates and #makinitrain
Only think about what you need to do to sell the product and you're customers suffer meaning that you're spending all your money gaining customers and they're immediately walking out the door never to buy from you again.
All of this means your end game is, and should be, customer experience and customer satisfaction. If you’re making smart business decisions that are in the best interests of your customers and not #1 (that’s you) then you’re going in the right direction.
If you’re wondering how you do this simply ask “What Do My Customers Want?”. If you cannot quantifiably and truthfully answer that, then you should be doing some customer research before you spend the money.
Or hire a digital marketer to do the heavy lifting for you.
If all of this doesn’t convince you that you need to invest in digital marketing, I’ll blow your mind with data.
81%! That is an enormous number of potential customers you could be introducing to and educating about your product, but if you’re not in the game you’re certainly not going to win.
You need to be managing a website, keeping track of the conversations, reviews and articles that are written about you and your brand and you need to be on social media to engage with your customer base because 71% of people that have a positive experience through social media will recommend you to a friend and word of mouth referrals has always been one of the most effective converters.
To sum up
• Marketing is about anticipating and meeting the customers needs and wants profitably
• Marketing is not manipulative promotion just to “sell shit”
• Digital marketing will open up your potential customer base.
How does this sit with your understanding of marketing? Did I drop some truth bombs for you or were you all over it?
Who are you & why are you giving me all this awesome help?
Hi, my name is Millie and I’m a Tasmanian digital marketer, word nerd and coffee addict. Squawk Digital is my Hobart based digital marketing studio.
We're all about custom solutions that are highly practical and designed to work with your current structure, processes and workflows. We don't do cookie-cutter, boring arse generic marketing because it doesn't work, and we’re all bored with that shit - you know that’s true.