Since fulfilling my dream of starting my own marketing company, I’ve had many people ask me: “So what is marketing?” Some have even said, “I don’t see why I need to hire someone to do my marketing. I can just do it myself.” Instead of selling myself to you, let me start by telling you what marketing is and what it means to your business.
By dictionary definition, marketing is:
the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
If you have a product, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you’d like to sell it. If you have an event, you’re going to need advertisement. You could have the best product in the world, but without the right presentation, it’s just another product. Nobody will know just how remarkable your product really is. For instance, if you have cooked a steak and you want me to buy it, you’re not just going to put up a sign that says “Steaks for sale.” You’re going to dress it up with garnish, drizzle a homemade sauce around it, tell me how juicy, succulent, and top of the line it is. Now, there may be other chefs who are using the same tactics, so how do you stand out? Sure, they have the drizzle, the garnish, and the product but yours is so much better! How would you get that point across? How do you market your steak so that when I’m hungry I go to your establishment and not straight to Outback? How do you make me want to buy into your brand? That’s where the magic of marketing comes in.
A huge component of marketing is research. If you want to sell me something, show me that you’ve studied it frontwards and backwards. I should never ask you a question and you get stumped. You need to be the go-to person, the one that’s always “in the know.” Nobody should know your product better than you. If you haven’t studied the category or field of a service or product that you’re providing, then I’m not going to bank on you. I’m going to take my time and money to someone who is knowledgeable because if you have done your research then I know your product is the one that is going to be worth my money.
This also applies if you have a personal brand such as motivational speaking, event hosting, etc. Of course a company could hire someone else but not someone with your attitude, your personality, your je ne sais quoi. You are different, you’re special, the best! But you don’t know how to get that point across do you? Your brand should speak for itself. I should look at your advertisements and say “This is who he/she is” before you even introduce yourself. You have to make people want to invest in what you’re offering. These are rules in everyday life, whether you’re elbowing the girls in the coffee room to get the cute new exec’s attention or you’re competing for a promotion at your job. You must stand out from the pack.
Marketing is what made you choose that $500 handbag at Neiman’s over the $40 one at Burlington that looks exactly the same. Marketing is why you’ll buy store brand groceries over the generic ones. Every brand and everyone uses and needs marketing. Your company's name is not Krispy Kreme and as one social media expert puts it, your name is not Beyonce. Word of mouth and gaining superstar status with cult-like fans should not be your entire strategic marketing plan. Marketing takes you from ordinary to extraordinary, from an option to a priority. So… are you going to be a piece of meat or filet mignon? The choice is yours.
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