If you think about the different departments that go into running a large and successful company, the “marketing” department is always going to be pretty prominent among them. That’s not really too surprising considering what an essential part of any business marketing is.
But, when all is said and done, what does “marketing” really even mean? Is it really the kind of unattractive used-car salesman endeavour that it’s often made out to be? And is it all about technicalities and logistics, such as how to get planning permission for hoarding advertising?
For a lot of people, “marketing” is a dirty word, simply because of the associations they’ve developed with the term, and assumptions about what it necessarily entails.
Ultimately, though, “marketing” is simply a concept, and can be approached from any number of different directions.
Here’s what “marketing” really means, at its core.
Putting your product or service somewhere where people can see it
Perhaps the most straightforward explanation of what marketing really is, is that it’s the art of putting your product or service somewhere where other people can see it.
Think of it this way – you could spend years refining your service, and ensuring that it’s absolutely world-class, bar none. But, if you’ve got no way of showing it to other people, it will simply never take off, and your business will never make any money off of it at all.
Marketing is fundamentally a matter of visibility. You want to go where your prospective clients congregate, and make them aware of what you’re doing. No more, no less.
Effectively explaining the benefits of your product or service, so that other people can benefit from it too
Following on from the last point, wouldn’t it be pretty bad if you had a truly revolutionary and life-changing service that could massively improve people’s well-being, but never shared it with anyone?
Effective communication is another one of the core columns of ethical marketing, and is fundamentally about figuring out how to inform people about the benefits that you can offer them, so that they don’t miss out, but are instead intrigued to find out more.
To this end, you will need to really distill the Unique Selling Proposition that lies behind your product or service, so that you can convey it in as few words as possible.
Being attention-grabbing enough that people actually stop to hear you out
This is the part of the marketing equation that is most often responsible for all the bad press that “marketing” gets.
In today’s world, there are always a virtually limitless number of different options out there, and plenty of different information streams flowing in all directions at any given time.
In order to effectively display, and convey the benefits of your product or service, therefore, you’ve got to be able to be attention-grabbing enough that people actually stop to hear you out.
You’ll have to get creative here, but you should avoid being hyperbolic or manipulative. Figuring out ways to entertain people is always a better strategy.