MARKETING 101

I hate running.

It hurts my legs, my lungs, my back, my tits.

I run between 3.5 - 4+ miles, five days a week.

I continue to run because the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

I hate being fat, and running is the quickest calorie burn I know of (my me-time is hugely limited with two jobs and two kids). Running helps me think. It not only activates neural connectivity, it's also a quiet space, undisturbed by kids or clients. I get to listen to my music, blasting loud through my earbuds, let it absorb me, the rhythm drive me, and in moments it feels like I'm flying.

I run whether I'm healthy, sick with a flu or anything else that isn't laying me out on my death bed because I'm afraid if I give myself one excuse not to run it will lead to another, and in short order I'll quit running. But I won't quit--as long as the benefits serving my needs outweigh the hardships.

Benefits that fulfill Need is, or should be, the foundation of all marketing efforts.

95% of all Startups fail within the first 3 yrs. Want to know why? They employ the "Fire, Aim, Ready," marketing approach. MVP (minimum viable product) is the new hip, slick and trendy way to market in the [Silicon] Valley these days. MVP startups are flooding the net with tweets, updates, ads, videos and such, advertising their new products and services that are either already available through a competitor, and/or with no discerning or lasting value to anyone. 

Been a MarCom consultant for 25 yrs. Worked with a ton of startups who didn't bother to productize their offering (Get Ready...), nor consistently analyse and realign to their competition, or invest in R&D to continually fulfill their current customers, and potential markets needs. And I've watched them fold, over and over, sometimes in ridiculously short order.

The internet is not the solution to effective selling. No doubt, there are great marketing opportunities online. Websites, e-blasts, landing pages, PPC ads, blogs...etc, are tools to market with. But marketing online, or offline IS THE SAME THING. The basic Principles of Marketing must be applied to sell (beyond the freakish, short-lived fad), and grow any business.

Print, online, or on the friggin moon, Marketing is selling BENEFITS to fulfill a NEED for a specific AUDIENCE. Advertising, PR, branding, visual design, copywriting, marketing communications are, or should be, developed, designed and produced to SELL products/services/message.

Marketing 101-- "Ready, Aim, Fire!" IN ORDER:

1. Productize— identify features, benefits and differentiators of your offering to fill a need of specific group of people (target market/audience).
2. Brand— establish image and voice through marketing tools and communications (identity; websites; advertising) that speak directly to your audience.
3. Launch— launch websites and marketing campaigns with Calls-To-Action (CTAs) that motivate people to act— to click, buy, or buy into your message.

The new order of entrepreneur is young, weened on TV and technology, and generally taught to specialize in a very narrow range. Unfortunately, opting for graphic tricks over real content, and relying on Google Analytics doesn't actually sell much. Ads are created on the cheap by some foreign hacker or in-house admin, and going out on the net to the world, not a targeted market (which the world is not).

Measuring response rates isn't new. It's been in the background since advertising began. While analytics are gaining traction, to get any meaningful results requires huge data sets, which most startups have yet to amass. Even with fairly accurate analytics, they are still responding to the aggregate, not the individual, which is why analytics are not the solution to effective selling either. Marketing is dynamic, results variable by the day, time of day, day of week, the weather, social trends, financial climates.

The Principles of Marketing may be simple--fulfilling needs of a target audience-- but motivating people to bend to our will isn't easy. Beyond the primary building blocks of any campaign, at Marketing's core is psychology. Marketing pros study people, not code. Coding, especially with ever-emerging technologies, is time consuming to learn, and generally requires a different kind of awareness than psychology. I've yet to meet a web developer who's demonstrated mastery in marketing. Competent at development means they're investing time in technology, not in the study of human nature.

While most of my marketing projects are online now, I tell my clients the net is not the answer to effective marketing. New avenues of selling will arise, and others fade away, but the growth of any business, idea/message, or even activity, like running, is in its benefits, continually filling the need/s of a target audience.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, how refreshing to the soul. Your article hit home on many points the clear resounding theme is ... We have lost our understanding of what real and successful marketing is all about. We are trying to put shiny new curtains up instead of maintaining the foundation. Marketing that will succeed long-term is developed with real messaging targeted at the user/customer/reader. No flashes, blips, hallelujahs or visual gags will hold someone's attention long enough to develop a long-term partnership that will bring long-term success. We are goldfish swimming back and forth in our fish tanks weaving 30 second blimps of memory behind. One better be better than just good.

Unknown said...

buzzwords they be....by the time they figure out what marketing is really all about, it may be too late for them....how true!

Many designers of web media don't get that either.... but the one thing you can count on is change. If you are not able to modify your ideas, designs, and content to take advantage of some of the old marketing principles and work them into new media like web, then it can be said that philosophy is headed for failure also.

J. Cafesin said...

As a point of note: A CD, AD, visual designer is only as good as their developer/s. We are a team-- designers provide visual/content expression of marketing direction, and developers manifest that vision.