What is Marketing?

21:55 Wednesday May 21, 2014

by Terrence Bull

A how to on marketing

There is so much misunderstanding around what marketing really is: some think it is just advertising, some think it is sales activity, and others think it is just branding. So here is a quick overview of what it really is.

There are two sides to marketing: Above-the-line Marketing and Below-the-line Marketing – sometimes also called Above and Below the line Advertising.

Above-the-line Marketing is what the public sees. This is the only part of our competitors marketing that we see – so often when we are playing ‘follow-the-leader’ this is what we end up doing, but badly. This is why most businesses believe that marketing is just about the advertising that the public sees.

In fact, real marketing is about what the client does not see. It is your branding and marketing strategies that drive the thinking and design work behind the public advertising. It is the coordination of all these mediums working together to create a result. It is a series of connected steps (see Chapter 12: Be a teacher, not a Guru also for more information).

Primarily, good marketing should be focusing your advertising on creating a healthy and active client database. From there you massage and grow that database through email, SMS and snail-mail marketing to create sales (see Chapter 15: Database Marketing for more information).

Your website, far from being just another advertising medium (or an electronic brochure), must have a client database attached to it or it simply does not fulfill the role it should. It needs to be a funnel to push clients into your database. Ideally it should have an active Client Relationship Management (CRM) system as an integral part of it in order to automate your sales and marketing and to get the most from any advertising initiative (see Chapter 7: Active vs Passive Client Relationship Management (CRM)). I could go further to say that in today’s world, without this sort of system you are unlikely to be able to create a successful business. It will only be a matter of time before you will no longer be in business.

Above-the-line marketing is merely the tip of the iceberg. Without good branding and a well-conceived strategy, it is like having a head with no body (that is, no heart and no legs).

The heart of your marketing is your branding (as Kevin Roberts, the global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, says – your branding is your Lovemark). Your marketing strategy, on the other hand, gives your marketing legs – without which your business will simply go nowhere.

One of the things I often hear is, “We already do marketing. I already have a brochure, print ads and a website – so what else do I need?” Or, “I have a website, so my company is online – job done!” As you can see, the job is far from being done! We often term this type of marketing ‘dead-head marketing’ – as it is a head with no body.

So many opportunities are lost through this type of marketing. When print ads fail, or radio ads don’t to get enough people responding to create a cashflow positive effect, this is the primary reason why.

When people simply see no results from their website – it just sits there doing nothing – they often get suckered into jumping on the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) band wagon trying to get ranked at the top of Google. They think that Google ranking is the issue – i.e. “No one is finding me out there, which is why my website does not work.” Without a hard look at the overall branding and marketing strategies being utilized, there is often no way to tell why a business’ website is failing to gain traction.

We often see companies offering to do a free ‘website audit’ – with promises of ‘fixing’ their website to get it working. This frequently includes promises of better SEO and Social Media campaigns, etc. As you can now see this is just diverting your attention away from the real issues. True marketing professionals look not just at your website, its design and layup and/or code base, but at your overall ‘real world’ strategies. They look for the root cause of your problems – starting with your branding and marketing strategies.

When one simply looks at what the public sees to judge the quality – or lack thereof – of your marketing, they are only seeing the 10% of the iceberg that pokes above the water. If you want to know how disastrous this can be then simply ask the crew and passengers of the Titanic. What is below the water can rip a steel ship to shreds – and your below-the-line marketing can rip your competition to shreds – if done well.

Source: Dream: Profound Insights For Creating Business Success by Terrence Bull


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  1. AdamsonSmith
    17:46 Tuesday Jul 15, 2014
     I am definitely bookmarking this page and sharing it with my friends. Very outstanding web. The content here is truly important. I will share it with my friends.

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