What’s the point of marketing?
Believe it or not; that is a question people ask.
I’ve even had someone tell me that “marketing’s a con”.
I’ll put that down to ignorance about what marketing is rather than any in-depth and worthwhile opinion about its value.
Which leads me to the first and, most important question, “what is marketing?”.
The somewhat august Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines marketing as: ‘The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.’
Back in the world that real people understand and don’t speak “professional,” I’ve always liked Naomi Dunford’s phrase, “the things you do to get people to buy your stuff”.
That covers a lot of sins. There’s a lot of noise out there that masquerades as marketing. Clever ads that no-one gets, beautifully designed websites that don’t ask visitors to do things and vague things put out there to “raise awareness”. If I had a fiver for every small business owner that said they were doing some pointless thing to “raise awareness’ I’d be wealthy.
I’m sorry, I have to say it.
“Raising awareness” is pointless
Unless you have the budget of Coca-Cola, “Awareness Marketing” the way small businesses do it is a complete and utter waste of time. And sometimes, of considerable sums of money.
So, what to do?
Apart from having a damn good website because that is your home online and, increasingly, offline that is?
Every penny counts in your small business (and in not so small ones), so you have to account for every penny.
In 1923, Claude Hopkins wrote the seminal Scientific Advertising. He was one of the original Mad Men and was hired in 1921 by a New York agency for an annual salary of $180,000, a tidy sum now but at the time it was an absolute fortune.
Scientific Advertising was the first book to set out the process of advertising and help solve that old problem, “50% of my advertising works; the problem is that I don’t know which 50%”.
He advocated measuring the results of all advertising systematically.
The old Mad Men had it right. They knew how to sell. They used psychology at a time when it was still a developing science.
Former Canadian Mountie, John E. Kennedy, got the art of advertising as far back as 1904 when he described the industry as “salesmanship in print”.
People won’t remember what you do, they’ll remember how you made them feel
Put simply, your marketing (sales letters, websites, brochures and the like) should give people a clear idea of what they will get and WHAT THEY WILL FEEL LIKE when they buy your product or use your service.
Then, it should ASK THE READER TO ACT ON THAT FEELING.
Will you do me a favour?
Go back over all the marketing you’ve done recently and ask yourself, what does this get my reader to do?
It’s all about the feeling.