I’ve been on the networking circuit recently. I’ve also met a number of people who immediately step one step back when I tell them I’m in marketing. Yes, it’s probably me… but I’ve heard the same thing from other marketing professionals in the industry too.
Marketing has a bit of bad reputation. It can be seen as elitist, costing thousands and with no defined results. For many companies, spending money on ‘marketing’ is a real cost – it directly affects the bottom line. It’s about brochures, websites… and these days ‘social media campaigns’.
One business person I met said “I spend money on it because I have to, rather than I want to. I have no idea whether it works”.
And that’s the issue.
I look at it another way. Whether we like it, or not, we undertake ‘marketing’ anyway. You’re marketing when you meet someone at a conference. You’re marketing when you tell them what you do. You’re marketing when you explain to them what business you are in. You’re marketing when you tell them your products’ features and benefits and the value you can offer them.
It should be one of the most important activities we undertake, yet it’s still seen, by many, as a inconvenient cost.
As someone recently said to me, “everyone works in sales”; my response was “Yes, and everybody markets… even if they don’t realise it!”
Perhaps it’s the language we use. We should all be marketing-led, I hear you cry! Wrong… we should be market-led. A marketer’s real job is to understand the market and influence it. Our job is to understand what customers want at a really deep level. We need to provide value propositions – the products and services that customers value and want to buy – that offer real business gains and reduce pains and risk.
That’s what real marketers can offer you. As Godin says in his latest book - This is Marketing - “Marketers make change happen… and it’s all about being a driver of the market, not simply being market -driven.”
So next time you meet a marketer at a networking event, remember most of us are trying to make change happen so you can benefit. We’re trying to help you develop messages your prospects and customers want to hear and enable you to grow your business faster, or more profitably, than you could do it yourself.
It’s all about results. Your marketing is having an impact, for good or for bad, even if you don’t even know you’re doing it!