January 19, 2011

Marketing is Not a Department

Every industry, every job, every position within an organization has its fans and its critics. If you are climbing the corporate ladder right now you may be looking ahead toward those who are in positions above you on the org chart and making a list of what you will do differently when you get that gig. If you’re the boss, you may have found that deep dark place where you are completely honest with yourself and admit you don’t actually have all the answers to everything.

In the case of marketing, it appears far more people have an opinion than have any experience in the field. My plumber knows what he’s doing and charges me handsomely for his knowledge. My lawyer is a sharp dude who went to school and has letters behind his name so it must mean he knows his way around some law stuff. Yet with marketing, everyone is apparently an expert. That gets even more watered down when you replace the word 'marketing' with the words 'social media' but I digress.

Many moving parts

Clearly, advertising is part of an overall marketing plan yet it is not the sole piece of the puzzle. The look and feel of a company, how the phone and emails are answered, the design of business cards, presentation and business function execution and client correspondence are all part of the overall marketing of a company. In short, marketing is everything you do. I've had company owners tell me they weren't ready to do any marketing. If they're open for business, they have already started.

Many organizations take a campaign approach to some initiative or product launch or event and decide they need to “do some marketing”. And that, in many cases, means advertising. So they build a budget, put together the creative, decide what media they will use to spread the word and there, the marketing is done.

Return on Ignorance

What is then dangerous is when those who are not mathematicians seem to have a foolproof opinion on the return on investment. The success of an entire company should not hinge on a single event.

There is a myriad choices when it comes to external or outbound marketing options. There are the channels that have been deemed traditional such as print, radio, television and transit/outdoor. Additionally, there is the choice of direct mail, trade shows, presentations, conferences and face-to-face contact.

Choosing channels

The social web can be both daunting and enticing. On one side it looks too much like work when you can just place an ad on a flat surface but it can also give the impression that it’s a quick fix. It does require commitment and can garner results but not tomorrow.

We live in a customer centric world and we are all customers and providers. But that certainly doesn't mean everyone is equipped to steer marketing initiatives with guesswork and opinion. Or worst yet, adopting the strategy that what may have worked last year will work again this year.

I'd love to know your thoughts.

knealemann | email

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