Simplified marketing

One of the most entertaining things to do in business is attend a meeting where a group of top executives begin to pontificate on the subject of marketing. I have more fun watching people try to distinguish between marketing, advertising, branding, media, channels, markets, verticals, sectors, business development, sales, communications, public relations, etc. It never ceases to amaze me how something so simple can become so complicated, and how people can so passionately adopt a completely ridiculous stance and want to defend that position to the death. In this blog post I will try to demystify the subject of marketing and give you some actionable elements that can be implemented right away to generate better results.

Let’s take a moment and have fun with the definitions. The next two definitions of marketing come from the American Marketing Association. The first was a definition that was used from 1985 to 2004, when WADA published the “revised” edition.

Previous definition of AMA: “Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of goods, ideas, and services to create exchanges that meet individual and organizational goals.”

Current definition of AMA: “Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”

OK … a quick scan of the two aforementioned definitions shows that the mistake of bypassing the customer from the original definition was corrected by the clear and emphasized inclusion of the customer in the revised definition (I guess I won’t give up my AMA membership just yet ). Let me clarify that I do not intend to poke fun at academic theory or best practices, but I have little use of generic, blanket, or blanket statements as they tend to achieve nothing of value but simply create confusion between ranges.

Let’s take a look at some more definitions … Most of you know how fond of “Druckerisms” I am, so I must conscientiously quote it one more time … Peter Drucker’s definition of marketing is: “Marketing and innovation is the two main functions of business. You get paid to create a customer, which is marketing. And you get paid to create a new dimension of performance, which is innovation. Everything else is a cost center. ” Now we are getting a little closer, but this is still too ambiguous for my liking …

From my perspective, the problem with marketing as a discipline is that the desired result is often lost in the vast expanse of its multidisciplinary nature. The reality is that marketing is actually the aggregation of any activity that touches the customer and that is too much for most organizations to embrace, much less to manage and execute.

So at the end of the day, I think marketing is “any activity that catalyzes a sales opportunity” (my definition). Simply put, I want marketing activities to make my phone ring. I don’t care what the medium, the market or the message is, if you don’t put a qualified prospect in a sales situation it’s a waste of time, money and effort. Before the Myatt attackers step out of the shadows, I am not diminishing the value of brand equity, market share, mind share, etc., but I am simply trying to take a complex topic and make it real. and actionable.

If you are running branding campaigns or brainstorming initiatives, that’s fine, but keep in mind that in most circumstances, although they can be classically defined as marketing activities, these efforts do not catalyze short-term sales opportunities. The litmus test of any good “gorilla marketing” effort is measuring return on cost of sales. A great marketing campaign generates a high speed of sales opportunities at the lowest possible cost during the shortest possible sales cycle. If you juxtapose this with the typical branding initiative, you will see that these two efforts are really diametrically opposed.

So the goal of marketing is not to get caught up in theoretical debates and academic exercises, but to realize that the main thing is to keep the main thing as the main thing. If you can’t put all your marketing initiatives under the microscope and link them to acceptable performance based on lead generation, you might want to rethink what you’re doing.