Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Marketing Is Not A Noun

This is an important thing to remember in business. Marketing is not a product. In other words, it isn't a flyer, a postcard, or a POP display. It isn't logo items like, caps, shirts, pens, or bookmarks. It isn't a set of mailing lists, phone numbers, or customer comments.

Marketing isn't just an activity. It isn't a mailing. It isn't cold calling. It isn't handing out flyers or business cards. It isn't a sales pitch.

If it isn't any of these things, then what is it? It encompasses some of these things, but it isn't contained in any of them. It is more than the sum of all these things. It is the process of give and take, listening and responding, and understanding one's market. Thus, marketing is communication with a market; a kind of dialogue.

This communication can have the goal of influencing a market (audience). But it encompasses much more than that. Marketing goals can be as varied as bringing awareness to an audience, to responding to a demand from the market. Of course to know what the best goal to pursue, you must know who your audience is, what they want, what they think, and what they think about you. But also you need to understand who you are, what you want, and what you want your audience to know or do about you. Then you create a dialogue.

This dialogue can encompass all the items and actions often associated with marketing. But above all, understand this: you are communicating. Selling is what you may believe you are doing, but selling is not marketing. It may be an activity of marketing. But marketing brings selling into the context of a dialogue. It can bring selling out of the realm of unwelcome intrusion into an acceptable outgrowth of a mutually beneficial relationship.

In other words, even the act of selling will be much more effective in the context of some sort of relationship or shared interest. And relationships are established through sound principles of communication.

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