“I went through my LinkedIn connections and declined all the ones from marketers.” I’m sorry, what? This is a quote from someone who I respect very much. Apart from the fact that my job title includes marketing, it made me wonder, is marketing a dirty word?
Then there’s Fred Wilson. Iconic VC and all-around smart dude.
“I believe that marketing is what you do when your product or service sucks or when you make so much profit on every marginal customer that it would be crazy to not spend a bit of that profit acquiring more of them (coke, zynga, bud, viagra).” – Fred Wilson
If you read the full post, it’ll quickly become clear that (as Seth Godin points out in the first comment), that you could easily replace advertising for marketing in his post, and the meaning remains the same. Looking at marketing as being all about advertising takes a very limited view. We’ve spent a total of about $500 in my entire time at Klout, but I assure you we’ve had plenty to do in the way of marketing. So, what is marketing all about? I asked this question on Google+ and some great answers:
“The art and science of matching your product differentiation to customer’s preferences.” Geoffrey Thompson (hat tip to Hermano Geoff)
“Marketing is simply communicating your brand effectively to your target audience”- Michael Haas
“What business are you in? Who is your customer? What is your value proposition to your customer? How do you find these customers, attract their attention, persuade them to keep coming back to you?” – Howard Rheingold
To my mind, these are interesting and challenging problems. I like how Howard Rheingold phrased it as a series of questions, your job as a marketer is to find those answers. For some you’re dealing with a set product and working to maximize it’s potential. Yet, another aspect of marketing is working with product to find the slight alterations that will help sell your product to the masses. That is neither an easy, nor uninteresting task so I wonder where marketing gets lost in translation and becomes the art of pulling the wool over people eyes, being sleazy, or making up for a bad product.
Are marketers bad at marketing ourselves? I think the truth here is that the good marketers aren’t worried about marketing themselves as people in the larger sense, they’re focused on the product, the problems, and the solutions like everyone else in the company. When done right, marketing seamlessly helps make the product look more awesome and engages and maximizes the community. The public image of marketers is based on the few who are in the spotlight. So let’s all take the time to notice the marketers, social media experts, and community managers who are actually doing it right and making us look good. We all thank you.