The hype and hubris of social media and networks has created a lot of marketing confusion for people. It is astonishing how little so-called experts and advisors know about marketing. Let’s try and clear up all the inane gobbledygook.
Try these tips for starters.
- “A business enterprise has two basic functions: marketing and innovation.”
- “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.”
- “Because it is the purpose of business to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation.”
- “Marketing and innovation are the entrepreneurial functions of business.”
- “Marketing is the distinguishing and unique function of the business.”
Dr. Peter Drucker
Doesn’t everyone know these canonical principles? It is remarkable how often business people forget what-in-the-hell they are doing. What is wrong?
For example, here is Peter Drucker’s simple principles updated for startups and entrepreneurs.
Every breath a startup takes must be for customer creation. That’s what investors want: the ability to create, keep and delight new cash customers. Everything else is waste.
We hear a lot of dopey eyewash about the ‘marketing message.’ Marketing is not about creating a message. Rather, Marketing is used to identify the customer, satisfy the customer, and keep the customer. Period.
The best marketing is an out-of-the-building, face-2-face, social activity. Always was always will be. Marketing is the specific, deliberate interactive activities to discover customers. It is to determine what products or services may be of interests to them. That's all. Ta-da!
Markets are conversations. Marketers are active in the conversation. They are not producing ‘marcom.’ Conversation is the mother of all social media.
Social media have been the foundation of marketing since time immemorial. From 19th guild workers asking prospects what makes a great buggy whip, to mid-century focus groups for breakfast cereals, to today's hi-tech networks and communities, marketing has ALWAYS been a conversation. Conducted well, with openness and authenticity, marketing creates new, outstanding products and services that delight and retain customers!
Corporate communications, press releases, advertising, merchandising, blogging, SEO, etc., etc., are positively NOT marketing.
Meanwhile, branding and brand, creating the customer experience, is a foundation of marketing. Branding is NOT logos, typeface or taglines. Brand and branding is the customer experience.
Of course social media are misused for many useless 'corporate' activities. Still, many firms use social media to listen to the customer without really knowing it. Contemporary social media make customer listening almost a friction-less activity. Social media are also key for 'listening to the listening' in one's industry.
The key marketing activities are customer creation and product management. Glib business consultants usually don’t even know what these activities are. Too often these people don’t know what they don’t know. In these all too common cases, social media are just huge megaphones for profound business ignorance.
Try and understand product management, for example, to grasp marketing.
Note: be particularly wary of voluble advice people that speak of some vague, corrupt notion of “value.” They use the value code word because they do not know what they are talking about. The value charlatans often project a revolting air of superiority. remember, customers have no use whatsoever for specious, solipsistic notions of value. Beware. Allow marketing to delight customers with benefits and advantages. Avoid to loopy ‘value’ abstraction at every stage of the lifecycle.
Marketing is required for building great products. Creating customers is hard work. Customers want specific benefits and advantages. Marketing delivers. Hubris doesn’t.
These marketing activities, and these marketing activities alone, deliver consistent, continuous and superior benefits and advantages to customers. That is the only purpose of business!