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Marketing Made Simple

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One of the most entertaining things you can do in business is to attend a meeting where a group of senior executives begin to pontificate on the subject of marketing.
I have more fun watching people attempt to distinguish between marketing, advertising, branding, mediums, channels, markets, verticals, sectors, business development, sales, communications, public relations, etc.
It never ceases to amaze me at how something so simple can become so convoluted, and how people can so passionately take a completely ridiculous stance and want to defend that position to the death.
In this blog post I will attempt to demystify the subject of marketing and give you some actionable items can be implemented immediately to generate improved results.
Let's take a moment and have some fun with definitions.
The following two definitions of marketing come from the American Marketing Association.
The first was a definition was used from 1985 until 2004 when the "revised" edition was released by the AMA.
Previous AMA Definition: "Marketing is the process of planning and executing conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of goods, ideas and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals.
" Current AMA Definition: "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 analysis of the two aforementioned definitions shows that the mistake of obviating 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 resign my AMA membership just yet).
Let me be clear that I'm not meaning to make fun of academic theory or best practices, but I have little use for generic, omnibus or overarching statements as they tend not to accomplish anything of value, but rather they just create confusion among the ranks.
Let's take a look at a few more definitions...
Most of you know how fond I am of "Druckerisms" and so in good conscience I must quote him to you yet again...
Peter Drucker's definition of marketing is: "Marketing and innovation are the two chief functions of business.
You get paid for creating a customer, which is marketing.
And you get paid for creating a new dimension of performance, which is innovation.
Everything else is a cost center.
" Now we're getting a bit closer, but this is still too ambiguous for my taste...
From my perspective the problem with marketing as a discipline is that the desired result often gets lost in the vast expanse of it's multi-disciplinary nature.
The reality is that marketing is really the aggregation of any activity that touches the customer and that is just too much for most organizations to get their arms around, let alone to manage and execute on.
So, at the end of the day I believe marketing is "any activity that catalyzes a selling opportunity" (my definition).
Put simply I want marketing activities to make my phone ring! I don't care what the medium, market or message is, if it doesn't put a qualified prospect into a selling situation it is a waste of time, money and effort.
Before the Myatt bashers come out of the shadows, I'm not diminishing the value of brand equity, market share, mind share, etc.
, but I'm simply trying to take a complex subject and make it real and actionable.
If you're conducting brand campaigns or mind share initiatives that's fine, but realize that in most circumstances while these may classically be defined as marketing activities these efforts don't catalyze sales opportunities in the short run.
The litmus test of any good "gorilla marketing" effort is measuring return on cost of sales.
A great marketing campaign generates a high velocity of selling opportunities at the lowest possible cost over the shortest possible selling cycle.
If you juxtapose this with the typical branding initiative you'll see that these two efforts are truly diametrically opposed.
So the goal of marketing is to not get caught up in theoretical debates and academic exercises, but to realize that the main thing, is to keep the main thing the main thing.
If you can't put every marketing initiative under the magnifying glass and tie it to an acceptable return based on the generation of sales then you might want to reconsider what you're doing.
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