Let’s start with the answer to the ‘What is marketing’ question.
Google search ‘what is marketing’ and you will be bombarded by definitions that claim marketing is ‘the action of promoting and selling products or services’. But as a Marketer and philanthroper who loves communication and works for impact-driven organizations I would argue that marketing is more than this.
Here is a definition of marketing which I feel is more accurate from the American Marketing Association:
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
(Approved July 2013)
Now let me give you my opinion on ‘Why’ we need marketing.
I would argue that we have been doing marketing since the beginning of time. You do it everyday. In every conversation you have you are offering up something of value to others.
Whether you realize it or not, every organic exchange carries with it purpose. An innate need for others to recognize the value in what you have to say. Each of us speaks with varying degrees of calculation behind what it is we are saying. When you endorse something you’ve done recently like the coffee shop down the street or the nail polish you are wearing you are inadvertently marketing that experience or item to those you are speaking with. If you are simply having a conversation with coworkers about a project or task at hand you are also marketing. You are marketing yourself when you want someone you are speaking with to respect you and what you have to say. You are communicating in the effort to provide value for your coworkers and company at large.
Now, who do we like to listen to? Who do we feel brings us the most value? Those that are authentic. Those that believe in what they are saying for innate, genuine reasons. So strive for authenticity.
Why is it important to acknowledge that marketing is happening with each exchange we have? Well, the old adage says “Knowledge is power!” When you understand that you have the power to market anything if you can simply figure out what value it holds for your audience then you can effectively market anything through values alignment.
But here’s the trick! Not everyone wants what you are offering. Know your audience! You could be promoting the funniest, best cat video you have ever seen on YouTube – but if you are speaking to someone who loves dogs, or is allergic to cats then do yourself, and them, a favour ~ and save your breath.
Not everyone wants what you are offering. Know your audience – don’t sell summer to a snowman!