Tips But No Tricks #1

What marketing is, and what it isn't

By Dr. Manuel Escalante (Dr. E)
Published on LatinoLA: June 9, 2009

Tips But No Tricks #1

In their "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing", Ries & Trout say, "Billions of dollars have been wasted on marketing programs that couldn't possibly work, no matter how clever or brilliant. Or how big the budgets."

First, a few things (amongst many) that marketing is not. Marketing is not:

‘«ů creativity
‘«ů graphic arts
‘«ů knowing how to buy media
‘«ů making brochures
‘«ů worked in a marketing department in some support function
‘«ů kept and updated a customer database
‘«ů updated a web page
‘«ů created flyers
‘«ů selling (not counseling on) anything
‘«ů working in an advertising agency
‘«ů the list goes on, but I believe you get my drift. At least those folks who are truly in marketing will.

Marketing involves a dizzying array of areas. Marketing is, regardless of what you may believe or of how it is classified or labeled in your organization, the umbrella under which fall all areas dealing with customer acquisition and retention.

"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 October 2007 by the American Marketing Association)."

I don't know, maybe it's just me. MARKETing is putting things on the MARKET. It is understanding that person whom I call "Ed". It is identifying needs/niches/vacuums in the MARKET. It is creating things (and please, let's not get academic in terminology--things, products, services, dreams, desires, exchanges, gizmos...) that someone wants/needs; it is communicating that these things exist and how they come to satisfy; it is putting these things in someone's hands to try; it is presenting these things convincingly to people so they are willing and ready to stick their hand in their pocket and buy one; it is ensuring that the communication is producing desired results; it is identifying, locating and qualifying the people to whom you will present; it is identifying if what you gave them is working as promised; it is a social responsibility in terms of morals, values and ethics.
I don't know, maybe it's just me. But haven't I just talked about marketing research, advertising/communications, sales, promotion. And don't get me started on other arenas such as distribution, merchandising, proper invoicing, customer service, and yes, why not, a manicured lawn and a clean toilet. If your place is a shambles, what can I expect inside the box you just sent me via some delivery service at some astronomical cost?

Oh, yes, I almost forgot to tell you about "Ed." The next time you are out and about, do me a favor and pick up a present for Ed. Who, exactly, is Ed, you ask? Precisely. That takes us a bit into geo/demos, consumer behavior, psychographics, lifestyle... my goodness, more MARKETing stuff.

Is it Edward, or Eduardo, or Edwina, or Edgar, or Edith? Is this person tall or short; heavy or thin; female or male; married or single or in a relationship; straight or gay? With kids or no kids; employed or unemployed. What type of work does this person do? How much does this person earn? What type and level of education does this person have? Where does this person prefer to shop? What does this person typically buy? What language does this person speak?

My goodness, so many questions. And this list is nowhere near comprehensive. If you have none of the answers, how do you expect to design, develop, launch, communicate and hope to sell anything to anyone? Marketing is difficult in that it requires that one create an offer that will satisfy someone else, as I said, "Ed."

I must stop now; I have to go market something. Speak with you in a while...

About Dr. Manuel Escalante (Dr. E):
Dr. Escalante brings a global, hands-on approach to marketing and consumer strategy, and has been a featured speaker. He serves, or has served, on various Boards and has taught extensively abroad and in the states.
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