Renee Prejean-Motanky

Twelve Things We Think We Know About Marketing…but don’t

In marketing, Public Relations on June 15, 2009 at 3:25 am
Ultimate Marketing System from Duct Tape Marketing
Image by ducttapemarketingvia Flickr

Marketing is one of those practices that looks easy from the outside… kind of like tightrope walking.   To anyone who hasn’t done it successfully, it is viewed through a lens of myths rather than by the reality.  And these are the myths that impede effective marketing.

1.  We know what business we’re in

Maybe in the past, but not today!  Today we’re in the marketing business (practicing whatever it is we do to for our customers.

2.  Marketing is Marketing.  What works for marketing products, works for marketing services.

Though there may be a hundred folks behind the manufacture of a widget, the only connection between that widget and the consumer is the widget.  If your product is a professional service then your connection to the consumer is the individual who provides the service.  There’s a big difference in marketing services and products.

3.  The marketing director can do it.

The marketing director, depending on his/her training, might be able to create a great marketing campaign for a product that could motivate people to try it, but consultants are never hired because of marketing programs.  The marketing director can lend support by doing the things that afford a professional the context and opportunity to sell a prospective client.

4.  Marketing is selling.

Too many make this mistake.  Marketing is the PROCESS  that utilizes a broad spectrum of tools to position, educate and sell a product or service to prospective customers.  Sales is the result of the marketing process.

5.  We need a brochure and a newsletter.

A brochure is good only if you don’t expect it to do your selling for you and only if it truly makes you stand out from all the others out there.  It’s a small (and can be very expensive) tool in a total marketing program.  The same is true for a newsletter–but add to that; you only need it if you have something valuable to say to its readers. 

6.  PR is free advertising

It is not! You do pay for advertising while you don’t pay for PR… but there is a difference between the two.  As an advertiser you can pretty much say what you want (as long as it’s the truth) and it’s possible to use”edgy”, eye-dazzlingly techniques to grab attention because you’re paying for the space, but PR must comply with numerous standards that you don’t get to determine because you’re not paying for it.  PR requires subtlety. It’s purpose is to educate your consumer.  Then someone else tells your story in their words! 

7.  Our budget for marketing should be a percentage of sales

That formula only works for products… for more reasons that I can list here.  It doesn’t work for professional servicesfor almost as many reasons.  But one important reason is that the nature of professional service firm marketing is such that return on investment occurs over a much longer time frame.  What does work is to budget by the project.

8.  Be nice to the media

You don’t have to be nice to anyone you feel is dishonest, has questionable integrity or ability.  Fortunately most media aren’t like that, but don’t be naive.  Understand that life and the press are not always fair!  So watch what you say and know that nothing is ever “off the record.”

9.  Quality is a good marketing tool

One of the key definitions of professionalism is quality performance and service.  Not to supply quality service is a tool for self destruction.  Quality is never a good marketing tool — you get no credit for it.  If you’re a professional, it should be a given.  Assume quality as a basic concept and it will pay off in client relationships and repeat business.

10.  Reputation sells

While a good reputation is a plus, no one buys a service or profession based on reputation alone.  Remember also that reputation is fragile… like a bicyle, as long as yo keep peddling it keeps moving, but the minute you stop… kablam!  Down you go.  You have to keep peddling.

11.  Image matters

Image may be the original marketing myth!  Only reality matters.  If you want to change the perception of your firm, change your firm — the perception will follow.

12.  Marketing is a science

While the rules of marketing are predicated on a large body of experience ( like science), that same experience tells us that marketing is ultmately an art form and that the rules can be thoughtfully broken.  Marketing is taking basic tools and techniques and exercising them artfully. 

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