At It’s Heart, Good Marketing is Still Simple

Posted: April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Marketing. It’s a tough job, a job much more intricate and challenging than many people outside of the field give it credit for. At my time attending an all-business college, I heard all of the popular put downs against my chosen profession.

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“You know marketing is the first to go when the economy gets bad.”

“Marketing, huh? What are you just going to draw pictures all day?”

“Marketing people make less money than everyone else.”

Thanks, finance and accounting friends! How was tax season? (Sorry had to get that in there). Marketing is a much more complex function of business than many people may think. You have to understand target segments, customer psychology/behavior, market trends, and pricing among many other variables. To add to the problem, in traditional marketing it was incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to accurately define ROI. You may have heard the old familiar saying, “Half of my marketing is working, I just don’t know which half!” How scary is that?

My fellow marketing folk will agree, however, that in today’s technologically driven world, marketing is no longer a guess and check game. With marketing automation tools (see Marketo, Eloqua, Neolane, Unica, etc.) and personalized targeted messages (think Facebook – “How did Facebook know I liked to ski??”) among a slew of other endless additions to the marketing function, today, FINALLY, marketers can not only see which aspects of their efforts are working, but we can report on precisely how much revenue can be tied back to said efforts. Pretty cool, right?

All of this innovation has made marketing even more challenging, and more complex, than it ever has been. Don’t get me wrong, it has also made marketing more valuable and indispensable as well. But often times, companies get caught up in defining segments, reporting results, and following best practice. Lest us not forget what our purpose ultimately is, to connect with our customers.

In that sense, good marketing is still simple. The fundamentals of customer behavior have not changed with the internet or other emerging technologies. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising (e-Word of Mouth). Customers still want good deals, and want to be treated properly. Of course, achieving all of those goals is much easier said than done, especially as the size of your business grows. But it’s important for us to take a deep breath every once in a while and remind ourselves that the customer, not technology, is still the most important element to successful business.

What do you think? Has technology advanced to the point where we can control the perception of each individual customer? Or is social media so powerful that we will never again have control of the message? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Follow me on Twitter: @billconnolly


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