It happened again – another article that said, “don’t waste your time on marketing, instead spend your money on reaching customers through social media and SEO and PR.” It’s about defining terms – marketing includes reaching customers through social media, SEO and PR (and all those things cost money assuming you’re paying someone to do it).
A lot of people still think marketing = advertising. But advertising is only a small part of marketing. Marketing includes:
- Research – to understand who your clients are (your target market), what they want, and how to reach them.
- Product development – this is a bit of heresy in the Silicon Valley, where engineers rule the roost (I love ya, guys), but products need to be developed with the consumer in mind.
- Pricing – how much will the market pay for your product?
- Place – where and how will you best distribute your product (or service) to reach your target market?
- Promotion – this includes advertising, social media, PR… every message that goes out to the customer, including those from a personal sales force.
Strategic marketing involves looking at all of the above and figuring out how they best work together, which is probably why someone lumped all these functions under one rubric: marketing. Because if these functions don’t work together, if you don’t have market research to back up your promotional campaign, aren’t pricing for the market, etc., then one can end up floundering about, wasting time and money. A lot of people get this instinctively without all the business jargon, so sure, maybe it’s not so important when people confuse marketing and advertising.
But it really pisses me off.