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Marketing is a Misunderstood & Maligned Term

There are few terms as misunderstood in the general parlance as that [spits in the figurative gutter] word Marketing. To most people out there it’s synonymous with advertising. And we all hate the manipulative, expletive, wank-driven paleo-superfood-gluten-free-wankeroo that those people rode into town on. But, if the truth be told, we’re constant marketers. In business, we have to be that way.

Imagine yourself in a little shop in a little street. You’ve got products to sell, but what products? Expensive, or down-market? Do you have products that need to move every day, or expensive things that people come from far-and-wide to look at, but you only need to sell an occasional one to stay profitable. They’re products for a certain socio-economic customer base (marketers would call that a target market or a segment). And you’ve got to get those products into your shop and out to your customers somehow. This would be called distribution. Again, it’s marketing.

The distribution channels that you choose and the manner you offer and deliver your products to your target audience and passers-by are all marketing. What type of truck, train or horse do products arrive on? In what size batches? How are the business-to-business relationships on that end? And do you sit the products on the floor of your shop or stack them onto shelves? All marketing.

And these people you call your market segment? How do they know what’s inside your dark and cold store? You need to inform them cost-effectively with a targeted and integrated marketing strategy that may include multiple well-thought-out promotional tactics including print, digital and real-life events; rather than shotgun marketing to the masses in the hope somebody hears through the letter-boxed noise. If you know your potential customers (the market segment you serve) you can more effectively market into their perceptive bubbles called life. I hope that makes sense.

An integrated marketing strategy is an idea that means your print material points to your website points to your television advertisement and vice-versa. Everything you do is integrated to support each other element. And it has to have measurable goals. Think of all this marketing talk as getting your ducks in a row.

Again, those products have a price. Marketing. Your price often dictates who comes into your shop in the first place. It certainly affects how many of the product you sell and the bottom line of your profits every week. It is, after all, the stream that feeds your cash flow.

And where is your shop? Is it on the main street in the central business district? A back street? Somewhere on the outskirts of a town called Thirty-Miles-From-Bum-Fuck. Again, marketing. Where your products sit, how they arrive, are displayed, priced and all the rest of it is called marketing.

And a very important part of that marketing mix are the people. That means you, or your minions who serve and represent the business. That means what you wear to work every day (because it affects the people who will want to come in the shop door). It means the car you drive to work. It’s the attitude, courteousness and overall service that the people in your business represent. If you drive around road raging, or say mean things about people in public, or take a piss behind a dumpster – it all comes down to how you’re marketing your business. And this includes how you dress and act outside business hours, on weekends and as a community member. Your biggest marketing blunder can be standing inside those two size ten boots at the counter.

Remember this one thing: how good your products are in reality has nothing to do with how good your products are in the market. How good your products are in the market is determined entirely by the perceptions in the mind of the market. You make the best chocolate and everybody thinks it’s rubbish but they won’t taste it… then your chocolate is rubbish in the market. A cold truth.

You need to think of marketing as getting all of your ducks in a row – the right products for the right customers delivered and dispensed in the right way for the right price and by the right people. And that marketing mix has to be a consistent story. You can’t sell premium products in a high class suburb wearing a moth-eaten hoodie. Be realistic. But most of all, realise that you’re marketing your business every day of your life. Always. Even when you think nobody is looking. Marketing (and successful business) is fundamentally about controlling perception in the minds of the market.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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