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Why marketing is NOT optional

Posted by Simon Walker on 01/12/2017 12:00:00 AM

In Business and Marketing Strategy

All too often, I hear businesses say “we don’t have the ____ for marketing”. Insert time, budget, motivation, whatever.

Every time, I can’t quite believe what I’m hearing.

Why?

Because marketing is not optional.

In 1990, the first line item in a business’ budget was an ad in the Yellow Pages.

I’ve heard stories of businesses spending $30,000 on prime advertising space in the Yellow Pages. I’ve seen plenty of businesses called “AA this” or “A1 that” because that got them the first listing in the Yellow Pages.

The reason businesses did this in the 90s was that it was the best way to get customers in the door. If you needed something, you looked in the Yellow Pages – simple as that. It was where the eyeballs of your audience were.

Nowadays, no-one reads the Yellow pages – I haven’t seen a copy for years. But the lesson hasn’t changed – if your business needs people to find it, you need to invest in being where people find you.

Regardless of what you sell, or where you need to be found, you have to invest in being found there – whether it’s money, time, or a combination of the two.

It’s kind of the marketing industry’s fault

So, what’s changed now?

The world has got more complicated, and audience attention is all over the place. Technology is omnipresent – we have gone from having one screen in our house to carrying multiple screens with us everywhere we go.

As the way we consume content has changed, the marketing options available to business have grown. We’ve gone from the Yellow Pages to a website to Social Media, Search, Video and Programmatic Advertising.

This has resulted in more complex marketing solutions being offered (we’re guilty of it at times too). Complexity makes decision making harder, and creates a gap between the marketing function and the core business.

It’s hard to spend money on something you don’t really understand.

How you need to view marketing today

While there has been a technological explosion, especially in the last decade, the core principles of marketing haven’t changed.

You’ll need:

  • A Proposition (Product/Service) that resonates with your target market
  • A Price for your Proposition that people are willing to pay, and that you can deliver the Proposition in a profitable way
  • A Place your target market can go to access your Proposition
  • A Promotion strategy that hits your target market when they’re ready to buy and addresses key benefits of your Proposition

It’s really that simple. Once you have these things in place, it’s about following your nose.

However, the standard approach of marketing agencies today is to focus on promotion – often at the expense of the Proposition. After we redefine marketing as we have above, it puts a different lens on whether marketing is optional.

There’s nothing optional about having people pay money for your product and service – and it’s worth investing time or money in a smart plan to put your Proposition where your audience’s attention is.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking why it’s so important to define your niche, and how to find and target your high value audience.