Marketing Myth #1: Advertising and marketing is the same thing

  • This is the first in a series of 7 posts by guest blogger and associate of The Marketing Eye, Sharon Wilding, owner and founder of The Purple Edge.

    Of course I'm going to tell you it's not, but for advertising read promotion, and I'll still tell you it's not the same thing as marketing. Whether you are using advertising, public relations, emails, websites, billboards, word of mouth, or one of the many other forms of promotions (paid or unpaid) you will be wasting your time and/or money if you don't recognise that marketing covers so many more aspects of your business.

    Yes it is vitally important to spread the word about what you have to offer if you want buyers to come flocking, but only once you are crystal clear about the following:


    • What exactly is the product or service you offer? What are the elements that make it unique or special and represent real value to a potential customer? What will make customers pay more, come back for more, or recommend you to others.
    • And who do you need to spread the word to? Which group of customers (your niche or customer segment) are going to find your product most attractive and valuable? The more tightly you can define this, the better the chance you will delight and satisfy your customers by delivering what they really want, and the better the chance that you will target your promotions efficiently to this group.
    • How can customers get hold of your product or service? Which channels are you using - in stores, on line, through distributors or direct from you? Giving customers a choice, or range of options, about where and how they can buy from you could be really important in increasing your sales results and could have major implications for the profit you make on each deal.
    • What price are you charging and what does it say about the quality and value position you have chosen to take in the market? How can you flex your pricing or terms to change your success rate in sales or improve your profitability?
    • Do you have a business plan that defines the objectives you are aiming to achieve? Do you have a strategy that guides your decision making around your priorities and helps you decide what you won't do as well as what you will?
    • Does your plan identify the marketing investment (or budget) that you are prepared to make in order to achieve the objectives you have set? If not, how will you know if the cost of any promotions you want to do is acceptable or not? Or whether the return is appropriate?
    • What is the sales strategy and process you have in place to ensure you convert interest and enquiries into sales?

    All these issues are aspects of or are influenced by your marketing - in fact there are not many things that you do in your business that are not heavily impacted by the marketing decisions you make. Promotion may often feel like the most visible and costly part of the marketing mix - but failing to address the above list properly is only likely to make it more visible and costly through poor execution and wastage.

    Many people say to me ‘we don't do any marketing'. What they really mean is that they don't do a lot of promotions, and that may be the right decision for their business.

    If you are getting all the new and repeat custom you can handle then you are obviously doing something right, and maybe you are instinctively good at marketing, but to sustain growth there generally comes a point when a more structured and disciplined approach to managing your marketing mix (i.e. all the stuff above) is going to be needed.

    Be honest - if you don't have the marketing skills yourself then go out and get some help or training. Marketing is too important a business function to do half-heartedly.

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