First things first, thank you to Mila for publishing me on her site.

Guest Author

Jeremy Powers

After nearly a decade of branding and marketing for large companies, Jeremy is now Principal at Winding Staircase, where he wants to help you with marketing your company.


10 Falsehoods Worth Reviewing

Before we get into Marketing 201, let’s dispense with 10 falsehoods about Social Media.

  1. Social media is not free.
  2. Your prospects, customers, and advocates do not consider themselves “in a relationship” with you.
  3. Web marketing is not free.
  4. Klout does not measure influence.
  5. Your time is not free.
  6. A brand style guide does not make a brand.
  7. Your employees’ time is not free.
  8. You do not have a “personal brand;” you have a reputation.
  9. Nothing you do is free; economics does not care about your worldview.
  10. New platforms do not require new messaging or new styles.

As you have probably guessed, I am not your typical happy-go-lucky, everything-is-roses, the-world-is-so-much-better-now, kind of internet marketer. (“No kidding,” said my wife.) Starting or growing your business is not easier now than it was twenty years ago.
The fundamentals of marketing have not changed. Business is still difficult, fun, painful, risky and rewarding.

What is marketing?

This is not a 101 level discussion, but we should take a moment to review what marketing is:
Marketing – the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (American Marketing Association, October 2007)
Read that again, more slowly this time. Read it once more, and this time, consider why the largest businesses in the world are all “marketing-centric.”
Let’s break the definition down into the core components:

  • Activity / process – Marketing is not a function, it is an ongoing process. Marketing is not an expense; it is a discipline.
  • Creating – Marketing is a process where products or services originate.
  • Communicating – These new products or services are then displayed (advertised) to the intended recipient.
  • Delivering – An often overlooked aspect of marketing, quality execution is at the heart of the discipline.
  • Exchanging – While most marketing involves an exchange of a product for money, sometimes marketing is an exchange for information, access, or relevance.
  • Valuable offerings – If an exchange is to take place, what you have must be worth what you are asking for.
  • Stakeholders – An exchange requires two parties. Your marketing efforts involve you and at least one other stakeholder.

All marketing requires investment

Stop. I see what you are thinking about. You are still equating “marketing” with “communicating” or “advertising.” Go back and review what marketing is again. Part of marketing is communicating, but that is just one of the four verbs used in the definition. Regardless, all marketing, including communicating, requires an investment.
In life, you have resources: time, money, and aptitude. How you allocate these resources to your business marketing should be carefully considered.

Where “the web” fits in

The internet can be used to facilitate the different actions of marketing: creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging. You are not unique in having access to the internet, and therefore, the World Wide Web does not give you an advantage. Instead, the internet requires you to become familiar with an entire realm of new sources of information, competition, and speed.
The internet has not simplified nor accelerated business. It has not changed the fundamentals of marketing. It has changed, however, the relative importance of different skill sets. For example, the salesperson who types with two fingers is at a sudden disadvantage.

What do you think?

I know this site is devoured by lots of communications and social media folks. So, as a late introduction, my marketing background, until two years ago, has been entirely in consumer products. (That is, I market products to retailers, who then market them to consumers with my support.)

I am curious what those of you that have been “on the front lines” of consumer interaction for several years think.

Has the web changed marketing in any fundamental way?

What tactics or strategies do you see are changing more quickly?

I look forward to your comments.


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