During a recent discussion about when to hire marketing personnel, my client responded with ‘we’re not really ready for marketing’. This comment struck me odd, as I had been working with them on market development and marketing strategy. So I probed the thinking behind the comment. The client replied ‘we are not ready to roll out the product yet, so we don’t need advertising’.
In discussion with colleagues I’ve found that this thinking is not uncommon, and that many companies associate the term marketing with advertising and little else. It seems that what marketing is – is bewildering to some; sales and marketing are often used interchangeably when discussing customer interaction.
Peter Drucker is credited with the following quote; “Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two – and only two – functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation create value, all the rest are costs.”
That quote perfectly defines my belief about business and marketing. I have long worked in marketing, the world of art and science blended to connect with and serve a customer. I love that marketing consists of a wide breadth of functions and is core to a business.
The very definition of marketing through the four P’s defines the necessity of marketing early on and throughout the course of the product life.
While promotion is very important to the mix, it is the last in the list to master – and so much more successful if the other three are well attended to with hard core professional marketing.
Marketing happens in the earliest stages of a company. An idea, a product concept or a service is presented to investors for early stage financing support, this is concept marketing. Demographics, profiles and current practices provide a backdrop against which a new product or service is contrast; this is market definition. Investigation into customer needs, behaviors, and loyalties is market research.
Marketing continues throughout the development phase of products and services, with a product requirements document, this is product marketing. Branding, product naming, product promotion, product training and service are all marketing functions. All customer support and engagement are marketing. Public relations, education and training, pricing and promotion and market development are all marketing functions. Even the discontinuation of a product or service is a marketing function.
Eric Brody, author of the blog Healthy Conversations, recapped the July Fast Company story about 10 lessons from Apple. Among these key lessons is that ‘Everything is marketing’. The recap and post can be read here.
It is true that my client is not yet ready to do advertising and should thoughtfully consider which marketing talent to hire. The best hire is someone who can do the marketing that is essential to the business at this point. However, they have begun marketing, and if they are to be successful they must continue to do so. Marketing starts in the beginning.
(c) 2010 pH Consulting