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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Member Blog: The nature of “Marketing” in the internet age

By David Wright - BSA Marketing
The Marketing world is well and truly into the seasonal mayhem…

Why does every day leading up to Christmas need have a name? Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Mad Friday, Panic Saturday, Manic Monday etc. The list goes on!

Okay, okay, it’s marketing, but I thought that, amidst all the chaos, I’d use this article to bring things back to earth a bit.

I recently received a newsletter in which one of the articles was titled

"4 Reasons Marketing Shouldn’t Control Social Media"

You can read the article here

As I was reaching for my soapbox, I thought maybe I should read it first.

Whilst I do disagree with the core premise, it brings up some interesting issues; not least, the nature of “Marketing” in the internet age.

Here are the 4 reasons from the article title:

1. Marketers simply use social media to mix holiday messages and discounts with standard sales and marketing content and this is not what customers want.

2. Social media practitioners (marketers) try to be all things to all people in order to keep their audiences engaged – Rather than doing this, good brands must know their niche

3. Marketing departments adopt social campaigns that do little more than offer discounts and coupons, training consumers to wait until that next discount is offered before they make their next purchase.

4. Sales, Customer Service, Product Development, and nearly every other department bring something to bear in the corporate-consumer relationship that [this type of] marketing cannot.

I have to say that I pretty much agree with all of these statements but it suggests that, the author has narrowed the definition of Marketing to a point where it isn’t really anything more than Sales Promotion.

So what is good Marketing?

Marketing is about identifying the value that your business adds to its marketplace, and then creating and communicating that message in a manner that engages with your audience.

Encourage your customers and prospects to see you as the best supplier for their needs.

A significant part of this process is long term. It is about building a relationship with a customer.

However in the world of e-commerce, marketing has become a highly transactional process:

A      B      C      THE SALE!

Too often, “marketing” is about no more than facilitating and optimising this conversion process.

Whilst converting people from not being customers into customers is key, in most cases things are not that simple.

The “marketing” process outlined in the article suggests that it’s all about tinkering with A B and C to increase conversion rates.

Good marketing is about introducing D, E and F. These, in themselves, may not directly impact the conversion rates, they create an environment which makes conversion more likely.

To use an analogy from fishing:

Fishermen use ground bait to attract the fish, and get them into a feeding mode. Into that environment they then place their baited hook. Increasing the likelihood that they will get a bite.

The process outlined in the article suggests marketing is all about the hook, whereas good marketing is also about laying the ground bait!

Although maybe angling is not a good analogy for the process of building a relationship of trust with your marketplace, hopefully you get my point!

Ultimately marketing should be the custodian of the process by which a company:

1. Identifies the value that you and you business adds to your marketplace
2. Creates a message that communicates this value
3. Communicates this message in a manner that engages with your audience

Social Media is a key tool in this process. I suggest that good marketers are the perfect people to manage it!

I can’t completely forget that it is nearly Christmas (even as a marketer, I’d prefer Christmas to start no earlier than mid-December!).  I’d like to wish you a Happy Christmas.

I hope you have a great holiday and step into 2016 ready for a positive and successful year.

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