Guest post from Maria Ross, founder and chief strategist of Red Slice a branding and marketing consultancy based in the US. She is the author of Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget available on Amazon.co.uk
I was incensed recently by someone writing an article about “businesses who don’t need marketing.” Oh really?
If you believe marketing stops at ‘advertising’ then yes, not every business needs marketing. Look at how successful companies like eBay (in the early days), Google and many tech firms have been without a lot of traditional advertising. Craig’s List is used by millions – ever seen an ad for it? But advertising is but one part, one tactic, in the marketing playbook.
For those of you who know better, marketing means preparing, pricing, promoting and distributing your goods and services to the customers who will buy them. Do you charge for your product? That pricing decision is a marketing one. Do you sell online or through retail outlets? Channel strategy is a marketing decision. Do you ever answer the question, “What does your company do?” at a cocktail party? Yep. Marketing. Do you just invest in sales reps to run around and pitch your product but don’t have a dedicated marketing team? Then, guess what? Your sales reps are still “doing marketing” whenever they pitch – they just might all be singing their own tune and missing out on the all-important consistency of message that helps foster more recognition and more sales. But I hate to tell ya’: they are still marketing. Perhaps badly.
Product descriptions. Packaging copy. Your website look and feel. Your product performance. Your customer service experience. That is all marketing.
Marketing is communication. Even if you never spend a dime on search ads, TV spots or events, any time you talk about your business, any time you interact with a customer, and any time customers talk about you…..that’s marketing.
If someone ever tries to convince you that you don’t “need” marketing, run the other way.