I’m not sure how comfortable I feel about the way some people seem to view marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I want people to buy what I sell, I just don’t like the idea of shoving it in their faces, or pretending I’m giving some great information for free, when I’m actually telling them nothing and then pitching them a $500 course. Or telling them they only have five minutes left to get the last one, or that if they don’t buy right now, the price will double for no discernible reason. Marketing has started to feel like something you do to people. Synonymous with employing as many methods as possible to get a sale. Whether that sale will actually help the person who’s bought it or not.
I remember working in the Bank when they first decided that frontline staff would be tasked with selling. Most people argued that they weren’t a salesperson, and at the time I didn’t get it. But those old-hands knew what was key: understanding what people needed and making sure they got exactly that. Not looking at the products they had and figuring out how to make them buy more.
Since that time, advances in technology have made it easier than ever to reach your target market. The great news is that it’s also made it easier to understand them, give them what they need more cheaply, and in ways that are accessible to many rather than a few. To build loyal and long-lasting relationships. To give webinars, use Facebook Groups, deliver e-courses across the world. Websites help you show the world who you help and why they need you. We live in an amazing time for business.
I think I prefer to think of marketing as a collection of methods that help me to build relationships. Because while I want to sell my stuff, I also want that stuff to help the people who buy it. I don’t want them to buy it and then think, ‘shit, what did I do that for?’. So I’ll keep networking in my fabby networking group, Business Network Scotland. I’ll spend more time helping people in the Facebook Groups I’m a member of. I’ll keep blogging, telling stories, showing people why they need me, and what I can do to help them; both here and on other websites. And I’ll keep nurturing my subscribers, sending them a cartoon and tip each week, along with the odd special treat along the way. Because when people want to buy what you sell, and it actually helps them, they spread the word. Which is the best kind of marketing of all. 🙂
Oh no, don’t start me off on people misunderstanding marketing! 😉
As a qualified marketer I get annoyed when people misinterpret what marketing is, and mistake it for sales and advertising. Sales and advertising are just tools and techniques used by marketers. As are social media and websites and PR etc etc.
Marketing is about the process of understanding your customer and how best to satisfy their needs using your talents and skills, while making a profit. It’s a way of thinking.
Sorry, rant over! Basically I agree, marketing isn’t about selling to people, it’s about understanding them and their needs and building relationships with them so they want to buy from you because they see you can offer what will help them 🙂
Love it, Nina! It’s good to hear it from a professional 🙂 I think it’s a difficult subject to communicate about because so many people use the terms differently. I’m glad we, at least, agree on the meanings, and can therefore have a meaningful discussion about them 🙂