Marketing 101

dart1I hate running.

It hurts my legs, my lungs, my back, my tits.

I run between 3 and 4+ miles, five days a week.

I continue to run because the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

–I hate being fat, and running is the quickest calorie burn I know of (my me-time is hugely limited with two jobs and two kids).
–Running helps me think. It not only activates neural connectivity, it’s also a quiet space, undisturbed by kids or clients.
–I get to listen to my music, blasting loud through my earbuds, let it absorb me, the rhythm drive me, and in moments it feels like I’m flying.

I run whether I’m healthy, sick with a flu or anything else that isn’t laying me out on my death bed because I’m afraid if I give myself one excuse not to run it will lead to another, and in short order I’ll quit running. But I won’t quit–as long as the benefits serving my needs outweigh the hardships.

Benefits that fill Need is, or should be the foundation of all Marketing efforts.

The net is the new hip, slick and trendy way to market. And no doubt, there are great marketing opportunities online. Websites, email blasts, analytics, blogs…etc, are TOOLS to market with. But marketing online (wow, moving pics and videos!) or off IS THE SAME THING. The basic principles of marketing must be applied to sell (beyond the freakish, short-lived fad), and grow any company.

Print, online, or on the friggin moon, Marketing is selling BENEFITS to fill a NEED. Advertising, PR, branding, visual design, copywriting, marketing communications are, or should be developed, designed and produced to SELL products/services/ideas/message.

Viral marketing trend in the Valley these days is to flood the net with ads, games, videos and such with a product/service already available, and/or with no discerning or lasting value to anyone. This “Ready, FIRE, Aim,” approach clearly illustrates why so many start-ups that ignore the foundation of marketing— fail. Been a MarCom consultant in the Bay Area for 25 yrs now. Worked with a ton of start-ups, and Fortune 500s who don’t consistently realign to completion, nor do they invest in development to continually fill need/s, and watched them fold again and again, sometimes in ridiculously short order.

Marketing 101– IN ORDER (”Ready, AIM, Fire!”):
1. Productize Idea— identify features, benefits and differentiators to fill the needs of specific target market/s for your product/service (or idea/message).

2. Create Brand Identity— establish image and voice through marketing communications that speak directly to the target market.

3. Engage CTA— Call To Action. Launch marketing campaigns. Motivate people to act— to click, to buy, or buy into your message.

The new order of entrepreneurs is young, weened on TV and technology, and generally taught to specialize in a very narrow range. Unfortunately, opting for graphic tricks over real content—selling benefits answering a need—and relying on Google Analytics doesn’t actually sell much. GM recently pulled their ads from Facebook because they didn’t work. Well, duh! Coders are writing them and then the ads are going out to the world, not a targeted market (which the world is not).

Measuring response rates isn’t new, in the background since advertising began, and generally offers limited utility. Marketing is dynamic, results variable by the day, time of day, day of week, the weather, social trends, financial climates. The principles of Marketing may be simple, but motivating people to bend to your will isn’t easy. Beyond the primary building blocks of any campaign, Marketing’s core is psychology, and psychology applies online or on mars. Marketing pros study people, not code so much since coding, especially with ever-emerging technologies, is time consuming to learn, and generally requires a different kind of awareness than psychology. I’ve yet to meet a web developer who’s demonstrated mastery in marketing. Competent at development means they’re investing their time in technology, not in the study of human nature.

While most of my work is online now, I tell my clients the net is not the answer to effective marketing. New avenues of selling will arise, and others fade away, but the growth of any business, idea/message, or even activity, like running, is in its benefits, continually filling the need/s of its target market.