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 feeling fat, and running is the quickest calorie burn I know of (my me-time is hugely limited with an active career 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 fulfill Desire 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, landing pages, social media marketing, email blasts, analytics…etc, are TOOLS to market with. But marketing online, or offline, 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.

Startups in Silicon Valley these days typically flood the internet with digital marketing—ads, games, videos and such, pushing products and services that seemingly have no discerning or lasting value to hardly anyone. These startups have not considered what they are selling, what their product does, or who will likely find value in it. This “Fire, Aim, Ready,” approach clearly illustrates why so many start-ups that ignore the foundation of marketing fail.

I’ve been a MarCom consultant in the Bay Area for 20 yrs now. I’ve worked with a ton of startups who do not consistently promote their offerings features and benefits, or realign their marketing efforts to outshine competition, nor do they invest in developing new products that fulfill anyone’s desires. And I’ve watched them fold again and again, sometimes in ridiculously short order.

Marketing 101— IN ORDER (“Ready, Aim, Fire!”):

1. Productize Your Idea: Identify the features, benefits and differentiators of your offering that fulfill a desire, or offer a solution to specific target markets, likely to find value in your product, service, or idea/message (non-profit).

2. Create Brand Identity, and Marketing Campaigns: Establish an identity (logo), and voice (tagline), as well as marekting efforts—digital, print, and pitch (in-person) campaigns that that fulfill a desire, or offer a solution to your target audience.

3. Launch marketing campaigns: Motivate people to act—to click, to subscribe, try, or purchase your offering, 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 A/B testing, and keyword tricks over real content—selling benefits fulfilling a desire—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. It’s been in the background since advertising began, and generally offers limited utility. Marketing is dynamic! Results vary by target audiences, the day a campaign launches, time of day, day of week, the weather, behavioral trends, sociological, and financial climates, to name just a few factors that determine response rates.

The principles of Marketing may be simple, but motivating people to bend to our will is not easy. Beyond the primary building blocks of any campaign, beginning with Productization, at the core of effective Marketing is psychology. Online, or on Mars, understanding your customer’s and potential customer’s psychology is mandatory if you want the greatest response to your marketing efforts. Marketing pros study people, not code, 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 software development means they’re investing their time in technology, not in the study of human behavior.

While most of my work is online now, I tell my clients that digital marketing 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 offering’s benefits, continually filling the desires of its target audience.