Marketing Through the Ages blog reminded us that marketing is no new concept. The merchants of the Roman Empire found some surefire ways to push their message and promote their products. The 1400s gifted the universe with paid ads. Then came Neil Borden. He worked brilliantly to simplify the body of actions a business deploys to promote and sell products and services by bringing us the "marketing mix" to help demystify and clarify the world of marketing. Despite his grandiose efforts, fast-forward to the 21st century, there is still heavy fog surrounding one of the most critical functions of an organization, clouded by cookies, pixels, and data.
So what is it? Why are we still so lost and clearly all over the place regarding the value of marketing?
We believe it has plenty to do with a profound lack of understanding and an immense ignorance of the function. Many think marketing is all about making money. We market to get rich, right? If we invest substantial dollars in promoting, pushing, positioning, targeting, and researching, then obviously, it is for the sake of ROI, correct?
We may lose a handful of potential clients due to what we're about to say next, but it has to be said. No. This concept couldn't be further from the truth. Does marketing result in sales? Yes. Will revenue result because of marketing? Absolutely (when done right). Should you see an increase in your bottom line? Yep! However, these are results. They are outcomes based on a specific action taken, but they are not the purpose of the action. Or, at least they shouldn't be.
Results and purpose are two different things. Results are all about the what, while purpose is all about the why. You must first know why you are doing something in order to be confident in what you should expect from that action. That is what makes the evolution of marketing so grand. It has grown from being product-focused to people-focused. A product focus marketer is only interested in the outcomes. A marketer whose full attention is on people mulls over the purpose. They recognize the power they behold and comprehend with an immense awareness the weight they bear.
We know what you're thinking, "It's not that serious. It's just marketing. You aren't changing the world." Here's our first mistake and a detrimental hurdle.
Before we defined people on Instagram and TikTok with millions of followers as influencers, marketing was already doing the job and continues to do so today. You see, that is at its heart what marketing is. The brilliant Darren Shearer said it like this, "Marketing is the art and science of strategic influence." In other words, marketers seek a specific response from a selected group of people. We are strategic influencers, motivating our audience to take a desired action. We inspire our audience to change their hearts and minds, driving and impacting their next steps. We are changing the world.
Think about it. Before social media arrived on the scene, marketers were already in the gaining followers game. Those who said yes to our proposals, found themselves loyal to our cause, and began spreading our word literally set fire to our movement by capturing our vision and embodying our perspective. We don't think of them as those we persuaded or individuals who took the bait. Instead, they are fans who believe in what we stand for and entrust themselves to us. We told them to join us in our thinking because to see it our way is a step in the right direction. We asked them to invest in us because to do so is an investment in self and the like-minded tribe they belong to. We convinced them that we are the answer and the solution they need to meet that unfilled void. They followed us because we told them we would transform their lives as they most desired. We promised to change their world.
Marketing aims to bring solutions, not rant about, rage against, or intensify the problem—we message to the listener the purpose, not merely seek results. What we say and do carry weight, and the impacts are rippling—as they should be. To whom much is given, much is required. Marketing is one powerful weapon, and it is up to us rather it will be one of destruction or one of restoration.
How have you seen marketing change the course of your organization? Let us know below. Haven't seen this transformation yourself? Tag us for a free consultation to learn more.