In a blog by Andrew Stein, he asks the seemingly straightforward question, “What is Marketing?” and he rightly criticized one suggestion that “Marketing is what you do in business when you try to convince people to buy what you have to sell.”
For me, the notion that marketing “convinces” customers is dangerously archaic. At “best,” such gross naivety might result in convincing (read: tricking) a buyer to buy — once — only to flamingly fail when it is abhorred as the brand that doesn’t respect nor embrace the customer who, by all post-’90s business and media knowledge and metrics, is The One in Control of pricing, product, place and promotion.
I agree with Stein’s preference for an alternative definition from Nirmalya Kumar’s “Marketing as Strategy”: “Marketing is the transformational engine that delivers substantial revenue growth and increased profitability.”
But the word “transformational” can mislead CEOs and others to think of marketing as an item — the promotions — at the end of a checklist in the business plan. Or as a tool for transformation and rebirth, rather than, say, formation, the very concept, viability and beginning — the blueprint and priority due diligence of a business.
Conversely, a business that knows marketing is its strategic blueprint will assure that the business rises with great structural integrity built from discriminating market research, market strategy, market positioning, market planning and execution. Forming or transforming a business, it is the Market (and, hence, Marketing) that informs business decisions on technology, people, operations, process, place and budget. No “convincing” is necessary if the business starts (or restarts) and grows from a marketing plan written and edited as much by the customers as by the brand and CMO.
Convincer or Blueprinter?
Latest Update: Jun 05, 2016
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