Our businesses can provide for the life we dream of, and be so valuable to our customers that it is a pleasure to work. Your business can be irreplaceable, adored, and a marketing function can do it for you. But….
You’re put off by the ‘M’ word.
Marketing is a crucial factor in the success of nearly every business. Still, at the same time, it’s become almost a dirty word. So why the disconnect?
It’s because many people associate marketing with advertising, manipulation and tricks. Actually, when business owners question the value of marketing, they’re usually confusing it with lesser marketing communications tactics. Advertising, selling, a website with SEO, social media etc. are all just small parts of marketing. And manipulation should have nothing to do with it.
Even if you love your product and service, customers will only turn up for you if they see the value for themselves. True marketing creates positive outcomes for both you and your customers.
At its bones, marketing is the function in your business that is responsible for creating value, communicating value, delivering value and exchanging value with your customers.
Value is actually essential. So what is it?
Unfortunately, ‘value’ has become a victim of its own success and is now a business buzzword. Like all business buzzwords, it gets watered down by misuse. Put simply, benefit minus cost equals value. And these costs and benefits are often not monetary. It’s been said, ‘There’s no such thing as too expensive; it’s just that things either have value or don’t have value.’
Therefore, how can you knock your customers’ socks off? What do you need to do for the value to be so apparent to your customers that they wonder why they wouldn’t come to you?
Consciously creating value is a central marketing principle. And without it, business owners are leaving money on the table all the time.
If you think it’s all about you, you’re missing out.
Beware of creating a product then looking for ways to sell it. Called ‘product concept’, this is the traditional but dated way of operating that requires lots of hard selling. The job is not to find the right customer for your product, but the right product for your customer. This is a marketing concept that results in both a more prosperous and a more gratifying working life.
Therefore, one of the responsibilities of a marketing function is to help your business to understand your customers’ needs and desires; both unspoken and explicit. Everyone in your business can gather the information that will allow you to be relevant to your customer and to communicate with them effectively.
But at the heart of any successful value creation is a great product or service. Everything that happens before your customer or client starts using your product or service is just a marketing promise.
The aim is an honest win-win, where there’s positive value for both your business and your customers. This way you build trust and a long-term relationship.
Marketing in the real sense of the word helps businesses purposefully create an entire customer experience that your customers are happy to invest in repeatedly and to tell others about. Your whole organization unites to contribute to this value. Which, in turn, creates an engaged and meaningful workplace.
Have all cylinders firing for take-off.
If you picture your business as a plane, your products/services are its elegant wings. You, your people and your other investments fuel the flight. And your marketing is your plane’s engine.
Even as you need wings for flight, marketing is the function of your business that will lift you higher and propel you forward. As a business, you can glide along on wings for a while. But a quality engine will move you faster and put your business on surer footing into the future.