Marketing Schmarketing. What does it mean?

When people ask me what I do, I usually say “I’m an on-demand chief marketing officer” which is a fancy way of saying “I’m a marketing guy”. This response is usually met with a blank stare. It’s not that these smart people don’t have an inkling of what “marketing” is – it’s just that the word “marketing” has been so abused, misused and overused that it has become meaningless. I place the blame squarely on the marketing industry itself.

It seems that any company or consultant who is peripherally involved in the marketing process is a “strategic marketing” something or another. Even though they might actually be a web design shop or a printer or even a sales rep firm, they use the word “marketing” as a catch all term. It just sounds important. And way sexier than “We print stuff”. But for those of us who actually do “marketing” strategy, things get a little sketchy.

Marketing is a specific discipline that encompasses a lot of activities. My focus is on setting the strategy so all the activities align and produce a desired result (usually defined as making the damn sales curve go up). The un-sexy truth is that “marketing” is really a process of critical analysis and research to ensure that strategic and tactical decisions are being made based on facts. Real marketing people help clients figure out WHAT to do first, then HOW to do it.

Sure there is creativity and some level of inspiration that come into play but it’s really just a process. So I’ll keep using the word “marketing” and I’ll keep writing these articles to help you figure out who does what in the marketing eco-sphere. Sometimes you need a web developer (EnterMedia is an awesome firm in Austin, TX) and sometimes you need a sales person. But before all that, you might actually need some help setting the strategy. That’s what us “marketing guys” do.

Photo by Greg Szarkiewicz

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