21 Jan 2014

Marketing Matters

Marketing is more than the icing on the cake.

Marketing means different things to different people. Some see it as the icing on a cake; something to do if they have the money, and the first thing they cut in a downturn. Others put it centre stage, an essential ingredient in the profitability and prospects of a company and a market.

Most commonly, marketing is used as a general term for advertising, literature lead generation and promotion. For some that’s all it is: the slicker their website, the ‘better’ their marketing. But it is only half the story. A full-on website that misses its mark is just a faster way of spending your money.

The misunderstanding arises because marketing is both a set of techniques and a concept or an idea. Rather like an iceberg, there is a visible part (techniques such as advertising) and an invisible part (a concept, or way of thinking about things). The invisible part is arguably the more important and the most often ignored.

Perhaps it’s only in hindsight when we look back on companies or industries that minimise marketing that we can see its importance. In building and construction glossy ads and slick websites are becoming more common. But it’s a sure sign of weak marketing when prices are under pressure, and there are a lot of prices under pressure in these markets.

Many big strategic issues, the ones that make a difference to a company’s long-term performance and its competitive edge, are marketing problems. And companies who don’t address these problems discover that it’s harder, sometimes impossible, to grow or achieve the prices and profits they want. Those who do are more consistently profitable. On average when companies with strong brands are acquired they sell for twice the amount that companies with weak or no brands sell for.

A brand is reputation and a promise. People buy Coca Cola, Mercedes or Heinz because they trust that promise of quality, service and aftercare and will pay more for it. Marketing builds brands.

Marketing matters, whether we choose to ignore it or not.

Agree? Disagree? Want help with your marketing? Comment below, tweet @MRAMarketing or email social@mra-marketing.com.

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