Is marketing a gimmick, or is it a game changer?

“Marketing is a gimmick.” It may not be what people have said explicitly, but it’s an attitude we face often. I believe in marketing. I take pride in my work. And it’s not only frustrating but disheartening to hear a business who truly needs a marketing strategy, brush marketing aside. 

But, as we’ve continued to dive into this belief, what we’ve found is so many businesses only THINK they’ve done marketing. They’ve paid marketing dollars to do one thing and believed if that one thing didn’t work, then marketing must not work. 

Sadly, we’ve seen many companies purchase what we would call a “marketing gimmick.” They’ve been sold one piece of the puzzle and are told it’s going to change their sales game forever. But, that would be called magic. And that doesn’t exist (unless we’re all just blinded Muggles). (P.S. Don’t tell Todd I said magic wasn’t real.)

Anyway, TV isn’t marketing magic. Radio isn’t. Facebook isn’t. Digital ads aren’t either. If anyone leads you to believe this, we call that “marketing malpractice.” So, what kind of marketing does work? 

Strategic marketing.

Quiz time!

Many confuse marketing activities with marketing strategy. So what does that mean? Here are three scenarios. See if you can spot the difference: 

a. I have a Facebook page and post occasionally on it. I tried running a few $10 ads but don’t think it had any impact.  

Marketing Strategy?     Marketing Activity? 

b. I bought a TV commercial once a few years ago. We came up with a message and created the video. It ran for a few months but I didn’t see much from it. 

Marketing Strategy?     Marketing Activity? 

c. Every Christmas we get together and create a message for our customers. Then we call the radio station and TV station and run ads with that message. We also post something similar to our Facebook page and Instagram. 

Marketing Strategy?     Marketing Activity? 

It’s possible, we might even say extremely probable, that you’ve been told all three of these consisted of a marketing strategy. The last scenario though is really the only one that resembles true strategy. It has a thought out message communicated through a variety of different platforms.

The other two are just activities or what we call “tactics”. This doesn’t make them bad by any means. Marketing activities are good. But, the question becomes how effective is that activity?

Are you spending your marketing dollars or maximizing them?

Understanding this can be a big shift in the way you think about marketing. When you sit down to talk strategy, you’re not discussing different packages you can purchase from a marketing vendor. When you sit down to talk strategy, you’re instead shifting your focus to your customers needs and wants. 

     1. Who needs your services or product? 

     2. How will you grab their attention? 

     3. What will you say to them once you have their eyes and/or ears?

AFTER you’ve decided these things, then you can decide the where. For your specific audience, do you need to create a TV commercial? Facebook ads? Youtube Preroll video ads? Do you need to start a blog? Start sending regular emails to contacts? And the list goes on. 

When you start thinking more about your customer’s needs in relation to your company’s goals, you can begin building a strategy that makes sense.

Here’s a good marketing day: Someone with a problem discovers your solution and understands exactly how to get it.  

Here’s a good sales day: Someone knows who you are and comes to you for your product/service. 

They’re not the same thing. They’re not competing with each other. They’re working toward different goals and strategy helps align the two for maximum impact. 

Marketing is simple. It’s complex. It can be simple, and complex; but marketing is different for every single business

You might start with research, but marketing strategy should never stop feeding marketing activities. You’re continually changing, growing and improving each campaign, each website, each advertisement, each email, each social media post, etc. 

The more data you have, the better decisions you can make. The better decisions you make, the more customers are able to discover your solution. The more customers that discover your solution, the more data you have.

The key? Remember your focus is not to speak about your company. You want to speak to your customer’s needs. Marketing is the aid that allows you to take someone from simply knowing they have a problem to knowing your product solves it. 

But, remember, none of your product benefits matter if your customer never hears or sees your brand message. 

Now, that’s a frustrating day in marketing. Let’s not have any more of those, OK? Let’s craft a strategy that has an impact not only on your company goals, but on your customer’s life too. 

Catie Overby

Article Written By:

Catie Overby

Content Strategist/Carries Ranch in Her Purse like Hand Sanitizer