Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Is Marketing Lying or What?

Marketing attractively presents a product or service to prospective customers. Having gotten that difficult definition out of the way, I would like to look closer at what marketing encompasses.

In the wine business, I performed marketing in two ways. I met customers face to face, and I wrote reams of marketing material with newsletters, brochures, and shelf talkers. Naturally, I tried to present our wines in the best light.

Presenting products or services in the best light represents the essence of marketing. At what point does “best light” actually obscure the truth?

Truth is a fuzzy word in this context because everyone has their view about things. Good marketing should not make anything up,  however. That is not the same as tellin’ it like it is, but honestly, the goal is to give a good picture.

I did not work on commission so I lacked that consideration. Still, inventory concerns and supplier relationships, among other forces, influenced me when I directed selection ideas toward customers. That’s business. But I wasn’t trying to hoodwink anyone.

In the end, customer satisfaction rules. You cannot afford to disappoint customers in the slightest, whether you work on commission or not.

In these circumstances, I did my best to hear what customers wanted. Why not? We had a good selection. Each wine is an individual statement, and everyone’s taste differs. Something accurate and positive about a wine could always be said. Besides, we did not carry faulty wines. Whether I would purchase a wine need not enter the conversation.

Marketing, then, presents what is good about the product or service. This does not mean hiding flaws. To do that will bite you in the ass every time. Every time!

Big companies like Google and Microsoft cannot get marketing straight so I offer a numbered list of marketing rules.

  1. Explain the product or service clearly. That fuzziness in your head after reading Google explain Wave or Microsoft explain Live is not your fault.
  2. Explain pricing clearly. In other words, do not act like a cable company.
  3. Regard problems with your product or service as flaws to be fixed not features to hide.
  4. Learn from your competitors but do not copy them. Create your own niche using your own innovation and distinction.

No comments: