Apparently marketing != (just) promotion

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Don has two replies up to my response to his post about how his wife is beginning to hate marketers.

(Incidentally, it's kind of fun to have an inter-blog exchange. This is a first for me, and I believe it is for Don too.)

In his first response, Don wrote in part:

I DESPISE advertising that manufactures need. I think much of the advertising aimed at kids borders on the unethical.

But that's not marketing.

Not the essence of it anyway. Marketing is much more than promotion. It's also about developing products and services that meet a need, pricing them at a level the market can bear, placing them where they can be found, and staking a brand position in the market that differentiates them from the competition. The essence of all these things is facilitating the connection between buyer and seller.

I'm happy that we both despise the same thing!

I'll confess, I've never stopped to consider that product development could be considered a part of marketing. "Staking a brand position in the market" sounds like promotion to me, though. (I suspect there is some subtle difference; perhaps I'm just too obtuse to see it.)

In his second response he elaborates more:

At any rate, Michael's objection wasn't with marketing, it was with promotion. Promotion--advertising, direct, publicity, media relations and the like--is probably the most villified of the 5 P's (the other four, for you non-marketers, are product, placement, pricing and position). I believe some of that disdain is deserved. But in most cases, the problem isn't that marketers want to manufacture a need. They just want to be the one out of many choices that people make. They want to connect buyer and seller.

Of the millions of people that see a TV spot for Meier & Frank, the vast majority of them will ignore it. The rest of audience will either go to the store or wish they could. But for a retailer like M&F, whose business model depends on getting as many people into the store that they possibly can, that's the best they can do. They've got to cast as wide a net as they can. Competition and the constant need for growth compel almost all businesses to do the same.

Is there any way to distinguish the business model of Meier & Frank (casting as wide a net as possible to sell their wares, driving Don's wife to hate marketers in the process) and the sundry firms who daily seem to try to get me to enlarge various organs of my body, or buy all kinds of perscription drugs online? Aren't they too merely casting the net that their business model requires?

As a society we're suffering from information overload. I don't have time for the promotional hype. I'd be less bothered by the plain facts, without lots of hyperbole.

I still cringe when I see Deseret Book advertising; really, come on now... does their marketing department honestly believe every single title published is sure to be cherished for generations? (On the contrary, for every copy that ends up being bequeathed to a future generation, several hundred—if not more—copies end up for sale for 25¢ at Deseret Industries...)

I guess what I (and probably Don's wife) long for is just the plain facts, without the hype, without being patronizing or condescending or exaggerated—and all of that spoken with a real voice. Most companies and organizations aren't doing that in 2005.

I suspect Don will tell me that is what exactly what Seth and other marketing-thinkers are saying (if I but took the time to tune in to what they were saying; maybe we're already mostly in violent agreement?... :-)

—Michael A. Cleverly


Louis Zirkel III: [ mail | www | link ]

The first thing that comes to my mind when you mention hype is the numerous movies I've seen advertisted in the past few years that fail to deliver in comparison with their hype.

Mon, 27 Jun 2005, 00:01

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