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Marketing Begins with Product Development


Oh, how it has evolved over the past few years—and for the better.

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

— Current definition, according to the American Marketing Association

Not so many years ago, they defined it this way:

“Marketing is the process of planning and executing conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of goods, ideas and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals.”

My favorite marketing authority, Seth Godin, remarked in a CopyBlogger podcast, that marketing used to be …

“… about this notion that if you ran enough ads, they didn’t have to be good, just had to run enough, they would pay for themselves. It was a perpetual motion machine of money.

“That ended a few years ago, and I would like to describe marketing as the art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and then spreads. That story better be true, which means that implicit in marketing is making something for which, or about which, you could tell a story that resonates.

“This is almost diametrically opposed to what every big company marketer in the world does and lots of little company marketers who think they are supposed to copy big company marketers. They think their job is to “get the word out” and that they have a moral right, and a professional obligation, to interrupt everyone they can to talk about their average stuff for average people.”

Marketing, today, starts by making connections with those who may find your product or service of value to them. First, publish information that connects your expertise to people who value it. Build interest, then loyalty, followed by trust. Finally, introduce your wares.

Think about when to start thinking about your marketing. In that podcast, Seth continued:

“My argument is, given the choice, the purest form of marketing starts from scratch and that if you are an ad agency, your big win is to let your clients have you sit in on the product development meetings. Then you can help them design products that don’t need advertising, but if all you are going to do is sit there and wait for them to bring their average stuff, you’ve made your job much harder.”

Internet access has shifted the control of the purchase process from the provider to the customer. People research what they want, when they want, how they want. And, repeatedly interrupting people with messages about offerings they probably have no interest in just isn’t working like it used to, when audiences were captive on television, radio, and newspaper.

To the point that marketing starts with communications and connection, Seth concludes:

“If you want the wind at your back, take a deep breath, prepare to get rich slow and you will get rich slow by emulating this connection economy process that is relentlessly successful as opposed to herking and jerking from come on to scheme to come on to scheme and in the long run you are going to get nowhere.”