It’s interesting most folks that consider themselves Marketers, especially of the online variety, seem to only discuss and have ideas about Advertising. But of the 4 P’s that make up Marketing – Product (which includes People), Price, Place (channel), and Promotion – Promotion (Advertising) is the weakest element of the four.
I say weakest because Advertising cannot fix a poorly thought out Product, Pricing Strategy, or Distribution system. It just can’t. Yet huge amounts of money are wasted trying to do exactly that.
Perhaps this why someone feels they need to publish a book that tells people Product is important in Marketing. To me, that’s the most circular or redundant idea for a Marketing book I’ve ever heard.
Marketing starts with Product, which should include all the audience or market segmentation studies (People) that drive the creation of the Product – defining the need. If you do this first and develop a Product which truly fills the need, AND you get the Pricing and Distribution right, the Product will literally sell itself to the core audience.
If you can make it that far, THEN the Product can perhaps be sold to the next segment out from the core through Advertising. All “Marketers” should know this.
So why is the online Marketing space so focused on Advertising? I can think of a few reasons:
1. Most online Marketers don’t really have a Marketing background, they come from Advertising or the Technology work closely tied to online Advertising. Since all they do is online Advertising, the distinction doesn’t matter.
2. In some companies, Marketing has been “downgraded” as a Strategic function to become “Marcom”, which isn’t really Marketing, but Communications – Advertising + PR. So the people working in “Marketing” simply are not required to have Marketing skillsets.
3. Many people just have no idea that Advertising and Marketing are different; they simply don’t know. This often creates confusion, because concepts that seem brand new to Advertising people are often well understood by Marketing people, even though Advertising is a part of Marketing! Examples would include any concept or activity considered “customer centric”.
I have in the past encouraged people in online Marketing to audit some Marketing classes and find out what the bigger picture is, because if you understand how all the pieces fit, you end up being a much better Marketer. This is especially true with online where there is so much integration and measurement. And when we get to real offline – online integration, understanding the more global concept of Marketing becomes really important.
No time for classes?
If you’re interested in broadening your understanding of Marketing, there is a book that provides a framework for understanding the Marketing issues you are not familar with but skips over a lot of detail you probably do know about Advertising. It came out a few years ago and I think it was largely missed by the online community whose primary focus was (is?) Advertising.
Now that the web is coming together nicely as a channel, perhaps it would be a good time for online Marketers who lack a Marketing background to pick up a copy of Marketing Champions and learn what’s ahead for you: owning the customer relationship, company-wide.
That is, if you decide Marketing is the career path you wish to follow.
There is so much more to Marketing than Advertising. If you really want to change the outcome, transform a company, Marketing is the medium. Advertising is just the message.
Note to Web Analysts: You will find Marketing Analysis – Customers segmented by Product Affinity, Channel Preference, Service Experience, etc. at least as exciting as Traffic Analysis!
Thoughts? Any other reasons why the online Marketing space is so focused on Advertising and ignores the rest of the P’s?