The Vital Importance of Marketing

When I was a newly-minted electrical engineer, “sales” was a career option. But I wanted nothing to do with sales. I was infected with the notion of the “pushy” sales person and saw him as the only sales model. I didn’t want to be that guy working for the dark side…

And now, some 25+ years after my graduation, I find myself moving to the dark side. Not because I’ve been tempted. Because I’ve matured. Because I now see sales – or more holistically, marketing – isn’t evil at all. It is a strategy for business success. A vitally important strategy if your business is to have any success at all.

Build a widget and people will automatically buy…

No, I’m afraid commerce doesn’t work that way.

People will buy your widget only if they know about it… Only if they understand how it fulfills a want, maybe a need, or solves a problem.

Someone must tell the world about your widget. Someone must link your widget to wants, needs and problems. Those “someones” are your people in Marketing.

Without effective marketing, you might as well move to the tundra of Northern Canada. Set up shop there, and try selling to polar bears and caribou.

The Three-Legged Stool of Your Company: Products + Operations + Marketing

Business Success = Products + Operations + Marketing
Products + Operations + Marketing = Success

Yes, you need a design and engineering department that creates products that are as good as or better than your competitors.

Yes, you need operations that build your products cost-effectively. You need good people to run an efficient business and in a way that makes your employees look forward to coming to work every morning.

But you’ll not be able to pay those employees and you’ll certainly not create any shareholder value if you’ve got no sales. Without strong marketing, your Three-Legged Stool will fall over.

The Essential Strategy for Any Marketing Department

Strategies are the business theories you use to create success. Tactics are what you do to achieve your strategies. For example, a strategy in chess is to control the centre of the board. Your tactics are how you move your chess pieces to gain control.

The essential marketing strategy is to attain, retain and develop customers with the goal of maximizing customer lifetime value. [Ref: Peter Fader, Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania]

In today’s consumer environment, you’ve got many traditional and many new tactics to implement this strategy:

  • Online and offline direct marketing via mail order, sales letters, infomercials, video sales letters
  • Space ads on billboards, in magazines and newspapers
  • Pay per click ads online
  • Websites
  • Cold-calling supported by follow-up mail and e-mail that delivers useful, informative content
  • Using social media to attract, engage, and inspire customers…

The Engineer-Turned-Copywriter

As an engineer, I love solutions. I love elegant solutions. A software program that’s quick and easy to use. A radar system that gives an air traffic controller the exact location of a plane, displayed on an elegant touch-screen display. Technology fascinates me.

As a writer, I love ideas. I love smashing two or more ideas together to see what I can create. I love human psychology. I love trying to understand why we act the ways do.

Now smash together the engineer and writer, and I see my exciting future in the world of copywriting. Understand a product deeply enough that I can map it to customer concerns, needs and interests. And do it all in a way that’s compelling to consume…

I can see the vital strength of the marketing leg in the corporate Three-Legged Stool. That strength is electrifying…

By Kevin Rokosh

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