Business, Marketing

Marketing Fairy Tales You Shouldn't Believe

business-marketingWritten By Mark Combs,

Once upon a time there was a brave entrepreneur that went to work everyday, did their job and made ends meet. But all was not well for the entrepreneur, you see he needed more customers and didn't know where to find them. On his way to work he stopped by a local merchant to get some advice. “How can I get more customers?” The merchant told the entrepreneur

"Do Something! Any marketing at all, is better than doing nothing"

The entrepreneur thanked him for his advice and left the shop, all the while thinking the merchant's advice didn't make any sense. After all, marketing cost money and if I "just do something" without knowing who my customers are and speaking to their needs I would be throwing money away instead of making it.

The entrepreneur stopped by the bakery for his morning pastry, so he asked the baker what advice he had for marketing his business. The baker thought a second and quipped

"Advertising and marketing are the same."

This didn't set well with the entrepreneur either. He knew that advertising is purchasing time or space to convey a message and marketing was the overall strategy of promoting goods and services to consumers. As he finished his breakfast he dismissed the baker's advice and decided to ask for more advice. The florist said

"The best marketing portrays a product as beautiful or sexy.

When he heard this, he knew it wasn't true, because just last night he saw an infomercial with a heavy man yelling at the TV camera about how some hand cleaner helped him Julianne fries or something. And everyone knows infomercials can sell lots of products. The meter maid said

"Hire a firm! Great marketing is created by highly paid executives on Park Place."

The entrepreneur shook his head. Even if that were true, he couldn't afford to hire a firm. He remembered great marketing stories like Dominoes, and Mcdonald's, and Mary Kay who started small with great marketing and grew to the giants they are today. Then she added

"Make sure you get one with lots of awards!"

Our entrepreneur knew awards are typically ways for industries to pat themselves on the back and the selection process was very political and was tied to money somehow. The only awards that seemed legitimate were ones given for the most response generated by a campaign. Awards mean nothing if the marketing was ineffective. The used car guy responded

"Why are you asking me? Salespeople aren’t really part of the marketing process. 

If marketing is supposed to generate sales, would salespeople be an integral part of the message you use? The entrepreneur thought long and hard about how marketing is a lot like selling, but bigger. It's selling to many people at the same time. As the used car guy was walking away he yelled

"Selling is easy! I could train a chimp to do it!"

The years of experience our entrepreneur had told him this was wrong too. He had a sales job, he knew you can’t train non-salespeople to sell. It just didn't fit. And likewise, you can’t stop good salespeople from selling. He figured it was best to have one of the good salespeople, and pay them what they are worth. The accountant peered over his glasses and said

"It's a numbers game. I am sure there is a formula you could use to get more sales."

As the entrepreneur landed at his desk dismissed this advise as well. Obviously every company is unique. Those unique companies have goals that are unique. They all try different strategies, techniques and messages. How then, can one formula apply to every case?

He was about to give up his quest when the shoe shine boy walked into his shop, so one more time he asked the now tired question, "how can I get more customers?" The shoe shine boy looked up and said

"Get the right message to the right customer." The End.

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