Ok, I’m going to take a moment and make fun of myself. Hopefully in the time I spend in self-ridicule you’ll see the point I’m trying to make. Marketing is challenging. There are many schools of thought about the best way to market a great product, but in reality every product is different and every customer is different and so there is no one best way to accomplish marketing for every situation. Each situation has to be considered for the unique qualities and added value it engenders.
When it comes to marketing, social media marketing is one of the current buzzwords. Social media is so prevalent in our lives. Whether for personal use or business communication, social media touches each of our lives. The question then remains how we may use social media as a means of communicating a marketing message, and how to do it in a positive and constructive manner.
Some say great products sell themselves—and I agree with this idea in principle but not always in practice. A product or service is inert and doesn’t actively sell anything. It’s people that sell products and services, by what they say about the product: whether this is a sales pitch from an employee or the friendly banter of a neighbor or associate. And to be honest, it’s too easy for a talented salesperson to sell a less than average product as a great product, or for popular opinion to own too much importance in a purchasing decision. Take the Holland tulip craze of the 1600’s, or Cabbage Patch dolls, or our stock market as examples of how public opinion can cause extraordinary purchasing frenzy.
So far I haven’t made much fun of myself, so let me now take the opportunity to begin by admitting that I’m relatively new to the marketing world. In fact I’ve only officially been employed in a marketing role for a little over a year now. Before last summer my work experience has revolved in some way or another around Information Technology. The really comical thing is that marketing is (in my opinion) all just a mixture of common sense and honest communication with a healthy dose of courtesy added. It just makes sense. For example, I have a great product that I get to tell people about every day. I understand that if I sat back and did nothing, my great product wouldn’t sell itself. No more opportunities would be generated for potential customers to use our product. No new content or messaging would help people understand the value and benefits of our technology. Without someone continually striving to share this information our products would essentially disappear.
This puts marketers in a precarious position. We have to know our products to be able to share why they are valuable, and we must know enough about our customers to see how they can benefit from these products. In addition we need to know about our competition in order to know when we’re the better solution. It’s unrealistic to believe that we can solve every problem with only one product. As I mentioned earlier: everyone and every situation is unique. This is why I don’t take myself too seriously. I understand I don’t know everything. And this knowledge of my own inadequacy helps me to come into a marketing opportunity willing to ask questions and to listen and then to share my own personal experiences with the product. I’m encouraged to not just talk about the value of our product but to actually show it. I don’t think I would have these characteristics if I were trained as a marketer and revved up to sell the product no matter what. And that to me is the key to successful marketing: to be a real person talking with other real people about the things that add value to our lives. There’s no ulterior motive. It’s really quite simple, and yet very powerful when we can just be ourselves and do what we love to do.
I’m including a link to a Spiceworld marketing presentation I participated in recently. I really enjoyed this panel discussion and it’s the seed for my comments today. If you’re interested, you can view this presentation in the Spiceworks forum here: