What is marketing, we seem to talk about it endlessly and we all seem to think we know what it is, but when you get down to it, how do you define it?

Well, being a simple kind of person, what I mean by that is I avoid the complex like the plague, I’ll give you my definition.  

Marketing is having a conversation with someone who has a problem they don’t want or who wants something they don’t have. 

Pretty simple really.  The challenging bit come about when you try and decide who to have that conversation with and what to say to them.  Making it even more challenging is knowing that some of the people you are trying to have a conversation with sometimes don’t know they have a problem or want something they don’t have.

A perfect example of wanting something you don’t have and not knowing it, is the smart phone.  I never knew I needed a smart phone until Steve Jobs told me, now I can’t run my business without one.

One of the ways I see businesses try and overcome this challenge is to ask their clients what they want.  Marketing companies call these focus groups.  These can be a big mistake.  To miss quote Henry Ford, “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse”.  He never actually said that, but you see my point.

If we accept marketing is about having a conversation, then we need to stop telling and selling in our marketing collateral and start having valuable conversations that encourage our potential clients to engage with us

In my next post I’ll explore what marketing is about or in other words, what it is supposed to do.

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