No, it’s not. But, this is what a lot of people think.
Marketing is scary to some people. It usually signifies an outlay of cash, wherein your cash heads off to some uncontrollable abyss and is lost forever.
That’s not quite right.
Marketing done wrong, with the wrong mindset and the wrong expectations, may head off to the abyss. Marketing done right, with the right mindset and expectations, heads to your pockets and towards your overall goodwill.
I’ve met with countless people who say “I know I need marketing, I just don’t know how to go about it because I don’t have deep pockets.” That is a very fair statement. I believe most people confuse advertising with marketing. They are not one in the same. Advertising is what you see every day…on TV, during the Super Bowl, when you’re on your favorite website, when you get emails you don’t really care about. These are all forms of advertising. Advertising is a subset of marketing. Sometimes, advertising is a very viable form of marketing. Other times, it is not.
So what does the rest of marketing encompass? Search marketing, or SEO. Web design & creative services. PR. Events. Direct mail. Other offline media. Marketing is vast, and therefore, it constitutes scary to some with good reason. Yet, a full-fledged marketing plan is something well thought-out and entirely not scary. If you think of advertising as the sole tenant of marketing, that is short-sighted.
I believe that advertising – because most people equate advertising with marketing – actually does a disservice to the rest of the marketing field. Not intentionally, of course, because certainly advertising has a place in any good marketer’s overall plan. But, because advertising symbolizes spending money without any assurance of return, in most cases. Advertising includes billboards, banners, commercials and lots of other “hazy” things to people that spend money on them. What about branding? Sure, advertising aids branding and is important for that to some extent. But, advertising is one prong of the overall marketing machine. It isn’t the start and isn’t the end.
When considering why marketing is scary for you, think about why it is so. Is it spending the money? Is it spending the money with no guarantee? Is what you’re thinking about considered advertising and not marketing?
I’ve gone on record by stating that marketing – overall, to include the dozens of prongs of marketing – is NOT an investment. It is something that should pay off and be quantifiable for your brand or for sales. I would urge everyone to think of marketing on a much more “macro” level. Advertising might or might not pay off immediately. But what about PR efforts in tandem with advertising? What about SEO? What about a sound social media strategy? Thinking about advertising in a bubble, and equating it with the entirety of marketing, is a mistake. Marketing is interconnected, and cannot be thought of in silos. Yet, most people do. People think marketing is all about cash outlay, with no insight into what might or might not happen. This is not marketing; it is much more often advertising. Think in the course of your day-to-day dealings: you do a web search, you see social media results (Social Media), you see website links (SEO), you see articles from journalists about your brand (PR and reputation management), and you see what people are saying about you. Each of these prongs of marketing are by themselves individual strategies that people need to think about and respond to…incidentally, mostly, without enormous cash outlays.
This isn’t a bash on advertising. It should be a part of any good marketer’s plans. Yet, I believe too often people equate the two, when in reality that is a big mistake.
Marketing is a universal umbrella; advertising is a spoke underneath the umbrella, just like offline, direct mail, social, PR and search are.
It is scary if you think of marketing one way; a lot less scary if you think of it the right way. Interconnected and integrated.