Marketing is a recent science, especially based on its widely accepted definitions and is still less than 200 years old, whereas as branding is as old as “civilization” or at least civilization with formal trade and some form of currency!
However, just like the word branding, “marketing” is still misunderstood by most small business owners. In the same way that you can not control things you can not measure, you can not excel at things you do not understand!
Reading this blog one may get the impression that the author has little hope for the average small business owner, yet nothing can be further from the truth! SME owners and entrepreneurs in general are the most resilient and positive members of our society! And in fact they are (if still in business after 5 years from their start up) by definition great marketers…their opportunity and greatest challenge lies in becoming much better marketing communicators or simply better at branding their small businesses!
Below are the most common definitions of marketing:
U.K. Chartered Institute of Marketing:
Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumers’ requirements profitably.
American Marketing Association (AMA):
Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational goals.
The Marketing Association of Australia and New Zealand:
Marketing consists of activities that facilitate and expedite satisfying exchange relationships in a dynamic environment through the creation, distribution, promotion, and pricing of products (goods, services, and ideas).
Just like branding is mostly about differentiation and creation of positive perceptions inside the minds and hearts of your customers, marketing is a broader concept that can be summarized in 3 words “satisfaction of needs”, which is exactly why small business are great at doing what they do! They are great at what THEY DO, being plumbers, chiropractors, architects, builders, accountants, lawyers, etc
So what can the average small business do to improve their marketing? They need to start selling benefits rather than features of their products and services.
As someone undoubtedly famous said “sell the sizzle not the sausage”, “sell the absence of mice instead of mousetraps”, “shade instead of curtains”!
In the next entry we’ll examine why Marketing is synonymous with Promotion and why Branding is the critical element of promotion.