When most people think of "marketing," they think of the glamorous, glossy world of advertising. It's a common misconception, but one that could spell doom for your business. To understand why, you have to first understand how advertising fits into The Seven Essential Systems. This model helps you see your business as an organized unit comprised of seven sub-systems. In The SES, advertising is part of the Lead Generation System - not the Marketing System.
Why? Because simply put: advertising is not marketing.
It's easy to waste advertising dollars
Think about all the hype surrounding Super Bowl television ads. People say that they are the best. But are they? Really?
About 100 million people watch the Super Bowl each year; it's one of the most popular American television events of the year. So let's say that your business is in the United States, and that your target market is comprised completely of US residents. If you advertised on the Super Bowl your ad would be seen by roughly a third of the US population. But the question is: how many of them are in your target market? Do the people in your target market even own a television? How many of them like sports? How many of them like football? How many of them watch the Super Bowl? How many of them actually watch the commercials during the Super Bowl? Would the cost of this ad really be worth it? How do you know?
That's the trick. You have to know something about your target market before you spend a dime on advertising. Imagine that you spent $2.6 million on a Super Bowl ad (that's how much a 30-second spot cost last year), only to find out that barely 10% of your target market watches the game. If you can afford to throw that kind of money at that small of a percentage, stop reading now and start pumping that cash into the economy!
The rest of you need to do your homework first.
The power of marketing
The truth is, not everyone is a customer for your products or services. What your business sells may be perfect for some people, but completely inappropriate for others...and just so-so for others. In The Seven Essential Systems model, Marketing is about understanding your customers. It's the research and analysis of your customers that identifies who they are, where they are and why they buy from you.
And that's the key: you need to know your customers. You need to know the kind of customers you want to attract to your business. You need to understand the demographics of your target market: their age, gender, occupation, income, education, marital status, location, race, ethnicity, etc. And you need to understand the psychographics of your target market: their self-perceptions, personal values, environmental perceptions, behavioral perceptions, functional needs, purchase preferences, etc.
Do you know any of that about your most probable customers? If you don't, you need to find out before you spend a dime on lead generation activities.
Effective marketing depends on identifying the customers and prospective customers who will produce the best results for your business, and then focusing your marketing activities (including advertising) on them.
The more you accomplish in the Marketing System (the more you know your customers) the less you will have to do in the Lead Generation System (where advertising comes into play.) The more you accomplish in the Lead Generation System, the less you will have to do in the Lead Conversion System... See where this is going?
So when you get right down to it, how well you know your most probable customers can make or break your business. And that's why marketing is so important. A bit of research at the beginning of your sales cycle can save you time, money and headaches down the line.