I have a very special idea around marketing. Maybe this is a result of being a technical guy and having to deep dive into marketing.
History of Marketing
For me marketing is more than advertizing. When marketing started beginning last century it was all about product information. The markets were far way from being saturated and all you need was telling people that your product is there and outline some basic (say technical) details.
The next phase entered certainly somewhere between the sixties and the mid-seventies. The markets got saturated and phase of hardcore advertizing started. It was like the invention of the machine gun. If one shot doesn’t do it, well, maybe six hundred will. The real technical details were less and less important since more or less all products fulfilled the basic necessities. Instead the message was loaded with happy, sexy, young, successful people which have nothing to do with the original product (or do you think only good looking blondes do use your cleaning product?).
Today we enter certainly a new phase, call it Web 2.0 or not. Maybe we should leave naming to the next generation they will have a better overview. Today we are all able to actively ignore advertisement. While most “marketing” and media professionals still wrestle with it: The effectiveness of classical advertisement goes to zero. It is still necessary to get the information out but the filters within our brains get better and better.
Even more freighting, some of the best known brands today did make their way without any classical marketing stuff like advertisement…have you seen ads on Google or facebook?? See…
New Definition of Marketing
For me the new definition of marketing is Peter Drucker’s definition of the most prominent goal of any organization: “To generating customers”.
So today marketing is no longer about “sell what’s loaded on the lorry”. It is about helping define a product or service by finding necessities within a market. Communicate this to the product group and let them do their magic. Some time later the product is about to be distributed marketing steps up again. The goal is now to establish the product in the market. Yes, this includes basic advertisement. Because it is still a way to get people to know the thing upfront. But people being hammered at with the brand name are far away from being customers.
What you need is a real value. You can get through the filter if you offer real value, the ability to be part of the whole thing… all the things that the Web 2.0 preachers tell you. But this is only the first step. Because to really get people to become a customer after getting them interested the product must stand for itself. Be of value… and here it gets very personal. Don’t get me wrong here: Sorry to say but most of us are not originals. Most of us try to copy the style etc. of some others we admire. In the end it resolves to a unique mix of things we admire from a mix of different sources.
But wait: Generate Value, isn’t this the job of the product group?? Well, partly. Every product group needs to follow a lifecycle. The more complex a product is the longer this lifecycle is. Adopting the product to (local) markets is left to marketing. To adopt a product to the customer needs to know the right mix…
Learnings I had
We observed in the past is exactly this. There are some missing pieces which are not a basic critic on the product but the need to shape the flavor or to add something special on top.
I experienced in the past very often that the product itself is very good but lacks adoption because of a missing part. It is like the well-known situation of missing the last 5 cm (or inches - you choose) of power line to get the plug into the wall. Here innovation is needed and it can resemble itself in product or process. Regarding product, most of the times it is not rocket science. But nobody does it first hand because it has no direct benefit for the guy who does it.
In our case as a software company it reveals into adding a bit of software development on top of it. Marketing needs developers to build this glue on top!!!
A good example is Internet Explorer. To build a plug in IE offers a COM based API to do so. A lot of plugins exist on this base.
We asked developers here in Germany why they do not make use of it. Well, the answer is: make it easier and more fun to do it.
Well, so we build a managed-wrapper and posted it on Code-Gallery. While the IE product team certainly needs to focus on their main audience (which is the consumer) we have been asked to look after the developer audience.
So what’s in it
Hey, marketing is the place to be if want to be creative. Not only in choosing what photos to use in an ad but to shape things the right way.