You Clearly Don’t Know Anything About Marketing, You Twit

You Clearly Don't Know Anything About Marketing, You Twit
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Over the Independence Day week, I had the good fortune to visit with friends for a day of eating, drinking and making merry. At some point, my attention was diverted from drinking and merrymaking to a conversation between a friend and someone I did not know; let’s call him Bob. I overheard Bob say, “I can have a successful business without any marketing.”

And I said…

“You clearly don’t know anything about marketing, you twit.”

It was taken the way it was intended; light hearted and fun. Plus, I was shitfaced so you could hardly blame me.

I asked Bob what he did. Bob described his business succinctly, intelligently, but with a palpable passion. When he was done, I paused just long enough to make it dramatic and said, “You just engaged in marketing your business.”

Bob said, “That’s not marketing. That’s just talking.”

And I said…

“You clearly don’t know anything about marketing, you twit.”

“Why’s that?” Bob asked.

This is what I slurred. Kinda.

Why Do You Need Marketing?

The mission of every business is to have paying customers.

Create positive experiences for prospects and they may turn into those paying customers. But create negative experiences and you will all but guarantee that they won’t.

Bob considers those experiences to be limited to a very narrow set of interactions such as handing out business cards or brochures. But Bob is wrong because everything he and his employees do is marketing.

The way you answer the phone is marketing. Your tone, tenor and disposition will create an immediate experience for a potential or existing customer.

The clothes you wear to a business meeting are part of your marketing.

The unkempt crinkles and folds in your business cards because you didn’t store them in a card holder is marketing.

All of these things speak to your potential customer either consciously or subconsciously. It makes an impression in their minds.

I once had a client tell me that he hired me because my belt buckle matched my cuff links. Seriously. He thought that represented attention to detail.

Marketing!

Too often business people fall into the false belief that marketing is a tangible good represented by business cards, brochures and ads. They don’t understand that as long as they are representing their business they are always marketing and always selling.

Good Marketing Supplemented By Bad Marketing

A few months ago, a colleague of mine fired a client after the client refused to treat his customers well. The client was losing customers, but did not understand why. He had beautiful business cards printed on gorgeous expensive paper, a knockout website, an enviable social media campaign and a variety of professional print ads.

So what was the problem? As it turns out, the client and his staff treated his customers poorly, sometimes going so far as picking fights with them. Because the business was limited to a geographic area, word got around and the loss of clients was not balanced with an inflow of new clients.

Did they have good marketing? Of course not.

Everything is marketing.

You twit.

You may read the above as less about marketing and more about customer service, but really, what’s the difference? The words “customer service” could replace every instance of the word “marketing” in this post, but the concepts would remain intact.

Here’s a personal example. I lease a nice sports car. It’s a great car. It’s solid, fast and dependable. My experience with it has been great, but my experience with the company that leased me the car is terrible. When I go to service my car, if the person behind the desk is in a personal conversation with a co-worker, they will continue unless interrupted. When my vehicle is returned after maintenance, they give me the keys and walk away without telling me where the car is. The list goes on and on and it happens each and every time.

On the walls of the dealership hang ads, brochures and photos of smiling happy employees helping an ethnically diverse set of customers. What a wonderful world. Don’t for a moment think that the quality of those ads represents good marketing and that the parallel behavior is not a part of the overall marketing mix. If you don’t agree, then…

You clearly don’t know anything about marketing, you twit.

Everything you do; every call, every email, every face-to-face interaction is marketing. Those are opportunities to create positive experiences.

So What Should You Do If You Run A Business?

For starters, do the stuff that you consider marketing, but also create a culture of marketing mindfulness in your organization. Train your staff not only to do their jobs, but to present a positive experience to customers while doing so. Your employees are your front lines, not your dopey business card.

You could have the most beautiful, glossy, high resolution, full color brochure ever produced by the creative mind of man, but if your belt buckle doesn’t match your cuff links, then…

You clearly don’t know anything about marketing, you twit.

Ralph M. Rivera
Hi, I'm Ralph! I'm a web developer at Rahvalor Interactive, a creative marketing services company that I founded in 1999 with my wife and business partner Carol Lynn. In January 2012 we created Web.Search.Social as a branded service offering that brings enterprise-level services to small businesses in an affordable way. I'm also founder and CTO of Podcaster's Toolbox, a SaaS platform designed to help podcasters plan, produce and promote their shows. I teach web development at Manhattan College in New York City. Carol Lynn and I are home based near the Jersey shore but we're currently location independent and traveling the country for a year, working and podcasting. I'm also trying to build a flux capacitor, but that's not going as well as the other stuff I do.
Ralph M. Rivera
Ralph M. Rivera