Marketing is a fluid discipline. It is always moving and changing.
In accounting, 2+2 is always 4. Engineering follows the laws of Science. Medicine works on measured outcomes.
But marketing is, well, less constant.
Therefore, what’s taught, and what is learned, changes.
There is also an unmeasurable factor in marketing. It’s the hunch, the gut feel. Malcom Gladwell would suggest a marketer achieves a high state of ability at somewhere around 10,000 hours of experience, and the 2 Guyz agree with that.
Hunches, gut feel, marketing and promotional intuition are hard to teach, which is why they don’t usually end up in marketing textbooks. And the textbooks get even more outdated. But it doesn’t mean they are any less important.
Here are three things we, as the 2 Guyz On Marketing, have learned over time that no one textbooks ever taught us.
1) “Not Marketing” is NEVER a good long term strategy. Marketing means a lot of different strategies and tactics, but not promoting is never good. Not doing research on what is driving your customers to you is never a good tactic.
“We don’t do marketing, clients and customers come to us.” Work in marketing for a short time and you begin to hear this. It’s something that maybe once was true, but not anymore. Business moves too fast. Customers have too much buying power, information, and voice.
Back in 2010, digging out of the great recession, an executive said to us, “We never gave marketing much thought. Business came to us. But never again will I make that mistake. Thank goodness our line of credit got us through this drought of business. From here on out, we will actively market.”
Sure, there are times to pull back. There are times to regroup, restrategize, and reorganize. But just like falling off a bicycle, you need to get back on and start pedaling. Don’t mistake momentary pause with lack of effort.
A wise man once said in business, “If you’re not going forward, you are going backward.”
2) Customers have wants and needs. Wants are almost always more powerful than needs.
Natural marketers learn this early. Needs are about necessity, specification, and features. Wants are about desires, emotion, and benefits.
Advertising and marketing communications that appeal to emotion is almost always more powerful (and successful) than appealing to needs. Appeals at the right time delivers sales. Makes the cash register ring.
We teach that features about a product of service offering, whereas benefits are about what the product or service offering does for the customer.
Kids in school need tennis shoes for gym class. They WANT $200 Nikes. Women need a purse, but they might want the $1100 Louis Vuitton. Men might need a car, but many of them want a big truck, a BMW, or a Porsche.
3) Sex sells.
We don’t love this, but we have to admit it works quite often.
Car marketing uses it. Beer and alcohol producers use it. Fashion uses it. Heck, just about every category uses it. GoDaddy created a brand by blatantly using sex in advertising.
But it is not without baggage.
Sex in marketing can be short-term in success. Brands often find backlash with customer groups, media, and partners. GoDaddy has moved away from it. Way away.
In most cases, it’s “borrowed interest”, a form of bait and switch communication. It’s using something else to get attention, not your product itself.
These are just three of the many things marketers pick up on the “street”. It’s also part of what makes marketing so interesting!