Wikipedia says that:
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments. It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves.
Blah, blah, blah. Sounds great, but it’s completely useless. It’s almost the general definition of Business.
Let me give you a much more useful way to look at marketing:
Marketing is offering people something that is more valuable to them than the price you are charging – and getting them to see that it’s a good deal.
The first part is trade. The second part makes it marketing.
Marketing is not something you do to customers, it’s something you do for customers.
It’s the service of making the right decisions easier for the customer.
This statement has been floating around the Internet for years. It’s my most quoted statement. I’m delighted, because it goes right to the core: make the right decision easy.
Why is marketing about making decisions easier?
Because easy means faster and that’s really the hidden secret behind marketing success. If you can get customers to make decisions faster for your product than the competitor’s products, then you accumulate customers faster, even without greater brand choice.
But “faster” isn’t the primary thing to focus on. When people focus on getting the customer to act faster, they end up pushing or pulling the customer, creating resistance, and prolonging the decision cycle.
It’s sort of what happens when people focus directly on making money as the primary goal, rather than creating value. Money is a consequence of value creation, in fact, it’s the primary way that value is stored. Focus on money first, and weird things happen. Focus on value, and magical things happen. In the same way, focus on making customer decisions easier and simpler every step of the way, and sales accelerate automatically.
Marketing = easier decisions. Another reason
People are overloaded, with dozens of New Media. They don’t have time to deliberate. They are swamped. They don’t have time to sort through the flood of information. You provide the service of saving people from the time and burden of deliberation.
Marketing helps the customer at every step of the decision-making process:
- Helps the customer find you more easily. In fact, marketing in good companies is part of product development in most good companies. The product wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for marketing.
- Helps the customer get information about you more easily, understand it, weigh it, see what’s relevant, compare you to the competition
- Helps the customer try your product, evaluate the trial, decide who the winner is.
- Helps make it easier to buy, pay, get delivery, reduce risk (return policies, guarantees & warranties)
- Helps the customer learn, use, fix and teach the product. Only a few companies have discovered that customer service isn’t a cost center, it’s a marketing center. Companies like Amazon, Zappo’s, Apple.
- Should be insisting on better user interfaces, better help methods, better training tools.
- Should be teaching customers how to expand their use, become more expert.
- _hould be stimulating word of mouth. Giving the wording, channels, tools and motivation to tell other people. I just happen to have written a book on the subject.
So, it isn’t just about getting people to buy. It’s about smoothing the way, every step of the way.
You want to focus on making the series of potentially difficult decisions easy, simple, fun, smooth, effortless for the customer. And not just up to the moment of purchase. Throughout the life of the product, indeed, throughout your entire relationship with the customer. If you’re doing the right thing, they will trust you. And trust is very practical. It makes the decisions very easy and fast. For instance, Google and Apple make my decisions easy and, therefore, fast. They can be counted on to get it as close to right the first time, then rapidly improve by listening.
The main goal of a business is to provide the best product for a given situation. The main goal of marketing is to get people to see that it is the right choice, given the circumstances. In some circumstances, your product itself, in the abstract, isn’t the best product, or isn’t any better than any other product. But if you make the decisions easy, that is, make it easy to get and weigh information, to try, to use, to deal with you, to tell the people about it, your product then becomes the better product because, even if it’s equivalent in physical characteristics, it’s easier to find, understand, try, learn to use, fix, explain to others, etc. That’s better, even if the physical product is identical to the competitions’.
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