I’m blogging on a plane coming back from a week in paradise. That’s part of my process for returning to the “real world”. As a marketer I cannot help but think what’s behind the communications and actions of companies I engage with as a consumer. My time on Oahu talking with local residents and surfers in Haleiwa was a notable contrast to the techie social media marketing world I live in day to day.
In today’s digital age, things move fast. New models of communication establish themselves quickly and new categories of brand and consumer engagement continuously emerge. Defining the means for communicating with and engaging with customers is by no means static whether you’re trying to reach cosmopolitan buyers in London or tourists of a sleepy village on a tropical island.
Marketing evolves with consumer preferences, technologies and society. A specific definition of marketing is no more static than marketing itself.
Recently Heidi Cohen pinged me for a super-size roudup post on definitions of marketing. Here’s mine:
The practice of creating value for the mutual benefit of meeting consumer needs and business objectives. In action, that means knowing and meeting target audience/community information discovery, consumption and sharing behaviors with relevant and timely communications throughout the customer lifecycle. Engagment influence consumer behavior to drive revenue outcomes and strengthen relationships.
That’s just one definition and Heidi’s post came up with 72. That’s right, 72! If we ask that many people what marketing is and get such a variety of definitions, it’s no wonder marketing advice is such a crapshoot for so many companies. Asking a company marketer what they do should essentially define what marketing is for that company.
But I’m guessing it doesn’t. A lot of companies are simply executing tactics without a broader vision of customer engagement trends. They’re in a perpetual state of experimentation to see what sticks and to see what works. Does that work? Does it adapt? Does it focus on what’s important?
As our own online marketing agency evaluates it’s own marketing efforts, I also challenge our readers to reflect on what you’re really doing to communicate with and engage customers, Are you executing tactics with uncertain outcomes simply because you’ve always done it that way? Are you continuing to experiment with things that have no clear connection to measurable results? Are you really engaging customers and developing relationships?
What’s your definition of marketing?