What Is Marketing, Really?

Felicia Brown

After my last post “Whose Responsibility Is Marketing?”, there were a number of great comments about the specific kinds of marketing people were doing for their businesses and who they thought should be responsible for those tasks. After reading the remarks, I thought sharing a better explanation of what I believe constitutes marketing would help to support the points I made in that post. Hence, the topic and title of this entry.

If you asked a group of random people, “What is marketing?”, you would probably get a variety of answers. Some would say that marketing is advertising such as print ads, direct mail, and television commercials. Others would say that marketing is networking events or offering special web promotions or email newsletters. And still, others would say that marketing is just what you do to get sales.

And while none of these definitions is wrong per se, from my many years in business as a massage therapist, spa owner, and business/marketing coach and consultant, I’ve come to see things differently. In my mind, these definitions – alone or combined – along with other traditional descriptions of marketing, are too narrow. In fact, over the years, the way I think about, describe, and teach marketing has evolved and expanded tremendously.

Marketing is much more than the things you do to promote yourself or your business to your clients and prospects. It is made up of EVERYTHING that “touches” your clients or prospects and causes them to want to do business with you for the first time, the next time, or the LAST time. And, in some cases, your marketing will cause people to not want to do business with you at all. This is what I call anti-marketing or being “closed for business.” (I’ll talk more about that in a future post.)

Initial and ongoing marketing touches or impressions that reach clients can make your business and balance sheet wildly successful if delivered well. But when they aren’t, the time, money, and energy spent on traditional marketing and advertising efforts can be completely wasted.

Here are some quick examples of basic marketing touches that can really sway a prospect into trying your business or returning to it:

–An easy to find, open, and navigate website

–A receptionist who seems unrushed or distracted while taking calls

–Clean, well-stocked bathrooms or locker rooms

–An invitation to reschedule

These may not seem like marketing vehicles at first glance, but anything that makes a client happy or comfortable enough to spend money with a business is definitely a part of marketing. And believe me when I say there are plenty of prospective clients who will decide not to patronize you if one of the “touches” that matters most to them is out of whack.

To summarize, if marketing is about getting and keeping more clients, appointments, or sales, then anything and everything that increases the number of clients, appointments, or sales in your business should be considered part of your marketing. Simply put, I call it Every Touch Marketing.

Now, here’s a question for you. Are you and your team making every touch positive?

2 Responses to “What Is Marketing, Really?”

  1. Carina Pantoja Says:

    Visit Carina Pantoja

    I totally agree with this article. I once had a client thank me for having seat protectors in our womens bathroom. She said it let her know we care about our clients. Who would of thought?

  2. Felicia Brown Says:

    Visit Felicia Brown

    Wow, Carina! That is a “touch” I would not have thought about per se. Thanks for sharing it!

    A story I often share with my coaching clients about how “every touch” is marketing:

    One of my regulars said to me one day: “Felicia I could not wait to see you today for three reasons. I love: 1) the positive thought cards you put on the table 2) the cold bottle of water waiting for me and 3) the Wint-o-green lifesavers in your office.” Funny, she did not mention the relaxing massage that she was scheduled for.

    Just goes to show that people often buy something other than what we think we are selling:-) FB

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