I feel marketing as a profession is really misunderstood.
Dear fellow Toastmasters and guests, I'm here today, to quell some of the misconceptions surrounding marketing and to tell you my side of the story. But before that, let me start with the other side of the story. As a passionate marketer, I feel that marketing is really misunderstood. More often than not, when people hear about marketing, they conjure up all these negative connotations in their minds.
Marketing = Disturbance
Marketing = Manipulation
and they think:
Marketing = Advertisement
My objective today is to tell you that Marketing is above and beyond all this; it is not as bad as you think it is! Just like the Surf Excel ad that says, Daag achche hain, let me tell you Marketing achcha hain.
To drive down my point, let me take your through a couple of scenarios now.
Scenario 1: You are a toothpaste maker and you have now come up with an awesome toothpaste. You know that your toothpaste is better than all the other toothpastes currently available in the market. If you keep your toothpaste right next to a Colgate or a Close up or a Pepsodent in a super market, do you think any one will even take a glance at your brand? I don't think so. Unless and until you tell people that you have this awesome product, they will not get to know about it. And that's exactly why you need marketing!
Scenario2: I walk on the road and get to a cross road. Imagine that I am totally confused as to which road to take. Suddenly, one random stranger comes up to me and says, Take the road to your right; that is the best road. Let me ask you - if it were you, would you trust that stranger? I wouldn't. I would be suspicious as to why he wants me to take that road - has he some weird plans to mug me or rob me or do some thing horrible to me?
Now instead of this stranger, you find your best friend there, who tells you which way to go. This time, you will be far more confident about taking the road. Why? Because you trust your friend much more than you trust a random stranger.
This trust factor leads me to the concept of Brands. A brand is in fact a promise that a company offers to its customers - in terms of the quality of the product or service, support offerings etc. And it's a feeling based on trust. That's why Apple has such a high brand loyalty. People buy Apple products blindly because they firmly believe that Apple will never let them down.
So let me summarize what we have learned through these scenarios:
Marketing = Adding value to a product or service
The next question is: How do marketers do this?
1. By understanding the needs of the customers: This is what we call market research and it helps marketers stay grounded and understand what the customers actually want.
2. By communicating the value proposition of the product or service: When you have an awesome product, you need to tell people about it. Also, through branding, the marketers try to establish a feeling of trust between the product and the customers. This improves the credibility of the company and in long term leads to brand loyalty.
3. Ensuring that the value is well received: If something is wrong with the product, the marketers will be the first ones to understand the pulse of the market and convey it back to the product team. So the marketing team acts as a good feedback mechanism to help improve the product or service to the liking of the customers.
However, I do agree that some companies try to exploit marketing to unnecessarily manipulate their customers or prospects. But in my defense, every profession has good people as well as bad. Even in the case of doctors, which is considered to be a noble profession, we have some fraudulent practitioners. So my point here is that we can't judge an entire profession just based on some of the cheap marketing tricks and tactics. It would do the profession a great justice if we could all see the bright side of marketing and treat it like any other profession.
Just as one of the Marketing Gurus Philip Kotler says,
Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.