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10/25/14

Market(ing) crash: Does marketing still mean as much as it once did?

When you think about the words "marketing" or "advertising," what is the first word that comes to mind?
Dishonestly.
Misleading.
Useless.
Entertaining.

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All of those might be appropriate adjectives to describe marketing, the art of having a product or service and selling it to a consumer base through means of awareness and enticement. Marketing can show up in the form of commercials and print ads traditionally but a good percentage of those have been replaced by online ads or through social media in the form of posting messages on Twitter or Facebook or even forgoing an actual web page and just promoting what they're offering on social media alone.
The television and print side of the advertising business isn't quite dead yet. The Super Bowl asks for a few million dollars for a commercial, and some magazines and newspaper still have enough readers to justify the fairly substantial price tag involved.
But as valuable as marketing appears to be, the idea of spending money to promote your business, for some companies, is viewed as a relic or an idea of thinking or mentality that is passe. You can look no further than when a business is struggling to find its way, new customers or perhaps even something as paramount as launching a new product.
Despite the desperate need to get the word out, businesses often look to advertising or marketing as the first budgets they can start cutting. The thinking is that companies can control their expenses first, which includes money going out the door in terms of wages or marketing primarily, since most businesses have fixed costs that can't be altered (i.e. rent, utilities, etc.)
Cutting marketing is one of those so called black and white cuts that seems simple at first glance but is rather asinine and short sighted overall. Businesses thrive on revenue and unless your name is Apple, Coca Cola or Pepsi, you don't have the benefit of being a household name or brand that demands attention just on name value alone.
With that, you often have to follow the adage of "spending money to make money" so saying so long to advertising isn't realistic. Instead of just giving marketing the ax altogether, the goal should be to fine tune your message, re establish what you want to say and, more importantly, who you want to target. The real issue with advertising isn't the idea of it specifically or the cost involved but that most businesses and companies simply don't do it correctly, mostly because they don't know their audience or have a clear understanding of what they do well or points of differentiation that allow them to stand out in a crowd.
Marketing works, and the ones that have it perfected will argue that it is an invaluable aspect of how they do business. Anyone who believes marketing or advertising doesn't work simply needs to re evaluate the "how" when it comes to delivering the message rather than continually question why you market in the first place.

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