Too many marketing strategists believe their own BS! Pricing Strategy, Communications strategy, Online Strategy, branding strategy etc. isn’t genius… it is obvious, common sense that evolves out of the fact that perfect knowledge leads to perfect decisions.

I’ve had an extraordinary number of commercial successes in my career, record-breaking ones… NOT because I am one bit smarter, more intuitive, have more street cunning or am unusually lucky, but because I persevered long enough in learning my trade to be able to recognise the one, inalienable truth of business: If you genuinely know what the customer wants and can give it to them, they WILL buy!

The absolute secret, of all extraordinary business success, is knowing the customer.

Is it REALLY that simple?

Whether it is the individual or the segment – yes!

There are so many examples of this across the internet, in each of our careers, recorded, diagnosed, studied and reported by academics around the world, and demonstrable in every case study and high return annual report… so why do we complicate and confuse, cloud and cover this fact?

Think about it…

Pricing Strategy: In particular Value-Based pricing? Know the customer!

Communications strategy: In particular advertising & positioning? Know the customer!

Retailing: In particular store layout, ranging, staffing, location? Know the customer!

Manufacturing: Everything from branding, sizing, packaging, new product development, distribution strategy? Know the customer!

Why is the business community in denial?

When FMCG hummed a merry tune, the industry habitually committed to segmentation studies annually… but as operational executives with corporate political skills rose in a culture of corporate arrogance, costs were cut to carve out larger profits, ignorant to the fact they were really blunting competitive advantage and digesting brand equity.

In adequately training marketing personnel, briefing and sustaining market research of questionable quality, undermined the payback from segmentation studies and other market research.

Over the years, the team at my firm has written strategy for transport, banks, FMCG, commodities, utilities, government that has generated record-breaking results, unimagined sales growth, and extraordinary profits… why? Simply better understanding of the customer – EVERY time!

We all agree the World Wide Web is the most significant change to mass communication since the printing press, but I accuse the Internet of creating HUGE interference to the evolution of the craft of marketing.

Like bees to honey, any new innovation attracts an unruly bunch of vocal profiteers and, in this case, ‘cowboys’, without understanding of what marketing REALLY is, are confusing those they are trying to lead, by declaring themselves to be ‘marketing’ experts…

The true, essential definition of the word marketing is “the management of exchange” and the omnipotent power of marketing knowledge is literally the goose that lays golden eggs.
Sadly, all too many self-declared marketing experts and promotions sales people with self-interest at heart, redefine the word, or take advantage of ignorance and misconceptions of ‘marketing’, to push their own greedy causes.

“Try my SEO – that’s good marketing”, they cry.

“Inbound telesales are the future of marketing – buy me!” is another’s mantra.

“CRO is the new SEO and the future of marketing”, bellows a hawker of his services.

“My sales premiums and giveaways are the secret to great marketing”, calls out from a different corner.

What many purport to be ‘marketing’ is ,at best, a form of promotion, through a medium of communication… known to TRAINED marketing executives as the “Promotional Mix”. The “Promotional Mix” encapsulates 4 disciplines nominated as Advertising, Sales Promotions, PR and Personal Selling.

Prior to the Internet, Personal Selling was unique, in that it was the only component that allowed for 2-way communication… the Net now allows for 2-way in every discipline.

BEFORE the Internet, there was a reverence for marketing know-how… advertising was understood to be a different discipline; even “Direct Marketing” was identifiable as a different discipline.

But, with self-taught computer buffs, get-rich-quick-while-you-work-from-home entrepreneurs, and internet services sales people all declaring that internet marketing as their core skill; it has only clouded the already murky waters of the true meaning of the craft, purpose of the discipline and its significant social benefit.

Social Benefit of “Marketing”?

The social benefit of marketing is profound, universal and far-reaching.

The core responsibility of marketing is to match the unique resources of the organisation with the closest possible solution to the pressing needs of the consumer: The core purpose: Mutual satisfaction between shareholder and end user.

Proper marketing management achieves the following:
• No misallocation of resources – no over production or under supply
• The right and fair price at which product/s or service/s should be sold
• Size of package, usage instructions, quality controls, that are optimally appropriate
• Logistic and availability that satisfies the greatest ‘good’
• Accompanying experience in the exchange that is comfortable, pleasant, and least disruptive to all parties.
• Fair and equitable share of profit throughout the distribution channel based upon contribution of value within the exchange.
• Ongoing innovation and change that marries with inevitable changing of consumer needs and wants.

Internet marketers do not strive for these ideas, they corrupt the essence of marketing and undermine these social benefits of marketing… they are snake-oil salesman empowered to confuse up by the omnipotent POTENTIAL of the internet as a medium of communication.

f course, it IS swings and pendulums, and the business world will, ultimately, develop ways and means to detect and deter the cowboys, but scars will remain on the word ‘marketing’ and the purity of the craft, for decades to come.