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Poetic Promotion: An Ode to Marketing

Continuing the theme of Summer Simplification, let’s take a little trip to Marketing 101, where the seemingly indecipherable concepts under the umbrella of the vast field of marketing -- Branding, Strategy, Advertising, PR, and the rest -- get their own, well, stanza.

Often when I’m meeting with a client, I reference a category of marketing, for example, branding… and their eyes glaze over. Not because branding is boring – on the contrary, it’s the most exciting part of marketing if you ask this promophile! – but because their understanding of a successful, sustainable marketing mix is limited to the ads they see and articles they read -- the end product. We’re rarely privy to all that had to happen behind the scenes in order for the marketing to work.

Think of marketing like finance – a vast and varied world with constant developments and specialists in endless areas. The importance of understanding its categories is vital to your reputation, budgeting, and hiring. If you put out feelers for a hedge fund manager when what you really needed was a personal finance advisor, you’d be wasting time, money, energy, and value. The same goes if you think you need a publicist when what really needs work is your target audience strategy. I touched on this in Start with Strategy, but let’s take a peek at its promotional siblings.

And just to keep it interesting, I’ll put it into rhyme. This is an arts blog isn’t it?

Marketing is promotion of your product, service, or event
Indispensable in a world where we fight for each dollar spent.
An art and a science that can change by the quarter,
Here’s the rest of its brood, in executional order:

Branding is like mission – what makes you unique?
What every patron will encounter, the promise you'll keep?
Competitor Research and Positioning apply here;
Don’t imitate, Diffentiate, so your brand is crystal clear.

Strategy determines your plan of attack:
What you need to execute a perfect promotional attack.
Spend focus here to save time, and of course, budget,
Because your customers are smart -- they can tell when you fudge it.

Marketing Materials: now let’s capture brand and strategy in print,
Or a banner ad, website, radio plug, TV – you get the hint.
But all of it must match, according to your brand guidelines
So audiences don’t have to think beyond “I’m ready to buy mine!”

Advertising! Your chance to put materials to work,
Less glamorous than Mad Men but not without its quirks.
Luckily, research and metrics abound,
So before you buy, make sure your placement is sound.

Publicity is the sexiest category of all:
“Can we cover you in our publication?” - Who wouldn’t want that call?
But I beg you, before you set off on a "look at me!" spree,
Make sure all the above disciplines are in perfect harmony.

Social Media, the teenager in the marketing family,
And like all adolescents, proceed carefully...
Should you Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Second Life, Foursquare?
Yes, if it’s on-brand and your target audience is there.

And now, of course, the golden query:
Can you do these things yourself, or is a professional necessary?
Take a look at the long term, not the next few-week stint
And ask: is what you have to sell worth the best possible investment?

(Anything unclear? You can write me here.
Happy to take questions – next blog, answers shall appear!)