The American Marketing Association Board of Directors describes marketing as an activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large.
Not an exciting or engaging description is it?
I agree it’s an activity, but I would have used the word “process” because there is a goal to be reached. Actually there are many small goals better described as victories. In the same way sporting events are a collection of small victories, from the stolen base to the perfect pass, that eventually cause you to reach the bigger goal that earns you the point or run. If you are able to earn more points than the other guy, you win. Pretty simple.
Every victory comes from different ingredients within the process. In marketing, you have strategic planning, branding, media relations, business culture, social media development, art, collateral consistency and loyalty development – to name a few.
There are many pieces to the puzzle of a good marketing strategy, but I believe the most important thing a marketer can bring to the game is optimism.
Optimism is the key. Many times, marketing is the act of identifying solutions to unidentified problems. In the early stages of this process, there is an abstraction in the act of developing a marketing plan that takes more than intuition, more than strategy. You must go forward with a hopefulness and confidence about the process and be sure of the successful outcome of the search for that one truth that will become the catalyst for an accurate and inspiring message that serves the want of the public to be informed and the need of the client to inform them. Having optimism during the entire process creates an environment necessary to nurture and encourage intuitive creativity.
The “process” can be discouraging. It consists of many tools that change with every message. It is never linear and requires discipline and commitment. You must be optimistic and hungry for every victory. And always set your sights for the biggest victory. Reaching and encouraging the right market for your client.
Good marketing is a process fueled by optimism. The understanding that there is always a good way to share an idea or a culture. A clear-headed understanding that if the solution is not clear, you just haven’t looked hard enough. In my view, marketing is more than an “activity.” It’s telling the truth.
Alex Raffi serves as partner for Imagine Communications. Contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.