Anyone Can Do Marketing, Right?

On TV, people will sometimes forgo a lawyer and represent themselves in court. In real life, however, people are much more inclined to let the experts do their jobs.Most businesses also rely on experts for their taxes and their finances. Some business people, on the other hand, don’t think twice about relying on untrained staff to oversee their marketing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “Bill, you took a class in college about law, didn’t you? Would you mind doing some litigation for us in your spare time?” Yet a very similar conversation happens with marketing.

I have an advanced degree. In fact, I went to school longer than most lawyers and accountants. I have almost 20 years of real world experience. Yet misguided companies everywhere ask their receptionists to do my job. It’s a little bizarre, and sometimes it makes it difficult to talk about what I do. On the other hand, this discrepancy in qualifications has one huge benefit: It’s not hard to stand out when a large part of the “marketing world” is made up of folks that aren’t very experienced.

Instead of relying on cliches (“For all your ______ needs.”) or rip offs (“Got ____?”), marketing professionals like the folks at Anchor rely on experience, knowledge, creativity and skill. We consider the target audience, we do research and then we look closely at results. We proof and re-proof, so that errors don’t make clients look silly. We negotiate prices, we specialize in follow-through and we monitor budgets. Most of the time the receptionist just doesn’t have the skill or time to do all that, and it shows.

Remember the original Their mascot was a sock puppet that was introduced in a series of TV commercials during the heyday of the internet boom. The company was poorly run and it only lasted a few years before going out of business. When it came time to liquidate the single most valuable asset didn’t turn out to be inventory or accounts receivable or the legal team… it was the sock puppet. Thanks to a clever brand-building campaign, the single most valuable part of was its mascot.

What’s valuable to you?