What Good Is Marketing Anyway?

Everyone likes to see results, but knowing where to look for results can make all the difference.Throughout our history, humans have come to appreciate causal relationships. We prefer it when our actions have clearly identifiable reactions. We plant a seed, and we can see it grow. We start a fire, and we see it burn. We build a house, and we can watch the progress.

In some ways, sales works like this. You talk to a customer. You make your case. They buy what you are selling or they don’t. Right? Or is it not that simple? What if your meeting with the customer left a great impression, but they simply were not in the position to buy (they were short on money, the timing wasn’t right, the decision maker wasn’t present, etc.). Couldn’t that great impression that you made have a positive impact on their buying decision in the future? Of course it could! That’s what marketing does. It works to create potential customers who are positively inclined towards your brand.

However, seldom do we see the causal relationship as clearly as we would like. How often have you walked into a grocery store and said to the clerk “I’m buying this brand of soda because their television commercial made me laugh.” Never. But think a little about what went into that buying decision: You like the soda’s taste. Your family tells you that they like the soda as well. A television commercial shows you (in a memorable, amusing way) how the soda is healthier than its competitors. The store you are in is having a sale. The new soda bottle is very striking and features details about a contest in which you could win a fishing boat. A big sign near the soda display features your favorite pro athlete.

Almost all of that is marketing, and it all adds together to create a positive brand perception – that is, you feel good about buying the soda. In fact, you might say that you are a loyal customer.

When you consider each purchasing decision in this light, you begin to understand the value of meaningful marketing. Every print piece. Every store display. Your web site. Your logo. Your business card. Your storefront. Your sales strategy. Your pricing. Your attitude. Everything needs to be aligned and in harmony with a single goal: to create loyal, satisfied customers. Think about Nike or Apple. When it works, building a brand through marketing is a beautiful thing.