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american marketing association Archives - Syneka Marketing

Marketing exists to create value and enable you to build your capacity to achieve your business goals.

Our mission is to re-define marketing

By | Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government, News, Presentations | No Comments

One area which we continually reflect upon is the diluted definition of marketing. Formal definitions for marketing include the following from the American Marketing Association:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

With the Australian Marketing Institute (of which I am the Victorian State Chair) providing a similar view:

Marketing creates value – for customers, shareholders and society as a whole. It does this by creating an alignment between what consumers value and what organisations offer. It offers techniques that help firms better understand the needs, preferences and perceptions of their customers (a prerequisite to adding value to them), and ways of using that understanding to focus the value-creating and communicating activities of the firm into areas where they will be most effective.

Key terms in these definitions relate to the creation of value for all stakeholders. This enables you to build your capacity to achieve your business goals and to measure its impact.

Marketing exists to create value and enable you to build your capacity to achieve your business goals.

It is the notion of value that is often lost in the traditional execution led approach to marketing. This is why we lead through strategy, ensuring that marketing exists to support your strategic plan and direction into the futre.

We are intent on re-defining marketing to ensure it returns to its core definition. This is why we have been holding our re-defining and re-imaging marketing workshops throughout this year.

There is a need to redefine marketing based on definitions adopted by peak marketing associations.

Marketing isn’t Dead, but it does need to be redefined

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Last week The Harvard Business Review Online published an article ‘Marketing Is Dead, and Loyalty Killed It’, which, due to its sensationalist headline was quickly circulated via social media.

While I normally wouldn’t respond to such content, the fact that it has been published on a reputable online platform, and came up in several conversations over the week, has led me to revisit how marketing does need to be redefined.

There is a need to redefine marketing based on definitions adopted by peak marketing associations.

There is a need to redefine marketing based on definitions adopted by peak marketing associations.

While the author claims that the Chief Marketing Officer should be replaced by the Chief Loyalty Officer, there is a failure to recognise that loyalty is created through a brand, which is executed through a marketing plan.

As a result, the premise is incorrect, given that the author defines marketing as “selling products”, and not the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large (American Marketing Association, Definition of Marketing, Approved July 2013), which is a viewpoint shared by the Australian Marketing Institute.

Furthermore, the case studies, which cite Chioptle and Apple, fail to recognise the role of marketing in creating the value proposition that fosters ongoing customer loyalty.

Apple has strong consumer loyalty, due to its disruptive approach to technology, which encompasses quality, design, ease of use, as well as an ecosystem that serves to cross-sell and support complementary products. This loyalty was fostered through a marketing approach that executed each of these elements in a consistent and seamless manner. What Apple has done well is determine its strategic marketing direction and follow this through with execution. The few times this execution has been underwhelming, there has been a negative reaction to its overall brand value. As an example, the replacement of Google Maps, with Apple Maps, which at the time did not meet the perception of quality, demonstrated how an inconsistent approach adversely impacted the brand and marketing approach.

Loyalty is not created, it is initiated through a strategic marketing plan that recognises the importance of customers. These customers serve as evangelists, and in turn stimulate repeat purchases, as well as support complementary products or services. Apple in devising its approach to the iPod and iPhone, would have recognised that its customers, and in particularly its niche in design, were an existing strength.

The narrow viewpoint of marketing is unfortunately far too common. What is unexpected, however is when a reputable platform, such as the Harvard Business Review, publishes such views.

Marketing begins with strategy. This strategic direction identifies the value proposition and the marketing mix that is required to achieve these outcomes. For many businesses loyalty is a direction that is part of this mix.

Marketing does need to be redefined, primarily because far too many people have been able to claim that they are ‘marketers’, without adhering to a professional standard. The author of ‘ Marketing Is Dead, and Loyalty Killed It’ is a clear example of this.

What is Marketing?

What is Marketing?

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News, Presentations | 7 Comments

Marketing is unfortunately one of the most misunderstood functions in businesses and organisations. Professional Marketers have unfortunately allowed the term to be hijacked – through telemarketing, direct marketing, SEO marketing – and by others, who claim to offer marketing, but without the foundations to ensure ongoing success.

Marketing is created when you leverage the tools you have to achieve your organisation's goals

Marketing is created when you leverage the tools you have to achieve your organisation’s goals

The definition

Marketing has no standard definition – the key terms even differ between professional marketing associations.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

While the Australian Marketing Institute uses the following definition:

Marketing creates value – for customers, shareholders and society as a whole. It does this by creating an alignment between what consumers value and what organisations offer. It offers techniques that help firms better understand the needs, preferences and perceptions of their customers (a prerequisite to adding value to them), and ways of using that understanding to focus the value-creating and communicating activities of the firm into areas where they will be most effective.

While the definitions differ, there is the common element of value, ensuring organisations provide value that resonates with customers, clients and other stakeholders.

Marketing – more than the sum of the parts

Marketing is more than sales, advertising, logos, promotion or processes – it is about leveraging the combined effort of your business or organisation to achieve its goals and mission.

Marketing starts with strategy. It considers the capabilities of your organisation and assesses the wider operating context to outline the steps required to achieve the goals you want for your organisation.

A marketing plan works in tandem with your business plan, providing the context and identifying steps that are required. A business plan identifies what you want to achieve, a marketing plan shows how you achieve these outcomes.

A logo on its own is not marketing, nor is a brochure, website or Twitter account. Marketing is when the logo is used to create a brand, providing an identity that is used in a brochure, website or Twitter account to communicate messages that reach and resonate with a target audience.

Marketing is when you leverage each of these tools to achieve the goals you have set for your organisation.

Beware the Pretenders

There are unfortunately many operators who are nothing more than pretenders – hijacking the marketing term through promises that cannot be kept.

You can use more than one provider to draw on specific expertise, but each of them should understand your goals and how they fit into the bigger picture. Services that neglect the bigger picture will do more harm than good, offering suggestions that fail to understand the people, processes and strengths of your organisation.

The consequences

Failing to understand the bigger picture can harm the reputation of your organisation, by creating conflicting messages that erode the value of your brand.

Let’s consider a brand likes Porsche. If Porsche wanted to increase sales then one option would be aggressive price discounts. Reducing prices would most likely result in a short-term increase in sales, but would also erode the prestige that Porsche has established over many years. The end result would be conflicting messages and an eroded brand that would adversely impact sales and reputation into the future.

A holistic marketing approach would understand the strengths of the brand and provide strategies that do not erode an organisation’s value.

Retail is experiencing a similar issue in Australia, where the focus has been on price rather than service.

There was a time when shoppers travelled to Myer to experience its highly regarded levels of service. Over time a focus on reducing prices resulted in staff reductions and a lower level of service, making Myer just another department store.

Along came online stores, who can undercut traditional retailers because they do not have the same cost pressures.

Unfortunately, retailers have focused predominately on price, without leveraging the strengths provided by a store presence. The result is an erosion of their unique selling proposition, or the attributes that distinguish one organisation from another. Retail needs to focus on the experience: service, personalisation and where shoppers are able to see what they want to buy.

Don’t damage your brand

While a standard definition of marketing is unlikely to be agreed upon soon – it is time to recapture what marketing is and the value it provides.

Don’t risk your organisation with providers who fail to understand the bigger picture and do not provide the steps to get you there.

Success starts with strategy – know what you want to achieve and then plan the steps required to get you there.