This month we’ll be focusing on moving your marketing to a new level. Along the way, we’ll be highlighting examples we find of companies that are really doing a great job with their marketing, so you can learn from their examples.
But first, let’s set the table by clarifying something: Marketing is not Advertising. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but they are not equal. In fact, one is part of the other, but not vice versa.
Marketing is an in-depth process of first determining what you are offering and how it fits the needs of your potential customers. That sounds easy, but it’s not. You may say, “Well, I’m offering garment cleaning.” But are you, really? That’s a service you provide, but you’re actually giving customers the freedom not to have to care for their own clothes and textiles, the convenience of picking it up and delivering it back to them (if you do that) and extending the life of their wardrobe through quality professional care. That’s a lot bigger than just “cleaning.”
Proper marketing is an ongoing process of evaluating what you’re doing and what your customers want/need. It’s never a one-shot report that you act on from now until you die. It evolves over time. (Think COVID: How did that change how you operated and what your customers were concerned about or their life patterns?)
There are lots of components included in Marketing — and Advertising is one of them.
Once you have a marketing plan, a specific message or series of messages you are trying to convey, then advertising comes into play. Think of it as the bullhorn of your marketing package. It’s how you get your customers’ attention and let them know you have what you think they need. But it’s only one phase of the process of marketing. There’s also branding, research, product offerings, and strategy involved. Advertisements themselves support all those segments of marketing.
Ads can be short and snappy, or include lists of services. They can even be mysterious and try to get people to connect with you to figure out what they mean. But the essence of a good ad is that the person experiencing it knows WHAT COMPANY is involved, WHAT PRODUCT or SERVICE is offered, and HOW THE CUSTOMER ACCESSES IT. Any ad that neglects to do those things is a failure.
For example, there are ads out there that you actually might enjoy seeing because they are attractive or funny or just interesting. But if you turn away from the ad and someone were to say to you, “OK, what company was that for?” and you can’t answer, the ad was a failure. How can you act on a message when you don’t know who made the offer?
Do you think you are doing a good job marketing and advertising? Are you willing to put yourself on the line and let us evaluate it with an eye to sharing your successes with our readers? Contact Becca Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and give us your website address, send email copies of ads or other materials, and let’s look it over. Be proud of what you’re doing!
Becca Anderson spent 17 years in public relations, advertising and corporate PR before joining Fabricare Canada in 2000. She was named editor in 2013, and welcomes feedback about the magazine via the contact form on this site.