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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Understanding Marketing

It has been a very fruitful year for me and this has been the steepest climb for my career as a marketer. Aside from being employed by the largest social commerce website in the Philippines, I was also requested to teach part-time as a professor in a prestigious university.

Throughout the entire year, I was exposed to different people at different intellectual levels. Some are great, some are just okay. But what really struck me is that most of the people I've worked with still has no clue what marketing is really about. 

Like most of you know, I think I have the most boring blog. But I really like to talk about it because of how dynamic the field is. There's so much to learn and what's challenging is that the methodology evolves over time. 

What is interesting is that if you ask someone what is marketing, different answers are given depending on each background. I try to observe how people respond to this question and here are some of those answers. 

  • Police - "grocery" aka "pamamalengke"
  • Engineer - "TV Ad"
  • Finance - "cost center"
  • Marketing or Business Student - "it's more than advertising"
  • Marketing staff (nonbusiness major) - "events"
So what really is marketing? 

The very essence of marketing is the creation of customers (period). The initiatives that each company or marketer creates leads to the generation of customers. A lot of people thinks that by just putting a billboard or a TV ad would equate to doing marketing. Partially it is but what every marketer should know is that everything should be tied into an activation program. There must be an evaluation towards the end that shows the return of investment for every marketing cost. 

I remember before when I was working as a marketing assistant for an events company, one of the things I noticed whenever my boss presents our results is that the presentation is based on how good the event was executed. But there was no mention of how many people were converted during the event. More than the sales generated for that day, what is crucial is the creation of customers. If the event (or any other marketing initiative), did not generate customers then that would mean a failure towards the program. 

Remember that all initiatives you create must be tied-into an activation of customers. Even if it's a branding activity (although i'm sure most brand marketers will refute me since brand marketing has a different KPI), I must say that the ultimate measurement of success would be the generation or retention of customers. It may not be measured immediately (since there's a payback period) but the period of measurement should indicate how many customers are expected out of that investment. 

It is a customer-centric market after all

As the year ends, and as everyone prepares for 2013, may it be the start of a results-driven marketing campaign. This will not only pressure companies to allocate their budget properly but also pressure marketers to think outside the box for creative executions with a tied-in metric of customer activation. 

Happy New Year folks!

The Consumer Communications Strategist