When people think of marketing, they tend to think of the old glitz and glamour (Mad Men?) side of what marketing appears to be: advertising, commercials, websites and colorful brochures or collateral. And while that is a visible aspect of marketing execution, in reality it is only a small part of what a marketing professional can deliver for a business.
We are often asked by young, upstart talent in waiting, what area they should focus on in college to “get into” marketing after they graduate. The immediate inclination is to suggest they stay away from college marketing programs entirely. “Marketing” in itself is like “premed” as a course of study. It is so broad an area that until someone specializes, it is rendered almost useless. It would be better to focus completely on a specific avenue of discipline immediately instead of larger concepts, waiting for those larger concepts to come into play after they gain experience in the work world.
Aside from the almost certain initial disheartenment such a proclamation might provide, a better consideration is to suggest a more useful avenue of study, a path that may actually help businesses grow in a practical manner rather than theoretical one. And that is to recommend they focus on finance, lean process development or design.
The ability to develop substantial brand communication has suffered. It’s not necessarily the fault of the brands themselves but seems to rest on delivery and communication methods. Arriving in the last 10 years is an unprecedented accessibility to publication and consumers. Gone is the slow burn and thoughtful presentations brands relied on. In it’s place the quick, down and dirty availability of social media and online distribution is an often careless “push marketing” frenzy. More succinctly, in a world that proposes to deliver profundity in 140 characters and relies on large images and brief quotes to provide impact and substance for consumers, the ability to create deeper, long-lasting foundations for brand building has faulted.
How does someone who owns his or her own business become a more effective marketer? There are some important things to look at this summer that can help a business develop more pro “active” marketing implementation and become less focused on “after the fact” indicators. While it’s a good idea to know the response indicators of poor performance, relying on them for business decisions is not priming the business for success. Using leading indicators and creating success with known expectations is a more powerful position for any business marketing plan. It’ll help you now, and during the oncoming lull that summer can lead you to believe it is…but if you are active, isn’t.
Marketers should be called “key makers.”. They are always selling the keys to your business success. When looking at what each marketer sells as a whole group, of course, the “keys to success” number somewhere in the hundreds or even thousands. New angles and spins on classic marketing crop up every day. Add different solutions to that for the digital age, and you can see what I mean.
There is a lot to be confused by in advertising: releasing a new Google AdWords campaign with all the appropriate extensions, daily budget limits, network display opportunities and URL paths that can measure conversion; or retargeting Facebook ads with the correct marketing spends; or even capturing names through pop-ups on a website. Never mind simply tracking list serve opens and closes, clicked on links and the dynamic traffic flow or TSO. All of it adds to the difficulty of understanding the options available. Toss in SEO practices, such as domain management, keyword placement, linking structure, conical tagging and other “keys” to better traffic development, and the brew cooked up in any marketer’s cauldron is an intimidating one.
Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages. And companies with more indexed pages get far more leads. Unfortunately, people can be distracted by shiny round objects. With paid SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) increasingly playing a role in business success, it becomes especially easy to be dazzled by promises of number one page rank and high search listings – only to be caught off guard when the promises become excuses.
A client recently asked me about his SEO (Search Engine Optimization). He was concerned about whether or not it was working for him with the recent changes Merge Left Marketing had made to his corporate site. Just a few days later, he called to share his excitement about a phone call he received and a significant sale he made, as a direct result of someone discovering his services via an internet search—specifically, it was content we had published to generate higher page rank and listings results.