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Why companies shouldn't "do marketing" anymore

Marketing, formerly the 9-letter four letter word.

Do you guys remember the market crashing in 2008? If you're in business today, you most likely do. You remember the confusion, the anxiety, and general lack of clarity for the future. Do you remember what happened in the subsequent weeks and months (years, even) after? Businesses were laying a bunch of people off - sometimes whole departments - at a time. It was a very sad and scary time to be in business.

Oftentimes, the first budget that the corporate crosshairs landed on was marketing. Even marketing efforts with strong ROI found themselves getting shaved back little by little until one day, the last marketing guy standing looked around and realized he was the only one in the room. Then the phone rang and it was his boss telling him he needed to talk. That was the reality I - and many of my peers - faced as marketing professionals. We were the land of misfit toys, a seeming profit-suck on businesses for a number of years. 

Since that time, things have improved dramatically. Marketing is something that most companies have re-embraced. Ever since 2008, however, the term "marketing" has retained its stigma in some companies. If companies were able to pull through the worst recession since the Great Depression without it, we can make it through the good times without it. The logic is there, and I can't argue against it. However, these are oftentimes the same leaders that will refer to their marketing efforts as their companies "doing marketing". 

What is it to "do marketing"? What does that phrase mean? Let me shed some light into what it means to "do marketing" and why it might be the most toxic thing your brand can do.

To "Do Marketing", your company will budget an amount of funding to a singular effort in order to improve sales. When you "do marketing" there's a right way and wrong way. Pick the right way, and you're safe... Heck, you might even get a small budget increase. Pick the wrong way and you have a tough story to tell in order to retain your budget in its entirety. 

"Doing marketing" refers to something that is at a tangent or perhaps superfluous to the company. That there is a core business model. Let's call it a Christmas Tree. R&D may be the trunk, accounting may be the branches, sales might be the needles on the tree. But to "do marketing" likens marketing to the decorations, the lights, and the ornaments on the tree. It is simply a look-pretty... Something that even if it were removed, the Christmas Tree is still the Christmas tree.

So what is a business to do if a business shouldn't "do marketing"?

Your brand needs to BE marketing. Instead of being a strand of twinkling lights you wrap around the core business, your marketing needs to be assimilated into each and every fiber that is that tree. Your R&D team (the trunk, remember), needs constant feedback from the marketing team in order to make the right improvements on your products or services. Your accounting team (the branches) needs to know about pricing, revenue, opportunity forecasting, and a whole lot more - all available from the marketing team. Most importantly, your sales team (the needles) is the lifeblood of your business. They depend on the marketing team to drive them qualified, educated leads to help progress the business. 

There shouldn't be a "right" and "wrong" way to "DO marketing". Marketing, as a rule, is ever changing. What works one year (or month, or in some cases day) may not work the next. One initiative may not have a 10x ROI, or any ROI for that matter. Does that mean it's wrong? No. Branding efforts, community involvement efforts, or PR almost always have some ROI to them, though the direct line to one particular sale is nearly impossible. 

When your business finally "becomes marketing", it embraces all the things that you love about your favorite brands - customer service, easy-to-use websites, useful content, etc.

Stop "doing marketing" and start "becoming marketing". Your customers will thank you for it.

If your brand is ready to "be marketing", Hit Us Up. We're always ready to help.