it is more than communication

When most people talk about marketing their words actually focus on communication, if not advertising.
Most people I talk to think the words marketing and communication are synonymous.
Articles frequently talk about digital marketing, when they are actually about digital communication.
The fact is – Advertising is only one communication option and communication is only a small part of marketing.
The fact is – Marketing and communication are not synonymous and in my view communication both can exist without the other.
The fact is – Digital marketing is much more akin to e-commerce than it is to communication – one element of marketing.
You could be excused for seeing this as a discussion of semantics, but if you have any interest in maximising the return from and minimising the costs of marketing you need to know that this is about MUCH MORE THAN SEMANTICS.
For many years now I’ve been concerned about the lack of attention being given by Australian businesses to innovation through an ongoing investment in research and development – despite the fact that nothing can impact more directly on marketing success that a product or service that adds value, has a clear point of difference and addresses the markets needs in a superior manner.
Whilst price is often use in Australia as a way of driving business, or at least sales, it is inevitably discounting that is used despite the fact that increasing pricing can also drive sales if it is associated with an effective branding strategy. Not only can this drive sales, it can drive margins. Many Australian marketers just don’t understand price as a marketing tool.
Retailers in Australia whilst dipping their collective toes in the water with regard to e-commerce have not yet embraced online retailing in the way it has been embraced overseas. In Australia online retailing is 8% of total retail whilst in the United Kingdom it is 16% – and Australians are known for being early adopters. The fact is we have not embraced this means of distribution the way other countries have.
The other big issue in retailing relates to service and the experience customers have in our retail environments. Apple sure gets this, but most Australian retailers have not. I would never go to a shop when I can buy online. In addition to having to find a park, I would have to endure poor service and a boring retail experience. What is more, research has shown conclusively that price IS NOT the major driver here. The major drivers are range and convenience.
What about target market, because so many Australian companies try to find markets for their products instead of products for their markets they are not enjoying the success of the Ikeas and Dyson’s of this world. Marketing should be about the more cost effective approach of owning markets and tailoring products to suit them. It is in a sense absurd to develop a product then find a market and spend a bucket of cash at getting that market to listen to you while you tell it how different you are, when you are not different at all.
Following on from that point, I am alarmed at how often clients say they cannot promote a point of difference or competitive advantage because they don’t have one. By not having a clear point of difference or competitive advantage (real or created) they are just asking for a very high communication budget and a short life cycle, and if they are going to rely on advertising to create the point of difference they are asking for an even higher advertising budget and risk being blown out of the water as soon as a product with a relevant and real point of difference comes into the market.
The point I am trying to make is that we need to reinstate the broader view of marketing which in turn will involve:
– Addressing the range of factors listed here, and more before addressing communication
– Downgrading the reliance on advertising agencies in favour of firms with broader marketing expertise
– Relying less on communication related silver bullets
– Cease confusing marketing, communication and advertising, they are different
– Invest in innovation and R&D, it is the key to cost effective marketing and profit maximisation
– Never rely on advertising to address the absence of a competitive advantage
– Look at price as a strategy not something to be reduced when sale are below budget
– Get real about e-commerce and through yourself into it with gusto and an eye on innovation
– Don’t employ an advertising person or social media expert as your marketing manager
Marketing and advertising are not the same thing.
Just a thought

No tags