Saturday, December 31, 2005

Seth Godin's question-Where's the "None of the Above" option?

Seth Godin doesn't allow comments on his blog, thus suckering us all into tracking back and giving him link love instead. Well I don't care about the trackback, so I'm just going to answer his either/or question:

"Is marketing the art of tricking people into buying stuff they don’t need?

Or is it about spreading ideas that people fall in love with?

Silly wabbit. Where's the third option: none of the above.

I've probably heard most of the silly marketing and sales jokes.

Like: Q. what's the difference between marketers and sales people? A. Marketers know they're lying.

Or that great joke about a newly dead guy who is given the tour of Hell, complete with parties and hot chicks and free-flowing Cristal. He's given the opportunity to choose between Heaven or Hell, and since Heaven looked a little boring what with the long, flowing, non-hot robes, and choir practice and harp lessons, and Hell looked like, well, a hell of a good time...he chooses Hell. He shows up the next day, and is greeted by fire and brimstone and souls wailing in agony. "Hey!" he cries, "this isn't what you showed me yesterday!" "True", comes the reply, "but yesterday you were a prospect. Today you're a customer."

But I digress.

The question as Seth frames it is: are Marketers liars or idea distributors? Or something. I mean I can't figure out exactly what function is encompassed by "spreading" great ideas. Certainly nothing very active. Nothing in there about creating the idea, for example.

Now, Seth may only be talking about one small segment of the Marketing function...and there certainly are many people who only think of Marketing as communications. Coming from a tech product marketing background, I see a bigger picture that includes product management and product marketing and marketing communciations.

As it happens, I've defined Marketing before in this very blog. While I might have waxed more lenghtily about it in the original post, the definition could be boiled down to this:

"Marketing is the only thing standing between your company's strategy and a tactical reality of shoddy product delivered late to a market that doesn't want it, need it or understand it."

Why do I define Marketing in terms of what it helps you avoid? Ah, you'll have to read the original post to understand that.

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