Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why Does Everyone Think They Understand Marketing?

Over the years, I’ve noticed that many business people seem to believe they are marketing experts.  Not really their fault, of course.  We are bombarded every day with every form of marketing you can think of.  Commercials, billboards, Starbuck’s cups, McDonald’s arches, and trucks emblazoned with a phone number that says “Call Us.”  Heck, even that tabloid at the supermarket with Britney’s face on it is marketing, the PR form.  Because we see it everywhere, we think we know what good marketing is, or isn’t.

In truth, most people don’t really know what good marketing is.  We only know what we like or don't like.  There is much more psychology to it than most people know.  And there are definitely good tactics and poor ones.  Why else would large companies pay the big agencies thousands (and millions in some cases) of dollars to advertise their products or services?  Surely, they have a marketing staff that knows something.  Of course they do, but they still choose to work with outside experts.  Only if you specialize in it can you keep up with the fast pace, the changes and the evolution of technology that affects it.  Even then, it is tough.  Really tough.

So why do so many business leaders (especially small business) take it upon themselves to direct their own marketing?  Because they can and, gee, it saves them money.  It isn’t like going to a surgeon.  Remember those television commercials with the people performing their own surgery?  We know better than that, don’t we?  With marketing, what is the worst that can happen?  Lose several thousand dollars?  Sales languish?  No big deal.

Those that really understand marketing, advertising, PR, and communications know that if you aren’t an expert you probably don’t know enough to be doing it yourself.  If you can’t hire someone permanently, look for someone on a contract basis that can do it for you, or a part time employee.  Don’t assume (we all know what that means, don’t we?) that you can do it yourself.  Remember, your business could depend on it.

Cindy Neky 
Marketing Pathways
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