You may think you know Marketing. Out there is full of Marketing gurus. We all can say it with remarkable ease and confidence, though most of the time we are not Marketing professionals and not even close. What are the most frequent mistakes in understanding Marketing practices and theories?
1. Clarify Marketing
There is clearly a general tendency in employing the notion of Marketing within a confusing mix of Public Relations, Advertising, or Media Planning. Regardless of the degree in evolution and growth of Marketing, many of us still cannot understand what Marketing really is and only see its extreme manifestations. Many believe Marketing is a useless, fancy field, eating up budgets and giving little in return. Others see Marketing as an artistic field, where all you need is creativity to develop a memorable ad.
2. Marketing is still confused with Communication
This common mistake is, again, the result of a sufficient understanding of Marketing. Marketing professionals are often thought to be responsible for creating advertisements, logos, slogans. What people usually see is the mere top of the iceberg, forgetting that there is a product, a price and a distribution strategy to be developed before even thinking of advertising.
3. Under- or overestimating the role of the marketer
On one hand, the marketer is often seen as a must-have within a company, but (s)he has an indefinite role and ends up doing a little of everything (Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Customer Care, Account Management, etc.) On the other hand, we might be faced with the other extreme, where the marketer is an omniscient, all-powerful creature eclipsing everyone else.
In spite of the abundance in resources and consulting services aimed at researching the consumers base, segmentation is still done intuitively at least at small-business level. Large companies might have whole departments assigned to work on segmentation research and strategy, and still not be fully failure-proof.
5. Marketing for the sake of it
This is an attitude I have met in too many occasions not to mention it. People (and again, small-business owners are the usual culprits) do marketing because everyone else does it, because they heard they should do it, because it is a fashionable thing to do.
Surely, the list above is not exhaustive, and it only points at several attitudes leading nowhere on the Marketing battlefield.
Marketing is surely not an art, thought it does employ a certain flaire and creativity. Marketing is not a science either, but it operates with precise instruments. Marketing is not for everyone and not to be performed regardless of the conjuncture around the business.
We should keep in mind that Marketing operations have a clear objective: increasing the profitability of a business. To bring money, to be more clear. Marketing is therefore just as important as everything else in the company: if a product has functional faults we would blame the production department, but when a product does not sell for reasons beyond production it is usually the Marketing department to take the blame.