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Has marketing actually changed?

I had a discussion about this with a client last week - he's a marketing manager for a large IT services mob in Melbourne.

Adam D 2 September 2010

I had a discussion about this with a client last week - he's a marketing manager for a large IT services mob in Melbourne.

We spoke about whether the basics of marketing have really changed. BRW said in an article recently "the underlying theme for good marketing is knowledge: know your business, know your products and services, know your customers and know what your objectives are." Amen.

Here is the definition of marketing from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing:

"Marketing is the process by which companies create customer interest in products or services. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business development.It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves."

It also goes on to explain the trends in marketing over recent history - and suggests the marketing orientation from "1970 to present day" is still the same!

If I was to read this 6 months ago, I'd have thought it was ridiculous - with the introduction of the Internet (on a side note - ever wondered what we did with our time before the internet? Anyway...), surely marketing fundamentals are now completely different compared to 40 years ago? I'm certainly no marketing expert (far from it), but have learnt something about it over the years of helping run & grow Salsa - I sometimes wondered whether the fundamentals of marketing have changed at all? I recently decided they haven't. Even though the tools are different, all marketers are still trying to achieve the same result.

Here's why:

If you're a marketing manager, for example, don't you need to still adhere to the same rules? Here are some simplistic examples of how the principles haven't really changed.

Communicate clearly - the same goal applies today as it has in recent history. If you can't clearly communicate what you do, you'll quickly turn prospects away to someone who can. We used to use radio, tv & newspapers. We now also use websites.

Build relationships - a marketers goal is often to get a sales person in front of a prospect to start to build rapport. The call to action of most marketing media (whether it's radio, tv, websites, or whatever) is to have someone call, or visit a showroom, or a website (which often then sends them to a phone call!!). Get in front of someone, build a relationship, sell them something - still the same.

Create value for customers - facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Websites, whatever - the most successful are designed to actually serve a purpose. Educate the prospect, allow them to gain value from reading what you have to say.

The list goes on - the fundamentals of marketing haven't changed. There are a load more tools to use to drive traffic to your marketing material (Google Adwords is a revolutionary tool for generating traffic), but the basics haven't changed. Marketers don't need to intimately understand how Google Analytics works - they need to pay an Adwords professional to run a campaign for them that gets them loads of relevant traffic.

The marketer then needs to worry about what happens when the client finds their website, and makes the phone call - how well is the prospect communicated to, how good is the person on the phone at building instant rapport, and what value can they add right away?

So don't obsess on learning every detail on how online marketing works. I say leave that to "online marketers" and worry about the marketing basics of your own business - for a maximising outcome.

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