Stop thinking that marketing means selling !

I am regularly upset when I hear a number of people talking about marketing as being, at best, a set of techniques aimed at selling as most stuff as possible or, at worst, as some kind of manipulative approach aimed at making as much money as possible. Each time, I need to explain  what a real marketing process is in this new century of creativity and innovation.

So, what should a real marketing process be ?

First of all, marketing is a process operated by businesses, organizations (among them many non profit associations) or even individuals in order to gain control over transactions and exchanges that are crucial for their current existence and their future.

Businesses as well as non-profit organizations can “last” only if they can achieve repeated “wealthy” transactions over the long term.

Wealthy” refers to their ultimate mission, i.e., creating economic value in a socially controlled environment or creating social value while balancing costs and revenue over the long term.

 “Repeated wealthy transactions” can only occur if the marketing process succeeds in generating  satisfaction for the parties (1) during the transaction between seller and buyer, (2) during the utilization of the product / service by the user and (3) in the course of the long term relationship between all parties involved. If, as a buyer/user of a product, I feel happy and satisfied, i will be more inclined to buy again or to recommend the seller to my friends, leading to repeat business. Simple, isn’t it ? Just old common sense !

This leads us to THREE VISIONS OF MARKETING

Transaction marketing

During that phase, the supplier will of course try to convince the potential client to buy (that’s selling) but, more important (s)he will do its best to let the customer leave with a strong feeling of satisfaction (I made a good deal !). This process may include some negotiation.

Usage marketing

The supplier job is not finished. Now is the time to rely on product and service quality to hold the promises. It’s also time to imagine and manage a specific «user experience» aiming at delivering satisfaction  in a context of  immediate consumption or longer term utilization.  Value perceived through usage should lead to customer loyalty and/or  to diffusion of supplier reputation.

Relationship marketing

Customers want more than just a product or a service. They want interaction. They demand respect, attention and care ! It’s key for the supplier to build and maintain trustful long term relationships with its customers/partners/users in order to prepare the next sales. Experiential marketing may help enrich the emotions but more important, real empathy and active listening are keys to success here.

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Marketing is not selling. Marketing is about delivering satisfaction to a group of selected customers so they want to deal again with you. Period !

In order to do so, marketers need the help of all company players: backstage people are supplying the products/services (supply chain), product developers think about continuous improvement and innovation, frontstage employees interact with customers, management is supporting the customer culture.

It’s so important to induce this spirit of “customer first” because today ‘s customers are hard to please, they are less loyal and they are ready to leave you for a detail.

So, it’s good to have a great brand, it’s good to have great communication, it’s good to have super salespeople but, most importantly, you need to deliver !

Be inspired !


 

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