The Tao of Marketing, Part I: Survival of Your Business
February 16, 2015
“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production and the interests of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of a consumer. The maxim is so perfectly self-evident that it would be absurd to attempt to [rove it. But in the mercantile system, the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of producers who seem to consider production, and not consumption, as the ultimate end and object of all industry and commerce.”
– Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)
The importance of marketing
I was glad to find this quote from the work of the famous Scottish pioneer of political economy, because it illustrates the notion that marketing is the foundation of all economic standards, and the reality that marketing, even though self-evident and usually most avidly declared, is still the most neglected economic principle. You may be familiar with the alarming statistic published by Bloomberg that 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first 18 months. A couple of years ago Forbes had published a simple and valid analysis of the basic reasons for that massive failure – and three out of these five reasons are due to marketing neglect.
Van West Media is here to help: the very reason why we are on the market is to help businesses like yours live long and fulfilling lives, through high-quality, modern marketing.
But back to the main subject. Even though marketing is on everyone’s tongue and (should be) in everyone’s budget, 80 percent of new businesses are not doing it right, and vanish – which is very unfortunate because they may have excellent products and services for sale and could truly benefit their customers or even advance civilization. Let me phrase it differently: those failed startups – they are not initiated by losers or idiots, or by people too lazy to work hard for their success. In fact, I am sure that all failed entities were run (into the ground) by people passionate about the new products and services they had to offer. However, the neglect of marketing is such a major mistake that no matter how talented these people are, their enterprises cost them time and money, and bring nothing but disappointment (and even debt) within a fairly short period of time.
This concerns not only very new businesses. The alternative, and more alarming statistics, published by Dun & Bradstreet and INC. magazine, states that 33 percent of all new businesses fail within the first six months, 50 percent fail within their first two years of operation, and 75 percent fail within the first three years. The estimates may vary, but the truth remains the same. Long or short-term, more businesses fail than they become successful – and the main cause is lack of correctly focused marketing efforts.
So if marketing is that important, it’s probably worth looking into, learning and implementing it. This is what we at Van West Media are really good at. But first, what exactly is marketing?
A technically precise definition of marketing was coined by the American Marketing Association (AMA – an authoritative organization that could certainly benefit from improved branding, logo and website design, but that’s straying from the point). So here’s their definition of marketing:
“Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.”
Note that the AMA definition doesn’t say that a business goal is to make profit, but rather “satisfy individual and organizational objectives” – this makes the definition of marketing I just quoted equally applicable to commercial businesses and nonprofit organizations. Yes – nonprofits face competition and knowledge gap, too, therefore they need marketing no less, and possibly more, than profit-oriented organizations. Here at Van West Media we often work with nonprofit organizations and value the unique challenges and learning experiences this branch of our service represents.
Satisfaction of the individual and organizational objectives is only possible when we are fully aware of what these objectives are for our customers. The challenge here is that the objectives are dynamic – constantly changing. To be successful in marketing, a business manager has to monitor the pulse of the customer, always anticipating a customer’s needs and wants in advance. Ideally, marketing should satisfy both needs (must-haves) and wants (nice-to-haves) because satisfaction is more complete when both are addressed.
But let’s focus on needs for a moment.
With the increasing complexity of modern life, people need things that they didn’t need before. It’s difficult to survive without computer or a phone these days, unless you’re a Jack Reacher type. A business – your business – needs a system of Internet-based solutions, usually including at least a website, ongoing dynamic social media activity, and often some form of customized software (e.g., CRM integration, digital signage, etc.) in order to remain competitive. For example, when speaking in terms of a website – in order to be successful, your business needs not just any website, but one that performs well and makes it easy for a prospective customer to buy something they need from that business.
The good news here is that marketing has a set of techniques – methods – that are learnable, rational and could be applied to a wide variety of specific business tasks and goals. I’ll outline many of these techniques and methods in further marketing-related posts in our blog, in the hope that our readers find them useful and learn ways to apply them to their business. The key to understanding marketing is the concept that identifying and satisfying customers’ needs is necessary for long-term survival of any business.
The web solution that we provide help your business to achieve that goal – and we operate based on the same principles when serving our customers.
Yes, Van West Media prides itself as a marketing-oriented firm from top to bottom. Whatever each department does, the goal is to understand our customer’s needs and wants (and, in many cases, help our clients to better understand their needs and wants), and to satisfy them with a maximally effective, creative and technical solution. Our job is to bring high-satisfaction to our customer’s clients and guarantee the survival of their business with maximum profit.
Stand by for The Tao of Marketing, Part II… coming soon!