You know that whole thing in math about how squares are rectangles but rectangles aren’t squares?
That’s exactly the same thing I’m talking about here with marketing and advertising.
Marketing = Square
Advertising = Rectangle
Advertising is marketing, but marketing is not just advertising.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear a Small Business owner say “We don’t do marketing.”
Do you have a storefront? Does your business offer a product or a service? Do you price those goods or services?
Of course you do. Therefore, of course you engage in Marketing.
What most Small Business owners should say instead of the previous quote is: “We don’t do promotion.”
You see Promotion is one of the famous 4 P’s of Marketing. Advertising falls within that P. Marketing itself is a much more expansive field than just any one marketing tactic.
Advertising is a tool to promote your business.
The root of this problem is in every person who has ever sold advertising with a job title containing “marketing.” (Yes… I am guilty.)
The truth is… you can’t really sell marketing.
Marketing is something you do.
It’s a mixture of art and science.
Take Pricing Strategy for example.
The economic theory behind pricing is one that rests on the basis of Supply & Demand. Ideally, you want your prices to be at the highest point your customers are willing to pay.
When they’re no longer willing to pay more for your product or service, that’s the price it’s worth. At that point, it’s up to you to improve your Operations to maximize your profit margin.
Entire books and college courses are built around teaching how to set prices to attract your ideal customer and maximize your profit. Price is one of the Four P’s. But Pricing hasn’t become synonymous with Marketing.
What about location? Is the location of your business crucial? Are you a tire shop or a lube & tune that relies on being located on a heavily trafficked street for your need-based business?
No matter what business you’re in, you didn’t choose an arbitrary place to plant your flag. You engaged in the P: Place
Last but not least, when you choose what specific products or services your business offers, you’re engaging in the P: Product.
Did you decide to specialize in Sedation Dentistry to differentiate yourself in your market? If you did… it would be considered Marketing.
The 4 P’s of Marketing: Price, Product, Place, Promotion.
The full definition of Marketing according to the American Marketing Association: Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
So why did “Advertising” displace the name “Marketing” and damage its reputation?
Because advertising is what brings many of the largest companies in the world the largest chunks of their revenues.
Newspapers, Magazines, Radio Stations, TV Stations, they’re all full of inventory they need to sell to advertisers. It’s a lot easier to convince someone to engage in one of the major pillars of business than it is just one specific tactic.
To make advertising sound more important to business owners, media companies rebranded it as “Marketing,” and the real discipline of marketing suffered as a result.
While advertising is a crucial component of marketing, and one that I write often about on this blog, you shouldn’t shy away from learning more about marketing because your soul has been slowly sucked away over the past 20 years by yellow page salesmen and phony “consultants.”
If advertising isn’t your cup of tea but you want to improve the health and success of your small business, check out one of the other, less talked about facets of marketing.
Maybe you need to raise your prices, or maybe you should be offering a complimentary add-on service with a high margin.
The most important function of marketing is its ability to impact your bottom line, whether that’s through strategically planned, efficient advertising, or a creative new product or service offering.
Getting down in the trenches and working on the foundation of your business can be quite rewarding.
There’s nothing like some renewed positive energy mixed with old-fashioned persistence paying off at the end of the year, in the form of healthy profits and business growth.
Those are the moments when you reflect on owning your own business and think:
“Man, this is bad ass.”