10 Things Marketing Is NOT

dartClassic Countdown In the month leading up to the fourth anniversary of this blog’s launch, I am sharing my favorite posts. This was published on Oct. 13, 2009.

Business success requires effective marketing. People have spent considerable energy trying to define marketing, but just for fun I’ve listed 10 things marketing is not.

  1. A silver bullet. Some people unrealistically expect a single marketing tactic to be extremely effective or to easily cure a major prevailing problem.
  2. Pixie dust. Although marketing can produce magical results, there’s no magic potion or formula that can produce instant results.
  3. Icing on the cake. Marketing must always be an essential ingredient, not something that’s added later to make the product or service look prettier or taste sweeter.
  4. Communications. Too often, especially in nonprofit organizations, communications is used synonymously with marketing. They are not the same thing.
  5. A black hole. Rarely does an investment in marketing disappear into the cosmic void. Marketing does, however, require a minimum investment of resources for it to yield the desired return.
  6. Rocket science. There’s an art to marketing, but it is not an esoteric science. Brain surgery—yes. Rocket science—no.
  7. Snake oil. Rightly done, marketing has no gimmicks, fakery or fraud. Neither is it a panacea that cures all.
  8. Hocus pocus. Marketing is not “putting a spell” on people to manipulate them into doing something against their will.
  9. Quick fix. The law of the harvest tells us that you’ve got to plant the seed and nurture the crop before you can expect to reap a bountiful harvest.
  10. Cotton candy. Although cotton candy is colorful, sweet and attractive, it lacks substance and nutritive value. Effective marketing is both attractive and substantive.

Marketing is sometimes hampered by unrealistic expectations so occasionally it’s helpful to look at what marketing is not.


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