Some call marketing the “fluffy” business function. The engineers produce the software. The accountants crunch the numbers. And marketers? They dump cash into billboards and TV ads. Meanwhile, they legitimize their work using convoluted terms like “brand activation” as they seek to “redefine synergistic experiences.” But marketing can add value. We just need to reconsider what it means to be a marketer in the 21st century.
Marketing has moved beyond the famous John Wannamaker quip that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Today, marketing is all about using customer data in the most effective way possible. Marketers use customer data for everything from micro-targeting to gathering feedback to inform new product design.
But we can also view marketing from another perspective.
Marketing Can be the Product—Even for Consumers
Several months ago, I launched Writes.Email. Writes.Email is a simple product. Customers get a custom email address for a small fee. The value Writes.Email offers consumers is not the result of some engineering feat. Instead, Writes.Email provides customers value through marketing. This starts with the product itself. The reason why customers choose a Writes.Email address is because they want their name in their email address without a string of numbers. They want a professional personal brand.
Adding Value through the Customer Experience
The second way that marketing adds value is by making the product as easy to use as possible. This includes everything from FAQs to intuitive payment-processing at checkout. If your checkout system is difficult to use, a good number of customers will never be able to use your product.
Notably, customer support can compliment marketing. For example, this page we created not only guides customers through setting up their accounts, but also serves as a content-rich page, helping the website look more credible in Google’s eyes.
Marketing Adds Value to Existing Technologies
Finally, marketing can help consumers look at existing inventions in new ways. Email has existed for decades. The technology is nothing new. But at Writes.Email, we use marketing to help consumers look at email in a new way. When they start looking at email differently, they start using it differently. And getting more value from email than they had before. That’s how marketing adds value.