Posted by: Chris | July 10, 2006

7-10-06

Ugh. Busy weekend. I completed half of a 2-hr. class for my MBA program: 9-5 Saturday and 9-5 Sunday. The good news: the class was incredibly interesting, perhaps the most interesting class I have taken thus far (although I did hate to miss my particularly marketing-sensitive church service Sunday morning). More good news: in two weeks, when I complete the class, I will truly be on the downhill slope of my program. More good news: my manager’s manager (so to speak) just brought me Waiting for Your Cat to Bark by Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenburg, to be the first in our department to look it over. What a day!

The Imperative
I’m not going to go into detail about the class I am currently taking. You’re probably not interested in that. And half of my current readership already knows much, much more about the class than she would ever want to know, as I have kept her up late the last two nights going on and on about the insights gained so far. The other half of my readership will be sure to be subjected to the same dronings, probably this coming Thursday night over a burger cooked on the grill, as we take part in our ritual Thursday night show-viewing, which has been a tradition since before the show “Friends” was syndicated and was still pumping out fresh, humorous writing and dialogue–you know, the pre-“we-demand-1-million-dollars-per-episode” era.

So here’s what I really want to talk about: MARKETING IS NOT A LUXURY. From the outside, that is, from the viewpoint of one who has not yet been completely baptized into corporate/firm life, I sometimes get the idea that businesses believe that marketing is optional. That it is an afterthought. It’s the heated seats in the prospective new car-if we have enough money left over after we buy the important things (power locks, A/C, etc.), we’ll put what we can afford (read: we’ll spend just enough that we don’t really feel it) into marketing. (Forgive me if I’m just being cynical.)

I was looking at the SBA website this morning (how did you like the way I worded that? as though looking through the SBA site is just a part of my daily routine…please, I Googled “sample business plans” if you must know) and on the first page I viewed, one sage penned the following:

Before you begin writing your business plan, consider four core questions:

  • What service or product does your business provide and what needs does it fill?
  • Who are the potential customers for your product or service and why will they purchase it from you?
  • How will you reach your potential customers?
  • Where will you get the financial resources to start your business?

So lets look at these one-by-one and ask ourselves, which business discipline is responsible (at least in great part) for honoring these commands:
What service or product does your business provide and what needs does it fill?-Marketing
Who are the potential customers for your product or service and why will they purchase it from you?-Marketing
How will you reach your potential customers?-Marketing
Where will you get the financial resources to start your business?-Finance and Accounting
Sorry for the anticlimactic ending there. But you get my point.

Continuing on in the business plan-writing process, one must then define his business, speak of his marketing plan, and address the competition; again, marketing, marketing, marketing.

I will summarize: marketing is not, it cannot be an afterthought, a necessary evil. We cannot condescend to include marketing in our most basic, essential, foundational business planning. And once it is implemented into our plans, it must be reviewed, revised, and reimplemented for the life of the company.

And for those of you who conduct marketing projects for your clients: have you taken a look at your client’s business plan? Do you know the mission statement of your client’s company? Do you understand the heart of your client’s company, or are you just providing arbitrary research and pat answers? (see John Jantsch’s weekend blog)

I will admit, I am beyond a rookie in the art of marketing, but even in my “youthful” state, I believe in its value, its necessity in a thriving business. I hope you do too.

Respectfully,

Chris Posey
Intern

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