You see, the attitude most marketers have - and I used to have - is that our job is to first create 'A Message'. This Message is about our brand, products and services. In other words, who we are, what we do and why you should buy from us.
The next step - I thought - is to get your Message in front of potential Customers. The Message can go via any channel (medium) that we marketers choose, prefer or can afford - whether its the most appropriate channel or not.
The logical conclusion being is that the Customer will notice the Message, will understand it and will find it appealing. The simple little Customer will - like some dumb robot - go out and buy what we want them to buy.
Put your feet up. Give yourself a pay rise and a pat on the back!
Bu that's not how it works, is it?
What I know now is that the first job as a Marketer is MUCH more important than crafting the Message. Our first job, in fact, is to understand the Customer. And to understand him or her at a fundamental level.
What you want to understand is how the Customer sees the world and what Problem they're trying to solve. The clearer you are on this, the better a Marketer you will be.
But you're not done yet.
When you have an idea of what the Customer Problem is, the next step is to test your assumptions. You want to find out, as soon as you can, whether you're on the right track or not.
Testing your assumptions about the Customer's pains and hassles should be done early and often.
For example, showing a Customer a scrappily-drawn product page on a piece of paper, is better than waiting 3 months for a website to be launched.
If testing suggests that Customers 'get' your solution, and want it, you can now to start craft your Message. This is when you plan the website, start writing copy, collecting imagery and so on.
The difference now is that your Message should be less about, 'Buy our Stuff' and more about, 'We understand you and your Problem. This is how our Solution solves your Problem'.
Your Marketing becomes less about pushing ideas down people's throats and more about education and Explanation.
When you're certain that you have a solution that solves The Problem, and a Message that explains your Solution, you can now start your marketing campaigns.
And because you have such a good insights about your Customers, you will be better placed to choose which Channels to use to spread your Explanation.
That's how I now see Marketing.
I'm not saying I'm still not clueless. But I think I'm a little less clueless than I was.
What do you think?