The Four Noble Truths…of Marketing.

Followers of Buddhism observe a central foundation: The Four Noble Truths.

  1. Life involves suffering
  2. The cause of suffering is attachment
  3. Avoiding attachment ends suffering
  4. Following a prescribed path can end suffering

Applied to marketing, I submit the following:

  1. Marketing can be painful
  2. Pain in marketing is caused by the absence of strategy
  3. Embracing strategy lessens the pain
  4. Following the right strategy can eliminate the pain

1) Marketing can be painful

All too often, brands will approach things from a tactical standpoint–without any real reasoning for what they are trying to accomplish. Sometimes it’s simply following the lead of their arch competitor, believing they will be able to grab market share if they ‘just keep pace’. This is insane.

In other cases, choosing a direction based on personal tastes (as opposed to those of their target market) seems logical. I call that ‘baiting the hook for the fisherman, not the fish’. Equally flawed. Infinitely illogical.

It is decisions like these why it is no wonder Marketing can be so painful for so many. But have faith…enlightenment is just a few paragraphs–and a phone call–away.

2) Pain in marketing is caused by the absence of strategy

Without planning your marketing efforts with purpose or strategy, you fail on two levels: a) Aligning your efforts with measurable goals, and b) Managing your expectations. Only with a careful, strategic plan in place, can you expect to measure your successes. And, equally importantly, know how to adjust your tactics if something is NOT working. After all, spinning wheels equates to wasteful spending.

Many people (wrongly) believe marketing is a waste of money. This is only true of POOR marketing; which much of what is out there, unfortunately, is. We regularly counsel clients on the differences, and guide them down the proper path.

3) Embracing strategy lessens the pain

Almost without exception, the first time we’ve taken a new client through a strategic marketing planning process, they quickly recognize and appreciate what they’ve been doing wrong. The simple logic of

Objectives >>> (giving way to)

>>> Selecting Strategies>>> (giving way to)

>>> Choosing Tactics

It’s a very linear process that feeds the eventual creative solutions we craft to support it. The blending of art and science in one of its purest forms. It’s the only method we endorse and prescribe for our clients.

4) Following the right strategy can eliminate the pain

A strategy that works for one brand in a category does not (nor should it) work for all. Getting back to our advice against mimicking what a competitor does earlier in this article, YOUR strategy needs to fit YOUR brand.

This is where effectively defining your brand and what unique space it should occupy in your target market’s mind is crucial. Not every brand can stand for the same thing. If they do, it’s the same as none of the brands in a segment standing for anything.

For further enlightenment, we’d be glad to show you the path.

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