The prominent view by most is that "everyone" can do marketing. As a result, the reputation and influence of marketing is often diminished. Everyone is a writer. Everyone can post to Facebook. Everyone can create a website. And my favorite, everyone knows what the customer wants. Just ask them.
Because everyone can do marketing, marketing teams are minimized and frequently eliminated all together. This seems to be especially the case in healthcare where businesses have operated for decades without a professional marketing team. Similarly, because marketing has generally been so undervalued, healthcare brands that do have marketing departments frequently pull the marketing folks into a million projects that aren't even related to marketing.
This dilemma got me thinking, maybe we need a blog that clarifies what marketing is and isn't. Let's start with what marketing is not.
What Marketing Isn't
- Marketing is not ordering promo items.
- Marketing is not being a booth babe at a trade show.
- Marketing is not filling in the blanks for your RFP.
- Marketing is not stuffing folders.
- Marketing is not creating a logo with an Arial font and a stroke line from Adobe.
- Marketing is not buying a logo from 99Designs.
- Marketing is not talking about strategies and tactics that never get implemented. (That's just called a waste of time.)
- Marketing is not slapping some stock photos into a Word doc. (This is just a homemade mess.)
- Marketing is not resting your laurels on old practices because that’s how you’ve always done it.
- Marketing is not jumping in the face of your audience every chance you get, screaming how awesome you are.
- Marketing is not being seriously busy doing so-called marketing activities (Writing a slew of blogs that no one reads, posting all day on social media, etc.), but never measuring anything and not creating any value (That’s called spinning your wheels and wasting money.)
Now, let’s talk about what marketing is.
What Marketing Is
- Marketing is using science and genuine care to discover what customers want, need, don’t want, and care nothing about. (Steering clear of your own bias.)
- Marketing is collaborating with customers to co-create ideas and solutions.
- Marketing is analyzing market trends and unmet needs to construct strategies and innovations that drive growth and sustainability.
- Marketing is positioning your product or service smack centered in the hearts and minds of your customers.
- Marketing is understanding the strategic advantages and pitfalls of being first to market and capturing your window of opportunity. (Sometimes being a follower is more profitable.)
- Marketing is cultivating the right partnerships and alliances to seize opportunities you can’t achieve on your own.
- Marketing is knowing what product features to leave out at launch, so you don’t waste resources.
- Marketing is thinking, acting, and being someone that is so attractive to your customers they are just begging to buy or do business with you.
- Marketing is speaking to your audience like a real person—before, during, and after the sale.
Everyone might think they can do marketing, but I assure you that real, successful marketing that impacts the bottom line requires in-depth
marketing knowledge, experience, and precision.
Likewise, healthcare marketing requires an intimate understanding of those many nuisances that make the world of healthcare a distinct market. For example, HIPAA regulations, new value-based pricing models, the importance of measuring health outcomes, and how to motivate patients to change health behaviors through digital communications.
Of course it is impossible to create an exhaustive list of what marketing is and isn’t in a single blog post. We're sure you have many other marketing “Isn’t” and “Is” suggestions you can offer. We’ve all been there. So, please, feel free to share yours below.