You Give Marketing a Bad Name

Sorry Jon Bon Jovi, it had to be used. There was a turning point in my career when I was leading business development and marketing for a company that, in the end, sold me (and all of their customers) a false bill of goods. I know, we’ve all been there, right?!?

To put some perspective on it, this particular company is in one of the most unnecessary businesses in the US – bottled water. Before you grab your torches and clubs to come after me, remember, these guys are different. Their process of making bottles uses 100% recycled plastic and the flow from their source has remained the same since they started measuring it, and recently they actually got a “B-corp” status. 

So, what’s my beef you may ask – that would be that it’s all marketing. The bottom line (what I slowly figured out much later) is that as long as recycled plastic chips to make bottles were cheaper than virgin plastic then they will use recycled plastic, for example. Bottom line is that everything is about the bottom line and as long as the business supports the lifestyle of the owner that’s all that really matters. 

Well too late for a short story if you’ve made it this far. What’s the point you may ask? The big message about marketing here is that marketing isn’t there to create a need or desire in people, rather is the vehicle that finds people who have a need or desire and connects them with the company that will fulfill that need. 

Marketers are not able to create a problem or a desire that doesn’t actually exist. They also cannot make a product not suck.

One thing that marketers can do is to get a person to buy a garbage product once. The key there is “once” – Nobody buys a disappointing piece of shit twice. No matter how great the logo is, or compelling the sales brochure, or how slick the website nobody wants substandard products or services. 

If you’re a business and are not looking to waste your money, remember, only hire a marketing agent or agency when you know that your offering solves a problem and the help you need is telling that story to the right people at the right time. 

If you’re a marketer reading this, don’t make the same mistake I did – If someone approaches you with a product or service that serves no purpose to ANY end user don’t take them on as a client – remember, in the end it is your reputation that is on the line. 

If you want to do marketing right it’s a pretty simple solution – 

  1. Make a great product
  2. Fill a real need people have
  3. Tell a compelling story

This is marketing done correctly. When a company has the first two parts we love working with them to do the third which leads to them making money – the desired result in all cases. 

In the end, marketing has really gotten a bad name from the people who abuse the trust of the consumer. They haphazardly promise everything just to make a sale. This is never okay.