Marketing is a System, Not a Series of Tactics.

There are lots of definitions out there for both marketing and advertising. Most of them are very wordy and boring. We prefer to think of it this way:

Marketing is a process that systematically encourages customers to know, like, and trust you.

Advertising is creating a marketing message and delivering it to a specific group of people.

While advertising itself is certainly a part of the marketing process, it’s no more or less important than all of the other steps involved in crafting a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, the advertising component tends to get all of the attention while the rest of the process is neglected. There are several reasons for this:

  • Advertising is where most of the money is spent.
  • Advertising is the most visible portion of a marketing campaign.
  • Advertising is fun to create.
  • Advertising agencies emphasize it and make it seem smart, fashionable, and glamorous.
  • There is an overwhelming perception that advertising is where the “magic happens.”
  • People win awards for advertising (whether it works or not).
  • Advertising is an ego-building experience, especially when the message is all about you, you, you!
  • Advertising makes you feel like a “real player” in your industry.
  • Most people believe that advertising drives revenue and that it’s just a matter of finding the right places to do it, securing the best rates, and doing more of it than your competitors.
  • Advertising is easy. It’s light on content, high on style, and you can pay somebody to do it all for you.

Now let’s compare all of this with marketing, which by comparison, might seem kind of lame:

  • Marketing involves lots of research and data mining.
  • Marketing requires continuous tracking, testing, and optimizing.
  • Marketing is a long, multi-step process that touches every aspect of your business.
  • Marketing requires a great deal of thought, brainstorming, and team effort.
  • Marketing requires a lot of customer interaction.
  • Marketing is complex.
  • Marketing is hard work, and if you want it to succeed you’re going to have to get your hands dirty. You cannot delegate this stuff away.

Now here’s what you need to know – advertising, by itself, is a sucker’s game. It’s like going to Vegas – you may have lots of fun doing it, but you’re going to leave with empty pockets and a nagging hangover. The house always wins.

There are, of course, some people that go to Vegas and actually make money.

There are poker players, craps players, blackjack players and all sorts of other professional gamblers that make hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars a year by beating a system that is mathematically stacked against them. The difference between them and the tourists losing their shirts is one thing: strategy.

Professional gamblers spend countless hours studying every aspect of the games they play. They develop theories, test them, and apply the lessons learned to constantly improve their technique. They fail a lot more than they succeed, particularly in the beginning. But they are not afraid to fail quickly and remorselessly because they understand that every failure leads them towards greater success the next time around.

And then one day, they reach a tipping point. They begin to win more than they lose. All of the lessons learned combine to form a strategy that allows them to create a reliable stream of profit from a game that, theoretically, they shouldn’t be able to win.

Successful marketing works the same way. It’s more than just buying some ads and crossing your fingers. You need a plan, and that plan has to include well-defined goals that can be accurately tracked.

It’s not about advertising, it’s about results.

Contact Media creates comprehensive marketing strategies for businesses that are obsessed with performance and prosperity. We don’t just come up with clever ideas for ads that will “brand” your business. We create plans that are measurable and tied to real-life goals like lead generation, conversion rates, and sales.

Before any ads are produced or the first words of copy are placed on a website, we take a look around. We look at your customers and competitors and get to know them both. Very well.

We help you clearly define that one unique reason why customers should buy from you instead of anyone and everyone else.

Even in the most commoditized markets, there is usually space for a savvy competitor to crawl in and carve out a profitable niche. It all starts with diligent research and strategic planning. That’s where we come in.

But here’s the disclaimer – this stuff is hard work. It’s hard work for us and hard work for you. And to be perfectly honest, most businesses out there are either unwilling or unable to do what it takes to win, even if they understand that winning means exponential growth in revenue and profitability. It sounds crazy, but it’s the truth.

The light at the end of the tunnel of course is freedom. Freedom from guesswork and baseless assumptions about what works and what doesn’t. Freedom from advertising sales reps and ad agencies that expect you to just keep spending and spending despite their lack of accountability. But even more, it’s the freedom of knowing that you are truly marketing your business using a system that is built to generate a reliable stream of new customers and profits, automatically, month after month, year after year.

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