I was explaining to a network contact how the evolution of marketing is a bit like the evolution of photography when it dawned on me that it might be of value to my readers. So, here goes.
There was a time when only someone who really understood the fundamentals of photography (lighting, F-stop, shutter speed, exposure, ISO, etc.) could create a great picture AND get it published. Then, along came cameras outfitted with “automatic” mode and soon digital cameras that enabled one to see, immediately, whether or not the shot they had just taken was any good. No good? Make adjustments and take it again. This new offering was followed by a proliferation of online photo sites where most anyone can now publish any, and every, shot they take.
How is this like marketing? I’m glad you asked.
There was a time when one had to have a strong understanding of the principles of marketing in order to effectively market a brand. After all, the costs were high and a marketing professional had to get it right the first time out or risk losinglots of money, and perhaps, even his/her job. There was also little to no way of measuring “branding” effectiveness, and the chances that a customer would share your business or its products and services with more than a few of their closest relatives or friends was unlikely. Simply trying whatever was available was not an option. Every dollar counted. Create and send a costly direct mail piece and have it fail? Not an option.
Now, with the availability of “free” marketing tools and accompanying measurement tools, and the ability to provide a platform for your fans to share your offering with others, most anyone can try their hand at marketing, whether or not they know anything about the fundamentals. It’s as easy as crafting an email and hitting send. Or is it?
Just as with photography, most of the time you get what you pay for – free is worth what you paid.
Just as a shot taken by a professional photographer is worth what it took to get the best expression, lighting and/or action, a campaign created by a marketing pro with the knowledge of how marketing works (and doesn’t) is worth the investment. Yes, one can certainly throw darts at the wall in the hopes one sticks, but it’s not free as is so often touted. It costs you and your business resources and time. And, it can cost you something much more valuable: your reputation.
Looking to break through the noise and make a good impression? Go back to the fundamentals. Just as a professional photographer knows what to do in situations where the lighting is poor, the environment is a factor or the talent is not exactly photogenic, a marketing pro knows how to help you portray your offering in the best light, to stand out and rise above the “noise,” and make you look amazing.
It all starts with knowing the fundamentals, whether it be the fundamentals of how a camera works or how to use available light to get the best shot, or whether or not a platform like Facebook is a good fit for your type of business and for reaching your ideal customer.
In the end, you get what you pay for.