The Golden Rules of Marketing


Our panel at last week’s SxSW Interactive conference was by far the best panel I have ever had the pleasure to join.  Self Replicating Awesomeness: The Marketing of No Marketing included Deb Schultz, Jeremiah Owyang, Tara Hunt, Hugh Macleod and David Parmet who are each absolutely brilliant in their own way, and some of my favorite peers in this field.  You really should listen to the audio (where is it?) and I really should do a better recap post then just linking to the Google Search Results, but a few things have been bouncing around in my head for the past few days I wanted to share with you now.

First, several people are attributing to me something I quoted from the CEO of iProspect, Fredrick Marckini, who said “The brands with the best storytellers win.”  I wish I could take credit for that awesome insight, but Fredrick deserves the credit.  More people should set the story straight when they are standing on the shoulders of our peers – it is a shame so many seemingly smart people quietly sit by and take credit for the work of others, but that is a separate story.

Most importantly, there are three major thoughts about marketing that I have been thinking about deeply that I want to share with you now.  The first is my definition of marketing, the second is about marketing’s place in the product lifecycle and the third is about marketings interaction with markets.

  1. Marketing is the work we do to match a company’s product or service with the people or companies who will get the most value and/or satisfaction from it.
  2. The best marketing is done during the product development process, where the needs and desires of those who will use the product or service are considered and designed into the product or service with an understanding of the broader marketplace in which they will be sold.  You can’t easily market a product that was not well made, but the iPhone sells itself.
  3. Marketing is not the transactional process with which it has become associated despite its close proximity. If markets are indeed conversations, then marketing is a series of conversations intended to serve the better interests of the market. (David Weinberger has famously said ‘somewhere along the way marketing became what we did TO people’)

Of course, all of this is moot if you don’t remember and live the original golden rule DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.  In short, don’t sell people crap, don’t try to pretend that people need your crap and don’t, by any means, try to pretend your crap is not crap – because everyone knows crap when they smell it.

So this is my first draft to attempt to redefine how we think of marketing, or rather how marketing is perceived and presented.  What do you think the new golden rules of marketing should be?

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