I recently had a professional approach me and ask me what a marketer really does. That question caught me off-guard. Before I became a professional marketer – even as far back as high school – the field of marketing had always been crystal clear to me, and I wasn’t really sure how to answer. One of the greatest things about growing older, however, is that moments like this make us stop and ponder an idea without the bias of a young ego. Do people “get” what I do, I wondered? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Marketing is a challenging profession. Not everyone understands or appreciates the work involved, and many people think they can do it on their own as well a professional can (this is the greatest pet peeve of every professional marketer). What really sets a professional marketer apart from an amateur, however, is the depth of research and data they must devour before creating a campaign. Marketers are tasked with the responsibility of researching and analyzing a market (or multiple markets), prior to creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offers (products or services) that have value to their respective target audiences. In fact, the most important tasks of marketing take place during the research, analysis, and strategy phases – way before any advertisement is conceived.
Effective business strategy takes time and care. You can draft your own business contracts, for example, but without the counsel of a lawyer, you won’t be assured of covering all your bases, which may leave grey areas open for people to take advantage of your business. You can also do all of your accounting in house – just don’t complain if the IRS calls you on a mistake you didn’t realize you’d made. The same is true for all amateur marketers out there. Advertising is a marketing activity, but it’s only one of many. Without a good foundation and a solid strategy based on in-depth research behind it, a beautiful advertising campaign can still flop and fail to generate sales.
For those of you who don’t really understand what a professional marketer does, I’m not offended. After all, none of us can know everything. I, for example, don’t really know the ins and outs of being an Aerospace Engineer, or what it takes to be a good one.
So, just to recap – marketers and sales folks are great friends and depend on each other to be successful, but we have different responsibilities. We also do a lot more than create pretty things, and we love a piece of statistic that can back up our strategies. If you’re still in doubt about what we do, buy me a beer and I’ll try to explain it better!