If you ask five people (marketers or otherwise) about what marketing means, chances are you will get five different answers. Some will tell you it’s creating awareness, some will tell you it’s doing a lot of promotions, others might say it’s just like sales.
No one is to blame for these varying definitions. And none of these answers is wrong. When it comes to the definition of marketing I believe there isn’t one right answer. To me, marketing is a bit of everything. It can be an art, a philosophy, or even a culture. The scope of marketing and its dynamics are so large that it can never be just one thing.
One of the most interesting things about marketing is the daily challenges it presents. Having worked in technology marketing for the better part of my career, I have lived through many of them. I am sharing a few simple learnings on how to overcome these challenges
Less is More
In marketing, most people expect a Go Big or Go Home approach. This is true for some situations. But success isn’t always defined by the size of the budget or the team. It’s how you get creative with what you have. With limited resources, our creativity is tested.
One of the best examples I can think of is when WSO2 launched a technology solution for banking regulatory compliance. We had a limited budget. So we focused our efforts on the assets that the audience was looking for – guidance on how to comply, details on the technology architecture etc. We ran an organic campaign that focused on content generation to reach these audiences. And it was a success! This is why a few focused efforts always work better than multiple scattered ones
The theory is good, but apply it to context
We sometimes get carried away with theory or best practices. This is because we expect it to yield the same results as it would have for someone else. There might be successful campaigns run by your direct competitors, where you feel the urge to replicate.
When launching the solution I mentioned earlier, we saw competitors engaging in a lot of virtual hackathons. In theory, a hackathon sounded great. But we weren’t ready and we knew that even if we did one, the results wouldn’t be ideal. So the next time you feel tempted to either replicate a competitor campaign or go with a “tried and tested” method for success, take a moment to think if it works for your brand and audience.
Listen more than you speak
“Why is the marketing team quiet? Aren’t you supposed to be the ones coming up with the crazy ideas?” Sounds familiar? Marketers are expected to be the loudest voices in the room and have ideas at lightning speed. One of the key things I learned during my product marketing days is that if you are a marketer for a product/solution where you are not the target audience (this is especially important in certain forms of tech marketing) you have to listen and ask questions constantly.
When we launched WSO2’s first solution it wasn’t just new to me, it was new to the company. I had a bunch of ideas and things I wanted to say but before that, I listened. I especially listened to discussions outside of marketing such as sales, engineering, and product. This gave me a lot of insight and I realized some of my ideas wouldn’t have made sense. So I believe that a good listener makes a better marketer.
Skills are good, passion is great
At the beginning of this article I mentioned that in its many forms, marketing is also an art. Being skilled at a particular function or a role means you have all it takes to get the job done. But that alone doesn’t work. You have to be passionate about what you are doing and the difference you are trying to make. Marketing mustn’t be limited to a set of items you check off against a list. No matter how small the task, don’t compromise on passion. It is the best way to apply yourself completely to the work you do.
There is certainly a lot of madness in marketing. And that’s a good thing. It’s what awakens our creativity and brings out the best marketer in us. So don’t look for a method to the madness. Embrace marketing for the glorious madness it is.