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Marketing – what’s new and what’s still the same?

There are those who say that marketing is completely different today than it once was, say 10 years ago or 15 years ago. But is that really true?

  • Classic definitions of marketing include identifying and satisfying customers’ needs profitably and creating and delivering products and services that customers will value. So, no change.
  • Good marketing has the customer at its heart – understanding their wants and desires, their beliefs, where they spend time, how best to connect with them. No change.
  • Good marketing communication tells a believable story that is authentic, honest and ethical. Still no change.

The core principles of good marketing and communication are timeless. Nothing has fundamentally changed.

If you really do believe that everything’s different, then you either missed out on at least some of those basic principles or more likely have an incomplete understanding of how to apply them … or you’ve been following some ‘market by numbers’ template without fully appreciating the proven theory that underpins the technique.

So, if the basic principles are the same as they’ve always been, then what has changed? Well, two key things:

  1. The range of channels and media now available to help us reach out to our customers and
  2. The sheer number of methods and tools we can use to do that

And unless you know and can work with those essential marketing principles, these two changing aspects can quickly result in confusion and overwhelm.

Add to that mix an increasing amount of marketing training that focuses solely on how to execute the latest ‘shiny new tool’ and you get very hit-and-miss results.

The shiny new tool never stands alone. You must use it – or reject it – having fully evaluated it in the context of your business, your brand, your resources and your existing marketing.

Because the activities or tools you use matter far less than how you use them – in a joined up way and according to those ever present principles.

So, if you’re a marketer who worries about being out of date, take heart. Revisit your core strategy and planning skills and go from there. Consider finding a mentor or an adviser or two who can help you make sense of today’s more complex environment.

And if you’re a business owner and you feel stuck, confused or overwhelmed, take a moment to consider why. If you’re honest, is there some fuzziness there? Not just about a specific tool or technique, but about how marketing really works? A lack of clarity that is keeping you from moving forward or means you’re failing to get the results you want? If so, once you recognise this you’re well placed to ask for the help you really need.

Marketing? Yes, some things have changed. But the core principles remain the same. Learn them, master them and you’ll be ready for the next wave of shiny new tools.

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