Since the first soap was sold in the mid-1800s, the most prominent marketing has focused on products.
We know with certainty which shampoo will remove dandruff, which detergent gets out ring-around-the-collar, and which car company “tries harder.” But changing times have forever altered the very definition of marketing.
How, for example, do we choose a bank, an accountant, lawyer, or doctor? Increasingly, as markets have globalized and consolidated, professional services marketing is playing catch-up with the product sector. Marketing has become increasingly important and accepted. A greater number of professionals in the service sector now appreciate marketing and look upon it as an important part of the business development function. And they understand its impact on the bottom line.
Meanwhile, amid persistent global skepticism about corporate integrity, marketing professionals are also expanding their scope with an eye — not to just sell the products and services their companies manufacture — but to the need to preserve and protect corporate reputations.
This book of daily marketing meditations outlines the most important rules of marketing. It also provides a pathway to help marketers know when those rules should be broken, and to have the courage to break them.
It is designed to do something else as well. Organizational change never happens painlessly. For marketers caught up in that change, the road can indeed be lonely.
At professional service firms, for example, marketers are frequently solo practitioners or part of small groups (though this is changing as more global organizations now report marketing staffs of more than 100 people). They often work with tight budgets that pale in comparison to their product marketing counterparts. And, they often have short time spans in which to show a return on investment, while successful marketing by its very nature requires time to permeate the consciousness of its targets.
At the same time, reputation management is still a largely reactive process for many corporations. All too often, crises are mishandled, with marketing and communications professionals excluded from decision-making or brought in too late in the process to make a difference. Too seldom is it understood that unfolding events can be modified with the right strategy. Even in the years since Enron, corporate myopia remains widespread.
This book, we hope, will remind all the marketing professionals who face such a myriad of challenges and frustrations that they are not alone.
Richard Levick and Larry Smith
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