I recently had a conversation with one of my business major friends, and he said something about marketing that caught me off guard- something along the lines of “I used to be a marketing major, then I realized how bad I am at bullshitting”.

Cringe.

I never really understood that stigma. There’s a huge misconception about marketing. Marketing isn’t about making a quick buck. Marketing isn’t about deception. Marketing isn’t about bullshitting people.

A lot of people find marketing to be a hard concept to understand, but the following 3 quotes are perfect explanations.

1. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

Usually people think that marketing is only about bringing benefits to the table and explaining your value proposition to your customers, but I’d disagree with that. Marketing is about making a connection- a connection between your company’s purpose and your customers. People love to support companies that support what they believe in. For example, Apple. What made Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world isn’t just the fact that they make beautiful and all-around high quality products, but they brought something even more attractive to their customer’s doorway. Instead of marketing their company by saying “We make beautiful computers that have exceptional functionality”,  Apple instead said something more like “With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”. That’s the difference between decent marketing and phenomenal marketing. Take Simon Sinek’s advice. Marketing is so much more than the “What”, it’s also about the “Why”.

2. “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis

After finally getting the attention of a customer, the next part is keeping their attention. Trust is the only way to retain customer attention and loyalty. The only things more expensive than customer acquisition costs is customer reacquisition. If you lose your customer’s trust, getting it back is even more difficult, and costs significantly more. Revenue is the oxygen of every company and without effective marketing, good luck breathing.

3. “Marketing is food, not medicine.”– James Archer

People tend to treat marketing as the solution to a problem, e.g., “Sales are suffering, we should definitely spend more money on marketing”, when in reality, marketing should be the equivalent to gasoline for a car. Without marketing to complement PR, branding, and sales initiatives, you’re not headed very far. Pump an appropriate amount of your capital to marketing campaigns. Resourcefulness is definitely important, but marketing people aren’t alchemists; they can only do so much with what they have. By keeping marketing funding steady and having an exceptional team to market effectively to your target consumer, you can keep revenue growth steady. Don’t ever get too comfortable and think just because you’ve spent a few years developing your brand, you can ease off on marketing. There’s a reason why Coca-Cola spent over 3 billion dollars in 2013. There’s a reason why Nike still spends around 1 billion dollars in athlete endorsements despite having 48% athletic footwear market share in America.

Marketing isn’t bullshitting, it’s building. Marketing isn’t deception, it’s developing trust. Marketing isn’t about making a quick buck, it’s about connecting to people.

Peace, Love, and Prosperity,

Ethan