Thoughts on the Meaning of Marketing

thoughtsonmktg-300x300I’ve been publicly writing and blogging for many years now, actually well before blogs were a thing. I started a tech trends email newsletter back in the late ’90s that was subscribed to by thousands of tech leaders and influentials, all over the country (heaviest in Silicon Valley). That was a trip. I still have a collection of great praise and testimonials from readers of that newsletter. Then I finally made the transition to doing my writing on a blog, which I launched in 2005 — and that’s still going strong (nearing 700 posts). I was kind of busy during that time period, as I was pulled into a fulltime VP of marketing role, so that’s why I was a bit late in getting on the blog train. Fast forward, my average post on that blog over 10 years+ is in the range of 1000-1200 words. So doing that math, the point is… I write a lot.

But at certain times in my consulting career, I’ve actually managed to go brief and capsulize some of my thoughts on my favorite topic, marketing, into short takes — bullet lists even. I found a few of those in some old files recently and decided to rebirth them here.

Herewith, the first — my brief thoughts on the meaning of marketing:

Marketing Is About:

  • Investment, not cost
  • Emotion and soul
  • Ideas and art
  • Words and poetry
  • Style
  • Simplicity
  • Building a brand
  • Knowing what makes you special
  • Leadership
  • The long term
  • Patience
  • Ready, fire, aim (thank you, Tom Peters)
  • Process (ever changing)
  • Teamwork/partnership
  • Doing big things (not quiet, normal, expected things)
  • Being different, even opposite (not similar)
  • The big idea

Good Marketing Requires:

  • Guts
  • Passion
  • Enthusiasm
  • Optimism
  • Empathy
  • Constant attention
  • An internal champion
  • An external champion/partner
  • Outside objectivity
  • Chemistry
  • A sense of humor

What would you add to that list?


  1. Mark Adams on November 16, 2016 at 8:07 am

    You probably covered this in “Good Marketing Requires” with the word “Empathy”, but I keep going back to the Cluetrain Manifesto ( ) which focused on treating people as humans.

    Too often I’ve experienced internal marketing groups be focused on what THEY want to accomplish. What THEIR BUSINESS is trying to do rather than putting themselves in the shoes of their prospective, or current, customers are trying to do.

    I’ve found that, when I sit down to write marketing copy, if I approach it from a ME, ME! perspective the copy sucks. If instead I approach it from the customer’s point-of-view it almost always succeeds.

    So I guess I’d add this to the list: Perspective (i.e., prospect/customer POV)

  2. Graeme Thickins on November 16, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Awesome point, Mark! Totally agree. I’m a huge fan of the Cluetrain Manifesto authors — we paled around a lot back in the day. I bow down to those guys for really having started something with that book. I still stay in touch with them from time to time. (Even did a crazy audio interview of them at the Defrag Conference in 2009:

    Thank you also for reminding me that (sigh), I write way too many of my own blog posts from the “I,I, me, me” perspective. I’m working on that… 🙂

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