If you’ve ever talked to anyone in the startup world, you know „build it and they’ll come“ is a popular mindset.
They’ll tell you „we don’t really do marketing“. You can find similar mindsets in the non-profit space, B2B sales and other industries.
Frankly, you can’t NOT do marketing. I was just listening to a podcast by Cal Fussman where he had Larry King on. With a curious voice, Cal asked him how he learned to do the ads on his radio show.
In his characteristic New York accent, Larry’s scrawny voice gave me following reply:
„We are always selling. Whatever we do, we’re selling.“
What Larry means by this is that whichever way we interact with the world and its people, we make people believe things about ourselves—and sometimes they act on beliefs about us by giving or denying a raise, deleting or replying to a Tinder message or signing a contract or burning it.
So you might be selling a laid-back attitude when you choose to wear a sweater instead of a dress shirt. You’re selling when you speak in an assertive voice. And you’re selling when you tell your friends about all the books you read.
All those things make people believe things about you. And when you interact with them, those beliefs come into action.
Guiding the beliefs people have and facilitating or preventing the corresponding actions is what selling is.
It’s also what marketing is.
So the phrase „we don’t really do marketing“ is utterly wrong. You DO marketing—you just don’t guide it well.
Marketing is not just every sixth post in your FB timeline or the billboard at your local bus station.
It’s also the post-sale emails you send your clients, showing you care and positioning you as more than just someone they do business with.
Marketing is how easy or hard it is to find a button in your app. Do this wrong and people will hate using your app without knowing why.
And of course, marketing is also the long-form sales letters you read. The 50 minute videos you can’t skip forward on but don’t want to quit either.
Yeah, all that is marketing.
And I don’t do everything I describe here. I won’t fix your app’s usability—a UX designer will do so better than I ever could. And I won’t be of help connecting all the tech in your marketing.
But if you need the right words to make people perceive your business the way you see need them to see it—send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do.