How marketing works

by User Not Found | July 04, 2011

Sometimes it is worth getting back to basics. Why do we as marketers do what we do? Marketing is all about creating value based on intangible assets. People pay more than your brand is actually worth because they value something in addition to the product itself.

Does “value” sound a bit too rational for you? Yeah, me too. But that’s the clever bit about marketing. We create value and nobody recognizes that it is valuable. They think it is enjoyable, interesting, inspiring, compelling or shareable. Maybe a better word is rewarding. Marketers create rewarding experiences that encourage people to pay more for a product.

In some cases all this means is that we need to enhance perceptions of the value of what is already there. So marketing puts relevant and differentiating elements of the product experience under a virtual magnifying glass. This helps focus people’s attention on the good aspects of the experience and provides a point of comparison that favors the advertised brand.

In other cases, marketing creates additional and related experiences that improve the brand’s value to its customers. For example, take video advertising in all its myriad forms. By providing entertaining and engaging content, we “pay” people for their attention. In exchange, we get to convey positive ideas and feelings that accrue to the brand. A positive experience not only adds to people’s conscious appreciation of the brand, it also creates a non-conscious emotional halo, one that will predispose people to think positively about the brand in response to an appropriate cue.

Some argue that this type of marketing creates “false” value. I do not agree. Provided people feel the extended brand experience is rewarding and are willing to pay for it, then the value exchange is fair. It is when marketing seeks to fundamentally misrepresent what is being sold that false value is created. Instead of drawing attention to an inherent feature of the brand, this type of marketing seeks to over-claim or distort. It may work in the short term but rarely results in repeat purchase.

Last, marketing is responsible for spreading the word, for letting people know what the brand stands for. If you know what aspects of the total brand experience make it valuable to people this is relatively simple. If you don’t, then it can seem a daunting and all encompassing task.

So does this post create any value for you? Please let me know.