It’s Never Just a Marketing Issue

If you want to bang your head against the wall, blame your business problems on your marketing. “The reason we don’t have more business? It’s just a marketing issue.” There’s the business side of things, and then there’s marketing. Umm…not so fast. Actually, they’re the same thing


Over on the Brand as Business Bites blog, Denise Lee Yohn reported how Jason Fried recently told a Chicago audience:

Don’t think about marketing.

Fried is the CEO of 37 Signals and co-author of REWORK. Yohn reports that Fried discouraged people from developing elaborate marketing plans. And he’s right. Marketing plans should not be elaborate, because good businesses are rarely elaborate. Fried explains further:

Marketing is everything that you do.  It’s how you speak to your customers, how quickly you get back to your customers, it’s the quality of your product, it’s the word on the button, it’s the thank you email, it’s the cancellation email, it’s the refund policy, all that stuff is marketing.  Just do the right thing and make good things.

Fried’s point: Marketing and your business are one and the same.

If marketing and your business are one and the same, to divide them is to do both a disservice. I call it brand legitimacy: being authentically you. When you build an authentic brand on the foundation of your entrepreneurial spirit, there is no separation. Be your brand and a marketing plan happens naturally, not elaborately.

The common misconception is that business is what you do, and marketing is how to convince people to buy what you do. But Fried speaks the real truth: a marketing plan is just an extension of how you do business. If your marketing is not working, neither is your business. If your business isn’t working than neither will your marketing.

So how do you get both aligned without banging your head on that wall? The intersection of marketing and business is the brand. Develop a strong brand and you are simultaneously developing both a strong business and a simple, yet powerful marketing plan.

So what do you say we bust down that wall with some branding work? This week I will feature four articles designed to help you grow a stronger brand, and thereby grow a stronger business. You in? Good, see you tomorrow.

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