Let's Redefine Marketing

June 29, 2009

Posted in Marketing.


Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, famously said that “marketing is a tax you pay for being unremarkable.”

I have this quote taped to the wall of my office. Sometimes I stare at it, wondering what I can do to be more “remarkable” in my work.

As a marketer, I find the biggest challenge is this: how do I overcome the unremarkable? Most clients and projects are simply unremarkable. They’re exactly what you’d expect, and that puts them at a disadvantage.

If only these clients would come to us much earlier, we could help them be more remarkable. We could help design better produces, services, or processes. Marketing doesn’t start once you have something to sell: it starts when you have something to produce.

when to call marketing

A New Definition of Marketing

For many people (albeit unconsciously), marketing is defined as helping to sell an unremarkable product. They think that any product will sell if it has enough “mindshare.” I liken this approach to winning an argument by shouting louder; you might win some arguments this way, but you’re not going to convert many people to your side.

I believe that remarkable products (with remarkable brands, service, support, etc.) sell themselves. People don’t want to give you money because of your fancy ads, websites, logos, brochures, etc. But they’ll gladly give you money for your amazing products.

As a marketer, my new product isn’t print design or web development or advertising or – it’s teaching clients how to make their product (be it a graduate program or a departmental service) amazing.