Marketing Theory Vs Practice. 

The marketing function is one of the least understood, and most poorly practiced areas within business, especially in the early stages when a company is growing, but is not yet big enough to support an in-house team, and yet we often see remarkable startups and scaleups that have survived, and thrived, without anyone in the marketing seat.  

Here is a simple truth based on observation that you won’t hear very often from marketing professionals. There are some companies that get by just fine, without any marketing support. 

So how do they do it? These organisations are usually led by individuals or teams with deep domain knowledge coupled with an innate understanding of market forces, the customer and their pain points. They have clarity, focus and know how they measure up to the competition. Commonalities in these organisations include leaders that are from diverse backgrounds, who have ridden the entrepreneurship rollercoaster more than once and who have great communication skills. Business decisions in these organisations are thus made based on a delicate balance between customer, competitor and company, and are generally less likely to fail. 

Sometimes, ventures are led by those who have some – but not all – of the pieces needed for success. These founders and innovators often have deep domain expertise, but don’t yet know who the customer might be, or are so caught up with their own features and benefits, that they can’t see things from the outside. This is often true when it comes to technology solutions, especially SaaS.

In those instances, the marketing function can be a useful way to uncover the unknown unknowns. Marketing theory, when you strip away the jargon, is really about giving you the tools and techniques to make better business decisions, based on some very fundamental tenets. Simple notions, such as: getting under the skin of the customer, speaking their language and giving them value for money!

Marketing theory is a bag of jargon. What actually matters?

All great definitions of marketing mention exchange. What are people prepared to exchange for what you are offering? You can’t talk about exchange, without getting to grips with value. ‘Strategic marketing’ is all about burrowing into the idea of exchange and value, to understand their relationship, from the perspective of your customer. 

If you have a clear and well constructed value statement, which is consistently communicated and resonates with your target customer, it means that you’ve already answered some pretty important questions, such as; 

  1. Is there a market?
  2. Who is my customer?
  3. What specific pain do they have?
  4. What are the fears, uncertainties and doubts of my customer?
  5. Are they seeking a solution, or do you have to educate them first?
  6. How much are they willing to pay?
  7. Who is my competition?
  8. What is my USP?

You can’t compose a great value proposition without first understanding the market, your customer, and your ability to exchange value. If you can answer the above, you’re about halfway to crafting a strong value proposition.

There are really just a handful of business critical pieces of communication that every business needs. They include a clear value proposition, position statement and an elevator pitch. No matter what the scenario, you should know the bones of these. Because they are the bones of you.  If you need help crafting your key messages, you can always talk to us about a messaging workshop.