I used to work as a Marketing Officer for our local authority.
It was a horrible job.
When I told people what I did, they’d complain and roll their eyes.
‘Good luck getting another job,’ one salesman told me. That was when we were going through yet another review and being told we’d probably all lose our jobs.
The treatment from teams within the local authority wasn’t much better, if I’m honest.
‘You’re not here to tell me how to spend my budget,’ said one man I’d like to hurt if I ever meet him again. ‘You’re here to make things look pretty.’
Ha. Ha. Ha.
(I didn’t take this as sexual harassment at the time. I thought he meant I did what the Design team do. It was only after I relayed the story to my manager that I realised how he may have meant it.)
My colleagues and I were constantly having to tell our ‘clients’ within the council what marketing actually was.
Forget the dictionary or CIM clever definition.
You want to know what marketing is?
It’s not just about getting your name out there and selling your services/products/ideas.
It’s also about reputation.
The man from the council? He was complaining to me because I suggested that he not waste money printing off 10,000 flyers that people would likely either litter or chuck out. I was suggesting he try something else, something more digital and modern, that his target audience of older teenagers might pay more attention to.
On the one hand, your marketing needs to speak to your audience. It needs to connect with them, which means you need to stay ahead of what’s possible and what they’re into. That’s what leads to sales/education/clients.
On the other hand, if someone from the press or an angry member of the public found out he’d printed 10,000 flyers, they’d get angry. It doesn’t matter than it doesn’t cost a lot. The point is, they THINK it costs a lot.
They’d complain and the council’s press and marketing team would have to do some repair work to rebuild the authority’s reputation.
You see, reputation is not just about customer service. It’s about what people think of you as a whole.
Do something good, and if that something good is newsworthy, market it for all it’s worth.