If you haven’t seen the recent Constant Contact commercials, in which business owners suddenly become successful “marketers” by simply using the Constant Contact email marketing software, you might not know how it presents issues to small business & the marketing industry. See, the need for Professional Marketers seems to be diminishing, especially as the rise of “do-it-yourself” software becomes so prevalent. That’s not the only issue, though. The term “Marketer” has been losing its meaning for years, as people don themselves a marketer without having any fundamental knowledge of the field, theory, or application.
Constant Contact’s commercials telling the story of Sal, the butcher shop owner, and Matt, the cycling studio owner, both end the same, “…’s a Marketer, and all it took was Constant Contact.” Now, we get the point of the campaign; highlight how real-life business owners are using Constant Contact to help connect them to their customers. However, let’s see what this would look like in a different industry:
“Tom’s a great dad. He loves playing outside with his daughter, Sarah. Tom’s daughter is very adventurous and once-in-a-while she does things that result in bumps and bruises. Sarah recently fell out of a tree. She hurt her leg and it was bleeding. Tom put a Band-Aid on Sarah’s cuts and it stopped the bleeding. Tom is a Doctor and all it took was a Band-Aid.”
Doesn’t something seem off?
First, don’t you think there could be something more seriously wrong with her leg? Tom overlooked any other problems because he knew how to use a Band-Aid to cover up the bleeding. If Sal & Matt are now “Marketers” there isn’t a need to work with real marketers who could analyze the business and develop strategies to maximize their marketing. Tom doesn’t think further into Sarah’s leg because he was able to solve something on his own. Sal & Matt don’t have a comprehensive understanding of their business and the market it is in because they know how to solve one problem, connecting with their customers.
Secondly, Tom is now a Doctor because he used a Band-Aid? That’s not right. Well neither is calling Sal & Matt a “Marketer.” See, I could be bias, but I’ve spent a lot of money and time gaining a formal education in Marketing and that education has allowed me to formulate plans that utilize tools to meet a business’s goals. Emails are a tool, marketing is a science. This is the same for Tom. Band-Aids are a tool, being a Doctor is a science. There are a lot of people who throw around the term “Marketer” as a status someone gets when they know a small portion of what a Marketer does. With the influx of digital platforms, social media marketing, etc., it seems every Millennial is quick to say they’re a Digital Marketer or Social Media Marketer. In fact, it would be more appropriate to be called a Digital Specialist or a Social Media Specialist when you have a comprehensive knowledge of the tools that are used to implement specific pieces of a marketing plan. The term Marketer should be reserved for individuals with educational and practical expertise in the entire field of marketing.
Marketing provides far more than any tool could. Marketing is strategic. It involves research, data analysis, financial planning, branding, pricing strategy, and much more. Don’t be fooled by the popular tools out there. Yes, they do help “market” your products, services, or brand. However, without an actual marketing plan, you’re just putting a Band-Aid on what could be a broken leg.