Are you a “real marketer”?

Chris Brogan shines bright and demonstrates why I really wanted him on The Conversation Group advisory board as much as Doc Searls and David Weinberger in this post “I am a marketer“. I try to avoid the word marketing like the plague – because of bad marketers – or more accurately, I should say badly intentioned marketers, which is the key reason the profession has been besieged for the last several years in some parts of society.

It’s time to talk once again about what I still think of as “real marketing”. For me this means the process of matching a product/service with the people who will get the most benefit/satisfaction/enjoyment from it. This is about serving the market’s interest by being a matchmaker of value between people and companies – caring about both, but more importantly caring about your own integrity.

Unfortunately, marketing has become more closely linked to selling, where oftentimes the systems and expectations of management are about producing quarter over quarter increases in numbers, without concern for the state of the product, its usability or its appropriateness for a particular use. This is where integrity breaks down and an individual’s self-esteem becomes linked to ‘hitting the numbers’ regardless of whether or not that is the right thing for the company or the people buying the product. This can also result in companies selling their product to the wrong people, creating an unnecessary negative impression in the market among people who might otherwise find value in it.

The bottomline is some marketers create a bad name for the rest of us because they are selling without concern for the buyer. Of course, everyone has some self interest, which is not in and of itself bad – it is when the interest is more focused on money than integrity where things go bad.

Chris also brings up the often talked about issue of transparency, which is still overused and misunderstood, but is getting more directly at the root of the bad marketer problem. According to Merriam Webster, being transparent means “free from pretense or deceit” – in short, it means being honest. As I have been saying a lot lately, “say what you mean and do what you say” – this is what leads to trust – being honest and continuing to demonstrate that honesty through your actions. Too many people misunderstand transparency to mean a completely open kimono, a view on everything going on – which is not feasible or completely appropriate. What it really means is don’t lie and make clear your intentions.

From my perspective, the bottom line here is a matter of intentions and authenticity. What are you trying to do and are you being true to yourself?

Chris speaks very eloquently to these ideals in action and lays out a great path for all marketers, but it is your point of origin where it all starts.

Are you working for a company you believe in? Are you working in a market you care about? Are you able to be human or must you uphold a fake ideal?

If you can answer these questions truthfully and affirmatively, you are a real marketer. I can proudly say that I am a real marketer, don’t you want to be a real marketer too?

  1. #1 by Geoff Livingston - September 14th, 2007 at 17:30

    I think marketing is about generating leads. But, I want to share the dictionary definition of public relations (via

    1. the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.

    2. the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.

    Says a lot of what you are talking about, doesn’t it.

  2. #2 by Jake McKee - September 15th, 2007 at 11:20

    Chris this defintion:

    “the process of matching a product/service with the people who will get the most benefit/satisfaction/enjoyment from it”

    …is absolutely inspired. Brilliant. I was recently talking to the girl cleaning my teeth at the dentist’s office and she asked me what I did. Time for a simple answer, so I said “Marketing stuff”. She asked the question that best summed up why the marketing industry has problems: “Is that like advertising?”

    To most people, the Mad Men style ad agency, cranking out foolish, short term ads that disguise crappy, dangerous products as fluffy feel good life choices is what “marketing” is about and isn’t really any different than marketing.

  3. #3 by David LaPlante - October 2nd, 2007 at 00:48

    Two out of three ain’t bad, right 😉

    Great post Chris. Marketing is something you either “get” or don’t. Just like some people just understand why MS Comic Sans Serif is a bad bad bad typeface without really knowing what a typeface is or being a designer…they just know.

    I remember my first mentor (a Ford Motor VP of Marketing – he did the F series) always saying, “Sales is simple. Getting the deal over the line. Marketing is complex…it’s anything and everything it takes to get a deal up to that line.”

Comments are closed.