Way too many people equate marketing with selling, creating awareness about a product, a campaign, etc. Something that you do at a specific time, when you are trying to achieve an objective. And usually something negative.
Let me try and explain how I see the concept of marketing.
Marketing is a river.
It flows all year round, and visits (and keeps in touch with) all the way points along its path, all the docks, the tributaries, the rocks along the way, the people who come to it for water, the various organisms that live in it, the trees and forests along the way. All of them. It constantly reminds them of its existence, and provides them with things they may need, thereby causing them to remember it, and associate it positively with something useful and desirable.
Your “marketing campaign” is a boat that floats on the river, and which will make use of the river to reach places that it flows to. Because the river already has established a relationship with its way points, the sight of the boat is usually a welcome one and, if nothing else, will raise gentle and positive curiosity as to the purpose of the boat’s arrival.
You product, or service, is the passenger, or cargo, of the boat. It benefits from the fact that the river exists, and is a familiar entity to everyone, and it benefits from the boat that is able to carry it to the places where it needs to go, where it will be welcomed, not shunned.
The important thing here is that the river is not created every time a boat needs to float on it to carry passengers and cargo to various places, and it is not terminated when there is no more need for it.
The river exists at all times, whether it is being used or not.
And when there are no boats, cargo or passengers, the river still maintains its constant contact with everyone, by providing goods and services that are not necessarily a part of what the boats carry, and which may cost the river nothing at all, but will still ensure that everyone who interacts with the river all year round has a positive attitude towards it.
Marketing is a river.
You don’t start and stop marketing when needed. It is a process that is independent of the campaign or product that it may occasionally be used for.
This may seem like a waste of resources to you, but when the time comes, you will both understand and appreciate its importance and value.
If you have any comments, or wish to discuss this post, please do so on Twitter, where I interact under the ID @AtulChitnis