The Alpha and the Omega

Al Ries and Jack Trout have taught us that marketing is the manipulation of perception, not just the promotion of product features and benefits.

When it comes to business, marketing is the beginning and the end.

Marketing is everything

Al Ries and Jack Trout have taught us that marketing is the manipulation of perception.

Not simply the promotion of product features or the benefits a service has to offer.

In ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ they share examples of businesses that failed as a result of ignoring this fundamental principle.  

The Omega

For some companies, marketing is the Omega. It comes last, or almost last, just before the transaction.

It certainly has a place here.

But if this is its only place, there could be trouble on the horizon.

Here’s a typical journey a new business might take:

  • Have an idea for a product or service
  • Research the idea and the competition
  • Create the ‘better’ product or service
  • Market it to start generating sales

The underlying belief is that by improving upon the existing products or services available in the marketplace, customers will be interested in the new product and want to buy it.

The belief is flawed.

The marketing is flawed.

It is how the product or service is perceived that will determine the audiences’ interest.

Not the realities of the product or service itself.

The Alpha

Start with marketing.

In the example above, significant resources are spent before marketing is fully considered.

When marketing takes centre stage the likelihood of success is increased by reducing the risk of wasting time and money.

Before launching a new product or service consider:

  • How is this industry currently perceived?
  • How are the operators in the industry perceived?
  • What are the positive perceptions of the leading providers?
  • What are the negative perceptions of the leading providers?
  • How are the providers who are struggling in this sector perceived?

In these answers lies the opportunity, or lack thereof, to win an audience with your offering.

A product or service can be built to fill this gap.

The truth is, whether it is in fact ‘better’ is secondary.

Going long and short

Alpha marketing and Omega marketing go hand in hand.

The marketing you do at the start of your venture is long-term thinking.

It’s the opportunity you’ve spotted and the underlying belief that will steer the ship over the months and years ahead.

The marketing you do after creating your offering is the short-term campaign.

The tactical implementation.

This generates the sales, but it doesn’t dictate the direction, and neither does the product or service.