Marketing is the art of getting people to change their minds — or to not change them if they are already inclined to do business with you.
This simple need has created an industry of advertising agencies, marketers, event organisers, public relations and more.
But how much can you say? Generally speaking, the more you want to say about your products or services, the more you have to pay. So economy of words, pictures and sounds is the order of the day if you have a limited budget. If you have a tiny budget, then you do not really have a “voice”.
A good way to say the least (pun intended) with maximum impact is using a meme. A meme is defined as “an element of a culture or behaviour that may be passed from one individual to another”.
In the world of marketing, a meme is an easily identifiable image or verbal symbol that conveys much more than just the name of the brand.
An example of a recent meme is Jeremy Lin. When you hear the name Jeremy Lin, you immediately conjure up an image of a basketball player, but it also pulls along the other values that he stands for, such as teamwork and humility.
The meme was so powerful that Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou was quoted as saying that his cabinet needs to do the “Lin thing”.
Marketing is a process, not an event. Still on the Jeremy Lin example, how he got to be known for teamwork and humility was a process. When you trace the history of Jeremy Lin’s career, it was not just a one-time event that created the meme.
It was though many basketball games. It was through staying the course. It was through a consistent message that Jeremy Lin sent out each time he was on the court and each time he was interviewed.
It was a process, the process took time, and the process is still going on. Marketing takes time. It does take money, but it need not be lots of money, if you know how.
Think about each time you speak to a client or a potential client. What do you say verbally, visually and through your behaviour? Is your message congruent? If your company sells cosmetics, do your salesmen use the products? If you are selling a business process method, do you use the same techniques in your company?
I was training for a company that manufactures electronics equipment, and in their training room, I noticed that everything, from laptops to LCD projectors, electronic whiteboards, speakers and calculators was their own brand. That brand position went up several notches in my brain.
Marketing is the truth made fascinating. When someone asks you what you do for a living, and you say, “I sell industrial ball bearings”, they will probably soon move away from you, or suddenly say that they need to go to the bathroom.
But if you say, “I sell a product that changed the way airports move luggage around”, they will probably want to know more.
Remember the three Ms of marketing. They are:
Getting someone to change their mind;
Using a meme to market economically and powerfully; and
Making the truth fascinating.