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What is the goal of marketing?

May 21, 2019

This is not an academic question. When a company does marketing, they aren’t doing it for the tax breaks. They are doing it for a reason.

They want to own a space inside the consumer’s brain. The goal of every single marketing interaction should be to upgrade the brand’s value in the mind of the consumer.

The interaction could be on Twitter, on a blog, on a TV spot, within a search term, on a poster, on a t-shirt, in a YouTube video. It could be at the point of purchase or, as is the case with New Coke, on a hit TV show.

It could be in responding quickly to someone on Twitter. It could be having a conversation with someone on Facebook.

We do marketing to sell products. But all marketing can’t be “buy me” because then it sounds needy and wrong. No brand wants to be the digital version of an Amway salesman at a party.

Plus, asking for the order all the time eliminates the newly aware. No one wants to purchase a product they just heard of. 

In higher education, you can’t ask someone who just came to your website to apply. That’s like asking someone you just met to marry them. It skips too many steps.


We can use marketing to nurture someone and to upgrade the brand in their mind. Then, when it is time to purchase, the brand that has done the best job of nurturing is likely to be in consideration for a purchase.

Thus, a bad post might do the opposite. One of the reasons I always hated Instagram was this potential. An image from a phone of a university could have the opposite effect we desire. A bad image taken from a phone might downgrade the brand in the eye of the consumer.

The Instagram feeds of big and small brands are full of shots that have bad color, are poorly lit, and/or poorly angled. People all got phones with amazing cameras and then thought, I can take a picture. So they did. Even though they mostly can’t take good pictures. 

Photographers know a good picture. it is what they do. I can’t take a picture, so I refused to post images on my school’s Instagram for fear of downgrading the brand.

We’re at a point whereby all media can be used, to some extent, to upgrade the brand’s value.We’re also past the “hey, isn’t it cool that [brand] is on Facebook?” stage. So, we’re perilously close to downgrading the brand when we just make content.

So, ask this: will this message upgrade the brand’s value to the end user?

If you aren’t 100% sure it will, I’d argue it isn’t worth the cost.

I’m on Twitter. If you are.


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