It's 2017 and I have been running around the Thames Valley in Berkshire, England offering free marketing mastery consultations.
So far, so good. But why did I do this?
Our marketing philosophy is derived from traditional marketing thinking as well as Design Thinking and Agile development. Instead of trying to package my offering perfectly to the market I (like a lean startup) got the basic framework and then decided to test it.
I have been doing an awful lot of testing and I am pleased to say that I got what I expected - - the unexpected.
The Unexpected Always Happens
Design Thinking says: Empathise with your audience, define the problem you are trying to solve, come up with some ideas, prototype it and test the hell out of it. And, I guarantee that something unexpected always comes along that you are hugely grateful for not having built the whole thing prior to actually going to market.
So... what was my unexpected insight?
Not many people conceptualise marketing in the same way that I see marketing anymore.
It's funny, because, if you say to someone, "What is Marketing?" they rattle off things like "The 4 Ps" or something equally vague. And yet, having spoken to hundreds of people these last few months, I realise that, on a daily basis, the concept of marketing in most people's minds is really "Marketing Communication".... i.e. just one of "The Ps"
Well, am I very grateful for knowing that.
So... what to do? Change, adapt, come up with new ideas, prototype and then test of course !
What does Marketing mean to Ooba?
We see it as a full-on, 360 degree, complete approach to your business (ummmm just like how I was taught on my marketing degree all those years ago). To us, it's about profit and innovation and your entire business. Not hamster wheel SEO, PPC or managing adverts or events. That's fine. But it's not marketing to us. That's "marketing communications" - and the bottom end of marketing communications at that.
Empathise, Empathise, Empathise - Pivot, Augment, Niche.
So, if I care about my customers (which I do - very much) I have 2 choices. I either spend lots of Time, Energy and Resources (T.E.R) trying to force my own perception of marketing on people and (re)educating them on what we mean by Marketing. Or, I can accept that the term "marketing" has lost the meaning that I seem to have been clinging on to.
A choice... but not a hard one. If the customer calls a pork chop a steak... then it's a steak.
Ooba's final deliverable is still the same - fearless marketing.
Ooba's expertise is still about using all the tools in our toolkit to influence the marketing of your business for success (i.e. profit & innovation).
But, when we're talking to customers, if we use the term "Marketing", then they immediately think of email campaigns, lead generation or advertising etc. Of course, we can advise, coach and consult on the entire plethora of possible marketing communications activities. But we don't do the execution of it for clients anymore.
So, what does Ooba really do then? Well, in the eyes of the customer, we now think that we should probably open the conversation as a "business consultancy with a marketing pedigree". It's time for Ooba to pivot, change, augment and develop our own messaging to empathise better and reflect/resonate with our clients in a more powerful and meaningful way. And test, test, test.
It will also mean that we need to rework through our 10 Elements of Marketing Clarity sooner rather than later.