Recently I was reading Unmarketing by Scott Stratton. In the introduction he says:
Marketing is not a task.
Marketing is not a department.
Marketing is not a job.
Marketing happens every time you engage (or not) with your past, present, and potential customers.
Just like branding is not your logo, marketing is not something you do only when you need to get more customers. Marketing is about building relationships with people. It’s about giving them a chance to get to know, like, and trust you so that when the time comes for them to purchase what you sell, you’re the only person they think of.
So when you post a link to your sales page on Twitter and Facebook that’s marketing. But even better marketing is when you reply to somebody based on what they’ve said. Having a professional looking website is marketing, but so is taking the time to congratulate a past customer on winning an award. Returning phone calls promptly is marketing. Replying to e-mails is marketing. Giving great customer service is marketing.
I live in a small town where people like to do business with people they know. Word-of-mouth is key, and reputation is everything. Tools like Facebook and Twitter turn the online world into a small town. So we need to remember to act like it.
If you own a small business, particularly a service-based businesses, then in all likelihood you and your business are pretty interchangeable; it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other starts. In that case marketing is every interaction you have with a customer or potential customer. Treat them all like they’re your best customer.