In my last post, I noted that marketing means more than just communications. A friend sent me an article on how blogs are set to destroy marketing as we know it. The article suggests that marketing departments will succumb to unfiltered blogging, since companies can syndicate communications to their customers, partners and employees.

But marketing means more than just communication — although most people probably think of brochures, ads, and websites when they think “marketing”. True marketing involves business analysis that shapes product, price, promotion, and place (distribution).

Product designers, programmers, and engineers might raise an eyebrow to thoughts of marketers building products. That’s because most of us think of products as physical items. Marketers see products as whole solutions to customer problems. Every product feature should be mapped to a customer need. A real product includes the brand, quality, packaging, service, support, warranty, and guarantee.

For example, Dell sells more than just computers. To help buyers buy, Dell has hired customer service reps who can help buyers navigate the purchasing process. To reduce buyer remorse, it offers a next-day, on-site service plan and online technical support. To keep costs low for buyers, Dell uses a just-in-time inventory program, where customers pay for the product before it is ever built; this provides Dell with a negative cash-conversion cycle, too. Dell also offers warranties, helping to build consumer confidence. In marketing computers, Dell considers all the elements necessary to providing customers with a whole product.

Leading companies consider all the elements needed to bring a product to market. Price, promotion, and place (distribution) figure into the mix, too. If you’re only working with a marketing communications professional, consider whether you could build revenues and cut costs by looking at the entire marketing mix.

(c) 2004 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.