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When you say ‘I am going to show you great marketing,’ what do most people think? Most likely, they think of a TV advertisement; they think of some billboard that really stood out. This may be the case, but when you ask me about a great advertisement I think of a rather small restaurant which just opened.

The place is unknown, the decor might not all be up, and the place may only be able to seat a few people, but it has one thing going for it – it makes the greatest food this side of the Vaal River! You probably know what I’m talking about; it’s that restaurant you actually don’t want to share with your friends because you know that once you tell people about it then you may not get a space next time. That said, you can’t help talking about it.

Another example would be Allan Gray. Again, not the Allan Gray ads that we all know of. Although these are almost always done well and do provoke many emotions, they’re not what I have in mind. No, I refer more to the founder of the Investment Management firm himself. When he first started, he decided not to advertise in the conventional sense, rather he decided that his performance and services would speak for themselves. And they did. He is one of the richest men in the world and, in fact, the richest man in South Africa.

I ask you this, how many Apple ads have you seen in your lifetime? Now that you think about it, you might realise that it’s not many, but you know the products so well… This is because people can’t stop talking about them.

Again, I reference H.K. McCann, founder of one of the largest agencies in the world- McCann Erickson- who some call the founder of marketing itself. It is he who came up with the slogan “Truth Well Told.” Now, I have to stop here and point this out: McCann was not about “lying well” or “telling partial truths to sell a product.” No, he believed that the product/service itself was part of its marketing.

Many times we marketers forget this; that the product is also a part of the marketing effort, and that this is something that we as marketers should also work on.

Lastly, I refer to Seth Godin, who, in his book Purple Cow, points out the fact that marketers should be a part of creating the product way before it is ready to be packaged and go out to get sold. Rather, marketers should play a part in making the product itself.

Now I know that in a large company, a marketer has very little input into the product itself; rather, you’ll get a brief and get told to “make it pretty.” I get this, and it’s a valid point; fair enough. Remember, there are times when you do “make it pretty,” and in those times you should not believe that it’s someone else’s job. Rather think of it as a part of the marketing, and as marketers, we should always be willing to give our creative input.

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