Marketing is the Product Podcast: What is Marketing?

 
 
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Marketing is one of the most misunderstood disciplines. A lot of people think that it’s about pushiness, hard selling, and sleazy ads. In reality, though, it’s all about figuring out what people want and finding ways to give it to them.

We’ll start featuring business owners as early as July. In this episode, we cover the basics of marketing as well as the terms you’ll hear us use in the episodes to come.


Brandon: I’m Brandon Rollins.

Pierson: I’m Pierson Hibbs.

Brandon: We’re here with the Pangea Marketing Agency and this is our podcast, Marketing Is The Product, related to our blog which is also called Marketing is the Product, real easy for you to remember there.

Pierson: And we also like to say it a lot so you can’t possibly forget it. We’re gonna say it like 9000 times each episode, so don’t forget marketing is the product.

Brandon: At least seven. That’s one of the things about marketing is you just wanna repeat things a whole bunch of times. Anyway, getting to the main matter of the show today. Normally, we’re gonna have guests on, and that is going to be coming next week and every week thereafter, but we wanna do a primer episode before we start calling all our friends and all our contacts. And we wanna just take like half an hour to talk about what marketing is ’cause a lot of people have just really, really weird ideas of what marketing is and what it isn’t. And we wanna do away with some urban legends, do away with some misconceptions and help you actually understand what it is we do all day on our computers.

Pierson: Yeah, and I think that that’s something that by understanding what marketing is, you can see the benefits that it might have for you, your business, what other businesses are doing and how it helps them. And so from understanding and having a decent foundation to go off of, it’s gonna be able to help you make more sense of this show and what we are gonna be releasing to you.

Brandon: And we know that right now you’ve probably been in your house for like two or three months by the time you listen to this, not that I’m keeping count, but it’s been 66 days. So we know that you’re probably concerned about the future and what it looks like for your business or for your job, and it puts you in a position where you not only wanna listen to stuff, not only do you wanna read a whole lot online just to pass the time, but I think a lot of people are just looking for information or just different people to listen to on how we’re gonna engage with this new world. And that’s the way that we’re actually going to be approaching this show is how do we deal with the incredibly bad hand that 2020 has dealt in a positive way? And how do we build businesses in an environment where we can’t even be close to one another? You and I, we were originally gonna record in the same room, but we’re over here having this on a Zoom call as everybody seems to do these days.

Pierson: Yeah and nobody thought that when we started 2020, this would be where we’re at leading into June, but like always, I think we have to adapt and in times of immense crisis, I think that’s the times where we end up coming together more than ever. And like you were saying, Brandon, this is a time where a lot of us are… We are stuck at home and we’re very limited with what we’re able to do and I think for me and for a lot of other people, it’s important to feel like you still have outlets that you can further yourself in. And you can still have outlets that you can learn and grow in in this time where you’re trapped and you feel limited and those outside resources are maybe not as readily available as they normally are. So hopefully, this podcast can be something for you that can help you learn, help you be entertained and take your mind away from what has been a razor scooter to the shin for 2020.

Brandon: That’s a pretty good way of putting it. I was just thinking like we write a lot of blog posts. We write two a week and for the most part, it is just really gritty detailed how does this particular function in marketing work? Or we’ll take a question that we get submitted to us through a giveaway and we’ll answer that. That’s not the way we’re usually going to be handling these shows. We’re gonna be talking to people and getting stories because we think in a lot of ways, that’s a better way to learn when you hear from a real person and you hear their real struggles and what they really did. This doesn’t come out of a textbook, it’s that necessary human experience. And that’s actually what we’re going for with this show, and we think it comes across or will come across rather so much better in an audio format that could in any other way.

Pierson: Absolutely and this is a time where I think people are wanting to tell their success stories, especially the ones that have overcome lots of adversity and have been dealing with that for years to come and have found ways to push through even now and kinda look at how people are doing it. And it’s inspirational to hear and it’s motivating and more importantly than anything, it’s important to see the good in things and to stay positive about it and to look at people and say, “You know what, if they can get up and do it then I can, too.” And that doesn’t mean that I’m limited because I’m at home, there are ways that you can keep pushing and growing.

Brandon: Yeah, in a lot of ways, if nothing else, we have a ton of spare time and you shouldn’t feel the burden to always be productive, to always do something to further yourself, but I gotta say like if you have the energy, if you have the time, if you have the will, what a perfect time. I mean I know it’s really rough, it’s really difficult right now but there is this one tiny silver lining that we can all take advantage of right now.

Pierson: Absolutely and we were talking right before we got on this call about how it’s a time where we’re all kinda in the same boat where it’s hard, it’s hard to be creative and it’s hard to draw inspiration, and we’re all kinda trapped inside and waiting and looking for answers that nobody really knows. And so by drawing on these people, we’re able to kinda see their way of success and draw inspiration from that and I think that that’s a important thing to keep in mind at this time.

Brandon: Absolutely. So I’m gonna circle back to the original question here, or rather, what’s probably going to be the title of this podcast when we ultimately publish it? What is marketing? We’re gonna answer that in just a second, but let me put you on the spot here, Pearson, and let me ask you before I hired you with Pangea, what did you think marketing was?

Pierson: I think I had an okay idea of what marketing was. I think in a nutshell, it was the actions that you could take to further somebody else’s business and to grow that in whatever way that might look like. And I’ve been fortunate enough to work in some different fields that I’ve dabbled in marketing before I started with you. And starting with you, I was really able to delve deeper into marketing as a whole and look at some of the outlets and the creative ways that you can push other people’s products. But in large, I think it’s really finding ways to help show what other people have to offer and help other people grow what they have spent time working on.

Brandon: I think that’s a good way of putting it because like when I was in school, I got my MBA about five, six years ago, something like that. I got my MBA a few years ago and when I had my degree, I basically thought, “Okay, marketing, this is a way that you convince people to buy your products.” And I still felt that way having published a paper explicitly about marketing. And I will say that’s absolutely not the wrong way to think of it. Marketing is definitely a way you convince people to buy your products, it is a way that you influence opinions, but that doesn’t really totally capture it. And I actually have a sentence here that I wanna read off from an article we wrote a long time ago, I think that will capture it really well. Okay, so the sentence is marketing is an ongoing process that breathes life into everything you do as a small business owner. It begins from the moment you conceive an idea and it carries you through manufacturing and continues with sales and fulfillment.

Pierson: Right and in a way, marketing is the backbone of your business, it’s what you think about from the time that your product is even just an idea all the way till it’s in the consumer’s hands, and it’s something that you’ve gotta be thinking about top to bottom all the way through the process in order to do it effectively and to really meet the needs of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Brandon: I think a lot of people, they’re visionaries who imagine these product ideas and they just wanna invent. They’re a visionary or an inventor and they make their product and then they say, “Well, now I have to market this.” Well, no, you are actually already marketing it by having an idea and finding a way to express it through the physical creation of a product, or through creating a website or through having a conversation. You are marketing. You’re crafting this experience that customers or potential customers interact with. And a lot of people, they don’t think of it like that ’cause when we do consult calls, one of the first things I usually end up looking for is what’s the basic idea of the product? Who’s it for? What have you made? What’s the feeling that you’re trying to evoke? And we start with all of this.

Brandon: I don’t care how many Twitter followers you have, nobody really cares. Instagram followers don’t really matter that much, or your mailing list size or all that stuff. It’s like do you have a product that people want? Do you have a way of reaching out to others? And do you have the ability to build a community? Those are a lot more important than what a lot of people think of when they hear marketing, which is just posts on social media, run an advertisement, send an email. It all connects but you have to connect different methods of marketing back to your ultimate intent as a business.

Pierson: You’ve always gotta be thinking of the big picture and asking yourself why am I doing this and what is this action going to cause? And by keeping those actions in mind and that chain of events of by doing this, my target audience can receive this the way that I want it to. Or these people are going to see what I’m trying to communicate to them effectively, and more importantly, in the way that I’m intending for it to be received.

Brandon: No, no, I think that’s on the mind right now.

Pierson: Yeah, but it’s something that you have to be really aware of from top to bottom in the process.

Brandon: Absolutely. So actually, just to give a sense of the scope of marketing, I wrote down a handful of things that fall under the purview of marketing here, which I have on this cheat sheet here, which you cannot see if you’re listening to us, but you can totally see if you’re watching the super special video version of this with no edits. And these are customer satisfaction, demand generation, profit generation, market share growth, branding and PR. So it sounds like basically a bunch of business jargon, but what it comes down to is are you creating something that people really want? This is the primary objective of marketing. You have to be able to create something that others want. You have to be able to make people who would want something want something. That is demand generation. And of course, the whole time you have to do this in a way without spending so much money that you don’t make any back. So that’s also another part of marketing. How do you make this great product? How do you get people to want this product while also keeping some money at the end of the day?

Pierson: Right, and one of the main goals of this podcast and what we’re hoping by bringing these people on to the show is by listening to their stories and from hearing how they have approached it, you can see more of a holistic view of marketing and how it applies to different fields and how different people do it, and the thing is about marketing, and what makes it so interesting is there’s not one set way that’s correct. There’s a million different ways that you can effectively advertise and market for your product. And that’s the cool thing about drawing on all of these different people from all over the world is we can hear how they thought, “I can market this and I can execute this.” And hear their story of how it came from an idea to a reality and that’s for a lot of people a lot easier to comprehend than reading the definition of what marketing is in a textbook. It’s real life examples.

Brandon: And now we can tell you what branding means, but it’s so much more useful, I think, just hear somebody’s story and understand intuitively how they created a brand for themselves. I can tell you about the mechanics of logo design, of slogans, of finding a target audience. Or I can tell you about my friend, Kenny, who lives in the United Kingdom and makes digital tabletop games for people so that they can play this with their friends remotely. Or we can tell you about a CBD oil shop owner in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We can tell you about these folks and through hearing their stories, you’ll understand how to find a need that needs to be met, how to do that and satisfy customers, how to make cash and how to have a consistent message about who you are and what you’re doing.

Pierson: One of the things that we talk about a lot, and it’s one of the foundations of Pangea is we see the value in you and what you have to offer, and we want you to be able to show that value to the world, and marketing is one of those tools that allows you to really show what you’ve worked on in your business and all of the cool things you do. That’s how you distribute that and let people know about it. So we hope that through this, it can shed some light on some of the areas that you might be a little bit foggy on, or maybe you’re just confused about what marketing looks like for a business. How do you market a business? What does that look like for different type of businesses, for real estate agents? What’s marketing like for that? That’s completely different than how you’d market for a CBD shop or for a glass blowing shop. You’ve gotta think about all kinds of different variables and by taking those into account, that’s what makes up marketing.

Brandon: Yeah, I completely agree. And when talking about marketing, I see different terms that we use and different procedures that we follow as tools in a greater tool set. When working with the client to create a marketing plan, we’re building something. We’re building a metaphorical building, if you will, and different things like advertising or creating a so called marketing funnel which we’ll explain momentarily, stuff like that, these are all tools in the tool set of creating something much greater.

Pierson: Yeah and a lot of it also has to do with finding out that custom fit for you and finding out the tools that you’re looking for, ’cause it is different for everybody and not everybody is looking to accomplish the same thing. So there are tools within marketing that are gonna help you reach different goals that you have, but it’s also not limited to just one strict approach, there are different ways that you can effectively do this, and that’s what we’re hoping we can highlight.

Brandon: Now at this point I think it’d be a good idea just to go over some words or some phrases or concepts that we’re going to use a lot because if you’re listening to this episode, you’re probably going to find the interviews a little bit later. You’re probably going back and hearing this at a later date, so let’s just go ahead and get some jargon out of the way that you’re gonna hear.

Pierson: Sure.

Brandon: The first one is probably gonna be just targeting or target market.

Pierson: Yeah, do you want me to go ahead?

Brandon: Yeah, yeah, you know what, let’s… I don’t wanna hog all the speaking here, so yeah, I’ll just go ahead and list some of these off and you can start saying what you think of them.

Pierson: Yeah, so target market is who you’re ideally trying to market your product to. So if I’ve got a shop and I sell footballs, I’m not gonna try to sell my footballs to the swimming community here in Chattanooga, I’m not gonna do that well in that market. What I’m gonna maybe try to do is look at local football teams, look at different schools that have football programs. You’ve got to think about what is the market for my product and how can I most effectively hit those people and make them see what I’m… Not hit those people, but to reach out to them.

Brandon: That’s very aggressive.

Pierson: I’m in the football mentality now. You wanna go with the next one?

Brandon: Yeah, I’ll just add to that. The trick with targeting is you wanna be really, really specific, that’s what makes targeting powerful. It’s focusing on the people who most want your product, or who would most want your product, instead of everybody who could potentially want your product.

Pierson: Now, another word that you’re probably gonna hear a lot and I’m gonna put you on the spot, why don’t you go ahead and explain what a niche is to people ’cause that’s something that we talk a lot about, and not a lot of people might know what a niche is in terms of business and what that means when we refer to it.

Brandon: So a niche is pretty much like a specific place that you can call your home in terms of marketing. So like the literal term niche when talking about, I believe it’s biology or not biology, pretty much like animal life. The idea is a niche is where an animal will… A place that an animal will carve out for themself as a shelter, it works that way in business, too. Your niche is a specific audience whose specific needs you meet in a specific way. Okay, I am shamelessly promoting one of my games by holding it up in the background of this video, if you happen to be watching this and it’s called Tasty Humans. It is a really specific kind of game where it looks really cutesy on the outside but it’s a puzzle game. It’s a very gritty complex game in the sense that you are constantly thinking like what’s the best way to maximize my score? That’s playing for a specific kind of person who is a strategy gamer, who likes kind of like this cutesy fantasy theme. That’s a specific niche, a specific place that we do better than most others out there in the board game world. And you find the same dynamic basically, anywhere you go, any business that you can think of.

Pierson: Yeah. Well, thanks for clearing that up. I think that that’s gonna be something that we definitely refer back to a lot, and I think that it’s good if we’re gonna go ahead and get a lot of this terminology out of the way now, let’s go ahead and cover all of the hot spots of potential questions later down the line.

Brandon: Ooh, hot spots, you can feel the coronavirus getting into our speech here. You can’t escape it, it’s gonna be a part of our language, you know this is what like our children are gonna grow up saying, right?

Pierson: Yeah, this is gonna be affecting us for years to come. Remember when we lived in the pandemic?

Brandon: Yeah, you remember when we had to stay at home for weeks on end? You know that 10-year-olds right now are gonna get nostalgic for when they had to hang out at home and when they didn’t have to go to school.

Pierson: And all of the adults are gonna be thinking, “Wow, I am so thankful that liquor stores were considered an essential business.”

Brandon: Yeah, and it’s kind of the same way where I’m like, “Oh wow, 2003, what a nice time to be alive when in reality it was like post-9/11 and everything was actually pretty bad, but it feels great ’cause I was like 10 at that time. Everything was magic. I didn’t really know what was wrong with the world yet. Actually, a ton of things. Anyway, that’s a tangent. We may or may not leave that in the final version.

Pierson: That will be left in the final version. I will not be cutting it out.

Brandon: Phenomenal, phenomenal, alright. So related to target and related to niche, I’m actually surprised you didn’t hit me with this one and it’s product market fit. You wanna take this one?

Pierson: Yes, sure. So your product market fit… All of these terms are in a way building off of each other and they all relate back to… They play into each other. A product market fit is essentially how well your product is going to fit into a particular market and how well that can be hit. I’m saying hit, why am I using that as my descriptor? Go ahead and elaborate on that some more.

Brandon: Okay, so the basic idea of product market fit. The idea is that you wanna make a product that’s perfect for a particular market, and this is… It sounds so obvious when I say it like that, but people don’t often think of things this way. They think like, “I have this thing that I need to create.” No, what you do is you find a group of people who need something and then you just find a way to meet that through a product or a service. And when you have achieved that perfect match where people feel instantly drawn to your product or service, you have product market fit and that comes with experimentation and time.

Pierson: Yeah, I was just gonna say, one of the best examples of all time of this was the Snuggie. It really hit a specific need. You’ve got blankets that are perpetually falling off of you, you’re tired of them slipping and you don’t have anywhere to hold your remote. I feel like I’m advertising it myself right now but that’s essentially what it is. You’re finding a specific need and trying to market for that need.

Brandon: I remember making fun of those when I was younger, and now I feel like a fool because that was actually some genius level marketing for product design because you’re absolutely right. There was a specific group of people out there, a really large group of people who were sick of blankets falling off of them and they just wanted this backwards robe to stay on them.

Pierson: There’s another one that I saw the other day about people that sleep in the bed with somebody that are notorious for the tuck and roll and there are these little clamps that go under the bed that prevent that from happening. Talk about another specific market. That’s for all the people that are cold at night that are slightly bitter at their partner in the bed for hogging all the covers.

Brandon: I may know someone who needs that and it’s not me.

Pierson: I think I just found a winner for a product you’re gonna hit, hit up later.

Brandon: Oh goodness, that’s gonna have to be like the next thing I’d buy on Amazon. It’s the only way you can get products right now, anybody listening in 2025. That’s the only way you can buy things now. Also, why are you listening to this in 2025? What the hell is wrong with you?

Pierson: I think that this is the beginning of a long, successful five years of podcasting and by then, we are going to be hitting our peak, as we were talking about earlier. That’s gonna be the numbness point for those of you that stick around long enough, you’ll figure out what that means.

Brandon: Yeah, we’ll, eventually bring that up. That’s another little bit of jargon we’ll use. I think the next big one that we’re probably gonna say a whole bunch is either marketing funnel or AIDA, it’s gonna be either one of those, probably both.

Pierson: Why don’t you go ahead and go explain that?

Brandon: Alright, so I feel like normally, I would draw this on a white board, that’s a foolish thing to do on a podcast for reasons all too obvious to mention, so I’ll just dictate it to you. Imagine a funnel with four steps from top to bottom. At the top, it’s attention and then there’s interest, desire, and action. So it describes basically the four steps people go through between not knowing who you are or what you do and buying your product. Attention is when you just get them to see you in some way, shape, or form, even if they don’t really care. Interest is when you at least got them to pause for a moment and consider your product, if only for a couple of seconds. Desire is when they want your product, and action is when they actually purchase your product. And what you wanna do as a marketer is you wanna figure out how to get people’s attention, get them interested in your product, get them to want your product or service, and then get them to ultimately buy it. When you get somebody to go all the way from not knowing who you are to buying your product that’s a conversion or a customer acquisition, depending on what context you’re using the terms in.

Pierson: Yeah.

Brandon: Speechless. I did a good job, such a good job.

Pierson: I’m not entirely sure what the best way is to respond to that other than yeah, that’s spot on.

Brandon: We’re figuring it out. Yeah.

Pierson: Spot on.

Brandon: At this point, a lot of the other stuff that I wrote down is actually really straightforward because people hear it in other parts of their life. You’ll hear price, or logistics, or promotion or outreach, all of those are literally exactly what they sound like. They are literally exactly what they… They mean basically the same thing in marketing as they do anywhere else, the trick is that they’re just really, really important terms in marketing that we tend to use a lot. They are things that we tend to obsess over. And I think the last one that merits mention here is crowdfunding because that’s actually a new way of raising money.

Brandon: Crowd funding, as we understand it in the modern world, pretty much didn’t start until Kickstarter came out in 2009. And the idea is that instead of seeking out money from angel investors or instead of bank rolling your own product or getting a loan, you come up with an idea, you come up with a prototype, you market it online and then people will pledge, and if you raise a certain amount, you keep that money, you manufacture the product and you get it out there to an audience. People talk about crowdfunding all the time. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, Go Fund Mes, you’ve seen them on Facebook, I’m sure. They’re really big and a lot of the people that we interview, you are probably going to hear about their Kickstarter or their Indiegogo, that’s because that’s a really important fundraising model right now.

Pierson: It’s a really cool way to take an idea that you’ve got and to pitch it and to see, you know what, if this is something that people like they’ll invest, and it’s almost like a natural way of seeing like would this work?

Brandon: Exactly.

Pierson: Does this have a shot at actually becoming a reality? And I think that for a lot of people, they need that confirmation from seeing these investors come in and say, “Yeah, I’d buy that.” And it makes you go, “Well, shoot. Yeah, let’s do it.”

Brandon: Crowdfunding is like the ultimate tool for gauging product market fit, or it’s like the best tool that we have probably ever seen. It’s not appropriate for every business. It’s not appropriate for every situation. But if you wanna get people’s opinion on something and get some attention, crowdfunding is looking brighter and brighter everyday particularly right now, because I feel like traditional fundraising models are going to be changing and I do not know how yet.

Pierson: That’s the other big thing is a lot of… Our world as we know it is gonna kind of shift to a new reality and we don’t necessarily know what that looks like, so just by keep on going in the only way we know how and by just being resilient and trying to move forward, that’s all we can do.

Brandon: Yeah, pretty much. We’re all in for a long ride so we may as well just buckle up and learn as much as we possibly can. We have the opportunity or we’re about to have the opportunity to remake the world, and that’s something that all the villains in superhero movies want. So we should really take advantage of this opportunity.

Pierson: You need to coin that, you heard it here first, marketing is the product.

Brandon: Yeah, you heard it here first. You heard it here first. Be a villain, marketing is the product. I’m not off to a good start.

Pierson: We’re mainly aiming this at the younger generation of viewers.

Brandon: You know, parents used to blame rock and roll, and then they blamed rap music, and then they blamed video games for their kid’s bad behavior. Now it’s going to be us, that’s what’s going to happen. I can feel it, I see it now.

Pierson: Natural succession of things.

Brandon: Pretty much. This is everything that I wanted to cover today. What we want is for you to have a basic understanding of how marketing works, what it really is, so that when we have these phenomenal guest callers on, you’ll have the context you need to just really appreciate what it is that they are doing with their businesses and why it connects with others. And that’s what marketing ultimately is about. It’s about finding ways to connect with others through products, through services, through the messages that you share online and offline.

Pierson: Exactly, it’s taking the time to really just to understand in every possible way that you can what you are doing and the ways that you can effectively share that to your audience. So, hopefully, this episode can be a good tool for you guys. If you have any questions at later points in time on what some of the words or terminology that you hear is and absolutely, we are so excited that you have chosen to join us if you’re tuning in, and we look forward to getting some more guests here on the show starting next week.

Brandon: Looking forward to it. I can’t wait to start getting the guest interviews out in July, that’s gonna be phenomenal. And just to recap for anybody who, I don’t know, walked in the room at the last minute of a podcast, I’m Brandon Rollins.

Pierson: I’m Pierson Hibbs.

Brandon: We’re from the Pangea Marketing Agency, this is our podcast, Marketing Is The Product. Every two weeks, we’re gonna post a new episode. We’ll talk to you soon.

Pierson: See ya.

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