Marketing is not about the marketer
It’s not your fault that sometimes you miss the forest for the trees. Really, it’s not. It’s quite natural, actually. It happens in marketing all of the time. Before us, we have myriad options on how to go about our job of marketing a certain product or service. It’s almost impossible not to get lost in the forest of marketing trends as we work on figuring out the best way to market something. In her article “Taking marketing back to its roots,” at business2community.com, Liz Papagni reminds us that “while the way we market has changed, the reason why we market has not.” In doing so, Papagni does the important work of putting perplexed marketing minds back on solid ground by reminding us what the art is all about at its core.
In Papagni’s view, marketing is about relationships. “It always has been and always will be about getting to know your client, not selling yourself outright,” she writes.
Papagni goes on to remind us that our ego can get in the way when we begin to believe that a marketing campaign is all about you. You know? You, the brilliant mind behind the brilliant marketing plan which never gets off the ground because it must be perfect.
Papagni quotes the American Marketing Association’s definition of marketing to illustrate her point. “The process for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for clients, partners, and society at large,” reads the AMA’s dictionary entry. In Papagni’s view, this definition “suggests that the winner here is not the marketer, but the client.” And that the client wins when she gets access to the tools and ideas for their success. “When you scratch their back, they’ll eventually scratch yours,” states Papagni.
In the Information Age, it’s crossed people’s minds that marketing is actually dead. Consumers have information at their fingertips. This is simply not true. The internet has only changed how we market and how people interact with brands. Instead of marketing itself dying, what is dying are past forms and tools of marketing, according to Papagni. “What’s dying are the old, inflexible marketing systems and channels that are too rigid, take too long to measure, and are simply not cost effective.”
For Papagni, “permission marketing” is the modern way. “It’s the idea that consumers are more open to messages when they invite the marketer to interact with them, rather than being attacked from all sides,” writes Papagni.
In dating, a potential partner measures what you will bring to the relationship and uses that evaluation to decide whether to schedule another date. Marketing entails creating this same dynamic. Through a coordinated and intelligent effort—your marketing plan—you court the potential customer with tidbits about how your product or service will solve something essential in their life. According to Papagni, a company only survives by continually building and nurturing relationships.
So yeah, get intimate.
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Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR
The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.”
NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well.
2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer.