By Leslie Galbreath
If you work in business, you’ve likely heard the phrase “everyone is a marketer” uttered sarcastically at one point or another. It’s become rather a running joke in my profession. As jokes go, it’s a pretty good one because it rings true more often than it should. When folks say this, it’s usually in response to feedback from an executive who is just “not feeling the design” or a salesperson who “knows for sure that my customers don’t use Facebook for business.” Maybe from a vendor who swears that “shiny paper is making a comeback.” (I can assure you, it’s not). The point is that everyone feels entitled to an opinion about marketing. The question is, why?
The answer is pretty simple else you likely wouldn’t be reading it in a blog, you’d be reading it in my critically acclaimed think piece on the philosophy of communications. Maybe someday, but for now I digress.
Marketing communications is the means by which customers experience brands so we are all, in fact, involved in it to some degree. Websites satisfy our need for immediate gratification by allowing us to buy just about anything online from our favorite vendors. Digital apps allow us to connect with world news as reported by our favorite reporters 24/7/365 with the tap of a finger. Television ads make us laugh, cry and sometimes scream. Communication is emotional and it’s everywhere, and that’s a big part of why everyone thinks they know it – because they see it, use it and feel it every day.
I can assure you, however, that the professionals who create the apps, websites, news programs and television ads, do not do these things based on gut or “cool stuff they saw online last night.” They skillfully engineer their work based on research, training, expertise and experience in the best interest of the brands they serve. This being one among many reasons that it is so important to make sure you choose to work with trained, skilled professionals.
Marketing communications is as of yet an unlicensed profession, which creates a free for all culture that can be risky. Marketers are caretakers for a business’ greatest asset after its people – its brand – and are often responsible for significant budgets and other resources. To elevate our profession beyond the aforementioned culture, many of us seek advanced degrees and accreditation that support industry standards and best practices to grow our expertise. Others rigorously pursue certifications to ensure they are at the top of their game. Others still actively participate in professional associations to benefit from their peers’ experience and guidance. All of these things enhance the credibility of the profession and make us the best suited to decide if the design feels right and if the message is on point.
So, my advice to companies in need of marketing services is look to the experts for input and trust their guidance. To those who think they know better, keep the feedback coming, but let me handle this for you, please.