A few months ago I went to Southbank to celebrate my friend’s birthday. As we were walking down the strip, I saw a book stall. All of a sudden an idea/question came into my head for an article. I mentioned it to my friends and they said it was interesting. I thought to myself “Ok let me put this up on LinkedIn (my profile http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=221665836&trk=spm_pic) to see what other marketing professionals thought of my question”. So I did.
The question I put up in the Marketing Communication social group was this:
“Education is ‘the theory and practice of teaching’ ~ English Dictionary (Geddes and Grosset).
To be a good marketer you have to be a good teacher?”
There was a mixture of responses to this question; I have highlighted some of them below:
Marketing Communications Officer at Relay Monitoring Systems P/L
“I don’t believe so. Understanding your end user, what they want and what they need is much more important. Being in marketing isn’t about teaching, so much as it is communicating the positive aspect of the product and tailoring these to the end user”.
Living Benefit Deputy supervisor
“Education is marketing, marketing is Education: if you don’t understand the product you can’t make sale, selling is making the buyer or the end user see why he/she will buy so you will have to educate the person in a language he/she will understand”.
Independent Marketing Specialist
“If we view teaching as communicating ideas, then by all means. To a certain extent, part of the marketing strategy is to “educate” the target as to the value of the product/service provided.
Does this mean that all marketers must be capable of teaching? No. Marketing depts., are a team; some are teachers, others are researchers, data evaluators, etc. But at some point at least one teacher should emerge”.
All the responses were interesting and varied, but one response resonated with me. It was by Lionel Lyster, Director/ Consultant at Double LM Ltd. It was simply this.
“You also need to be a good student!”
Why did this resonate with me? Well, marketing is about identifying, anticipating and satisfying the customers need. In order to achieve this you have to KYC – Know Your Customer. In order to know your customer you have to use research, you have to study. So in a sense you do need to be a good student. For example when you are revising for an exam and the examiner is marking your paper they want to see what you have learnt; to see you are prepared, to see you have understood the question and answered it accordingly. They want to see you have showed initiative and gained knowledge. This is marketing. I’ll explain why.
Customers; new, old and potential want to see that an organisation knows what they want and how it matches their needs through the product and services that they provide. So, to identify and anticipate a customer need (as mentioned before) you have to be a student in the sense of you have do research. To satisfy a customer need you need to show them/educate them on why the product or service you provide matches their need.
Just like in life, everything is a learning curve and in learning we educate ourselves and others.
“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn” – Phil Collins