Setting Out Your Stall.
One of my interests is identifying the omissions within the PR biographies of successful individuals. Not everything is at it seems or as is claimed and omissions of lucky breaks and familial connections often hide real insights.
I was reminded of this while reading John Grant's latest book in which he refers to the brand bandwagon phenomenon by which advertising agencies take credit for building a brand that was already building by itself.
This goes to the heart of the myth that marketing is synonomous with advertising. If you need further proof, I've watched a local two-person business grow slowly by selling their clothes from their own store. After eighteen years, there was still no marketing department and not one advertisement had been run in print, radio or TV. But the turnover had risen to the vicinity of £100 million.
There had been much truth in the founder's gleeful description of seeing her first delivery van (stylishly furnished in the company colours) on the road and thinking it looked like a giant mobile shopping bag. Your retail outlet, be it physical or virtual (and everything that supports it) is a great marketing tool.
Indeed the more of the value chain that your business can isolate and/or commandeer, the greater the possibilities because it is under your control and is directly measurable. You're not shouting at amorphous crowds through mass media. You're whispering, enticing and listening and thus approaching a prolonged conversation with live prospects and actual customers.
Now not all businesses will have their own retail outlet, but they should act as if they do. Setting out your stall is what marketing is all about.