Tag Archives: Marketing

I just looked up MARKETING on Wikipedia. I have a headache. Here’s what Wiki says;

Marketing is the process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of advertising campaigns; attendance at trade shows and public events; design of products and packaging attractive to buyers; defining the terms of sale, such as pricediscountswarranty, and return policy; product placement in media or with people believed to influence the buying habits of others; agreements with retailers, wholesale distributors, or resellers; and attempts to create awareness ofloyalty to, and positive feelings about a brand. 

That’s one sentence. It has one period, which comes after the late and singular appearance of the word “brand.”

Maybe we need something simpler and more memorable. How about this:  Marketing is an ARC:  The business of Acquiring, Retaining, and Cultivating CUSTOMERS.

Acquire:  Attract customers you don’t already have.

Retain:  Keep the customers you have, work to keep them satisfied.

Cultivate:  Grow spending and engagement from the customers you have.

What do you think?


It’s college-shopping season.  For high school seniors the clock is ticking.  Juniors are starting to realize this party’s not going on forever.  And so we parents of overscheduled teens must encourage our young scholars to visit colleges, to narrow down the field, to ask themselves “Where would I fit in?”

College MailAnd we must empty our mailboxes.  Because colleges like to mail stuff to high school students.

I don’t believe direct mail is dead, but I’m questioning it for the purposes of college recruiting. I wonder how much real direct marketing discipline is going on here:  the testing and measurement of multiple variables.  Customized messages.  Special offers.  Because it seems to me that we’re just getting “ads in the mail” at our house.  That’s not direct marketing.  That’s a waste of paper.  Especially when it’s mailed to teenagers, a group that loves to open and read paper mail about as much as they like to use their phones for talking.  They don’t.  And they don’t.

Smart marketing to this group is not easy.  The college prospect is a moving target:  A 17 year-old who rolls through the pipeline from junior to senior year in high school, visiting a few college campuses, listening to clueless peers, feeling nudged by parents and being forced to make a decision from hundreds of options with more propaganda than data, more emotion than logic, and a thousand distractions from the ACT to homecoming games to band practice.

Most universities have two marketing departments:  One in the business school full of Ph.Ds who teach marketing and publish heady research papers full of econometric models, and another that markets the school’s brand to prospective students.  You’d think an institution with two marketing departments and a big marketing budget could get marketing right.