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When you think about marketing, what comes to mind? Is it merely the dictionary definition of providing goods or services to meet customer needs? Or something much more?

Although on the surface, the field of marketing is to meet customer needs through the provision of goods and services, it is a sophisticated and still evolving professional field that integrates many synergistic activities together to bring about the desired end results for both sellers and buyers.

These activities can include promotional activities that would stimulate the selling process, such as advertising, direct marketing, events, public relations, social media, mobile apps, research, etc.

Beyond tactical activities, sound marketing should really be about creating a strategy that would not just propel a product/service into the market with excitement and attraction that would immediately engage the buying interests of consumers, but would sustain the company, its brands, products and services for the long haul.

After all, a company is not a temporary project, but something that deserves sufficient longevity, if at least to lend traction to its brands, imprinting some degree of permanence in consumers’ minds and hearts.

The word “strategy” is derived from the Greek word “strategia”, which means “the office/command of a general”.

Therefore, when you think of a general commanding a sizable army, you know at once, a general thinks through his plans that would protect the territorial rights and privileges, cater to the immediate needs of his people and those he protects, as well as cater to the farther needs of the population. In short, a sound strategy is a continuous program that protects and nurtures the entire timeline of existence from the “now” to the “far future”. It is not a transient or temporary fix.

Recently, there have been industry commentaries about the proliferation of online advertising. Worse, there are also emerging reports of the lack of clarity that may affect online advertising on social networks (source: BBC). To some marketers, online advertising through various online platforms (whether search engines or social media channels) can be a short-term fix to bringing awareness to their products and services. However, as we read from various media commentaries, it becomes clear that online advertising is NOT a strategy – it is merely a tactical approach, and sometimes, not necessarily even the most effective one, or at all. Online advertising must be part of a greater strategy and program, not the panacea to end all marketing.

To bring about positive mindshare in the market for your brands, products or services, consider FIRST, the need for expertise to crystalize a strategy (whether inhouse, or a field-tested consulting partner) that would bring about sustainable positive change for your brands, products and services. This is not just about publicity and marketing campaign strategies, but can entail business plans, elevator pitch preparation, market research, branding and positioning, audio-visual presentations, etc.

You are a business owner, or you are a rising star in your organization. No single platform or tactic can solve the entire marketing puzzle for you. You are looking at a successful expedition, not a brilliant spark that fizzles out the next second.

PS – Some interesting articles to read (Forbes, Mashable, BBC, and the Atlantic).