Growing up, my Dad was my biggest role model. He was, and still is, a B2B Marketer for the Japanese IT conglomerate, Fujitsu.
In my young teens, I used to be incredibly envious that he would take weekly trips down to London to enjoy expensive lunches and dinners with his clients. Back then, marketing certainly sounded like a dream job. I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy great food, meet new people and get paid for doing so?
A decade or so later, and after three years of studying marketing and five years gaining practical experience in the area, the reason my Dad attended the fancy lunches and dinners has become much clearer to me. I’ve come to realise that marketing, in essence, is relationship building. Businesses need to build relationships in order to find customers to buy their products or services. Because, without paying clients, you have no business.
The best businesses apply relationship building to every single thing they do. Whether it’s holistically viewing the customer journey to work out ways to improve every touchpoint the customer has with the brand (with the aim of turning them into brand advocates), working on building partnerships or relationships with journalists and influencers (who can then positively share the brand’s story with a larger audience), or maybe it’s employee advocacy – treating staff well and building a strong relationship with them so that they work hard to help achieve the business’s goals.
To summarise, in my opinion, marketing is relationship building and the most successful businesses are those that understand the importance of building relationships over time, and aren’t out to make a quick buck with a simple, short term approach.