Hi, I’m Dan, the Founder of Vivid Labs. This blog was deactivated in January 2022. Please read the Goldpan Report for my latest updates.

The Soul Of Marketing

At its very center, the act of marketing is innately human. It’s connection—relationships. But it’s easy to lose sight of that in the maelstrom of data and processes and the hunt for profit. Those are necessary elements of marketing, but they also drain the human part—the soul—out of it all.

Think of the best ads you’ve ever seen. They had this feeling of striking a chord, didn’t they? Maybe one is funny, maybe another is sad, and maybe another is thoughtful. But they struck a part of you that was deep and real and human.

That’s good marketing.

Bad marketing can’t do that. Because the people who created it didn’t imbue their campaign with any soul—any feeling. Maybe they got distracted by the soul-draining bits, or maybe they just didn’t know what they were doing. We see ads like this every single day in our Facebook feeds and on TV. Bad ads that, in some cases, turn us away from products rather than attract us to them.

Marketing permeates every part of a company, from accounting to legal (which is post in itself). It’s everything you do—how you appear is how you act, and not just you—everyone in your company. Ever have a bad customer service experience that had no connection to the customer service department? Maybe it was an overflowing trash can at a gas station (custodial jobs=marketing), maybe it was the slight attitude that the sales rep had on the phone call (sales=marketing), maybe it was the long line outside the bathroom of a restaurant (building maintenance=marketing). It doesn’t matter. Everything creates a perception of how you do what you do, and in the mind of the customer, that’s all that matters.

This can seem overwhelming to some. You think, “How am I supposed to manage the marketing angle on all of these divisions while I’m bogged down with managing those divisions anyway, or doing my own job?”

There are two answers to this. First, you can start to view your own job through the lens of marketing. What perception are you and the effects (positive and negative) of your work creating? How can you create a better perception on behalf of your company? Start there.

Second, if you are in the position of managing multiple divisions, start to ask hard questions about what perceptions those divisions create, both internally and externally to your company. If a particular division is toxic, people that work for your company are unhappy. And if that’s not enough of an incentive to fix it, then consider what effect unhappy people working at your company will have on your customer satisfaction.

Marketing is everywhere. How you interact with your customers, how your colleagues interact with one another, the way you pick up the phone, the way you empty the trash cans, the number of stalls in the bathroom—all of it. Marketing.

Marketing doesn’t exist in a silo or a department. Sure, it has operational elements that exist in a marketing department, but the most successful companies out there understand that in order to build a powerful and positive brand, good relationships and human connection have to exist everywhere.

Where is your business missing a marketing perspective? Where can you improve the perceptions that you’re creating inside and outside of your company?