ON BEING A MARKETECT
The Brand Positioning Statement is the blueprint for the development of the brand and its franchise. Which got us to musing about who uses blueprints?
Architects! The word architect comes from the Greek word architektor, meaning “master builder.” Architects design structures and supervise their construction. Marketing is a lot like architecting. Instead of designing and supervising the construction of structures, marketers are creating and building brands.
The appellation “architect” is also used for one who plans and achieves a difficult objective. As such, we have our architects of foreign policy, monetary policy, etc. Similarly, marketers are often challenged to achieve difficult business and marketing objectives. The most important, yet difficult, challenge is occupying a position of prominence in the minds of customers to create a brand, leading to preference and even insistence by these same customers. So, shouldn’t we be called “marketects?”
“Marketects” is our name for master builders of brands. They accomplish this through strategic brand positioning and the practice of Power Positioning. It takes vision, skill and courage to be a marketect – characteristics not all marketing managers possess. There’s the run of the mill marketers. You know them. They use available information (in the form of market research) as a crutch for making decisions. They will use this same information to identify the largest existing segment in the marketplace and use it as the target for their marketing initiatives. In most cases these marketers overlook entrenched competitors, their companies’ capabilities, either emerging and/or unsatisfied customer needs, their products’ ability to capture these needs, and what it takes to bundle a brand. The result is failure to achieve the objective of creating and building a healthy brand for the long term. The market landscape is scattered with the bleached bones of these dinosaurs.
But the marketect is someone special. S/he takes in the marketplace landscape as it currently lies and creates a vision for a new structure built upon a creatively strategic positioning that spawns the development of a successful, power brand. S/he is then able to mobilize the organization (i.e., all available resource groups) to deliver the positioning (Power Positioning) so that the customer takes an entirely new perception of the marketplace that favors the development and growth of a master brand.
Who are the marketects of our current society? Who do you think? While we don’t know the names of all the people behind these master brands we’d nominate Starbucks (Howard Shultz), Disney (David Eisner), Federal Express (Fred Smith), Acuvue, Nike (Phil Knight), Wal-Mart
(Sam Walton), Home Depot, amazon.com (Jeff Bezos), and Tide (the Laundry Detergent), among others, as being born of marketects.
The marketect distinguishes her/himself from the marketers in a number of important characteristics, among which are:
1. They have a vision for something other than what exists. Something bigger than making products. They are not interested in preserving the status quo. They want to shake-up the marketplace, do and achieve things that others haven’t. (Nike)
2. They are market makers, creating new markets (or segments) as opposed to slogging it out within the confines of narrowly defined categories. (amazon.com)
3. They don’t market products. They market brands. Products are commodities in this “age of sameness.” But brands are made-up of a constellation of values, intangible as well as tangible, which forge a special relationship with customers. (Disney)
4. They are customer centric. They stay close to their customers and find new ways to satisfy their needs, emotional and rational. They anticipate emerging needs and rush customers’ head first into an awareness of those needs. They don’t just deliver a product. They deliver an experience. (Home Depot)
5. They use market research as an aid to, versus surrogate for, making decisions. In many cases the research will be qualitative versus quantitative. They are not afraid to trust their intuition or experiences. (Starbucks)
6. While advertising is important, they understand that there’s so much more to creating a healthy brand. They reflect the brand’s positioning in everything they do. (Wal-Mart)
7. They raise the bar making it difficult for competition to keep up with them. (Tide)
Being named a marketect is a distinction. It marks one as having accomplished something great in our world of marketing. It can lead to the development of a master brand and be so much more rewarding than being a marketer. Think of yourself as one. Reach for it.
BOATS & HELICOPTERS:
1. Find your models. A good place to start may be Advertising Age’s Power 50 (Marketers), or their listing of the top 100 brands, or even a walk through a mall. Become aware of highly successful brand stories and the factors leading to their successes. Borrow and apply their practices to your business.
2. Dust-off your brand positioning statement. (If you don’t have one, mobilize your brand team to create one!) Make it a vision. Use the models you’ve selected to inspire alternate brand positioning statements. You can lay-out these alternatives in the Positioning Matrix. (You can also download this tool from our Website www.bdn-intl.com).
3. Stoke your passion for creating. Dare to dream. Slay old paradigms. Develop and pursue “stretch” objectives. As Leo Burnett is quoted as saying, “If you reach for the stars at least you won’t come up with a handful of dirt.”
4. Be customer centric. Don’t rely on quantitative data. Get out into the marketplace. Find out what is in the minds, hearts and souls of your customers. Learn their attitudes. Discover their perceptions. Become a student of their behavior. Become one with them.
5. Get beyond the product you sell. Think and act brand. Deliver an experience. Establish, encourage, nurture, preserve a meaningful relationship with customers.
6. Adopt Power Positioning. Reflect your brand positioning in every element of your marketing mix, not just the advertising.
Richard Czerniawski & Mike Maloney