Marketing Basics: Maybe Not So Basic

A few (!) years back, during my very first semester as a full-time marketing professor, my friend, an attorney, invited me to join him at a presentation related to his career. My friend’s work involves partnerships with architects and construction companies and those were the people in attendance. The presentation was about how to market your business.

About an hour into the presentation, I thought that this material was so basic. What they covered in an hour, I would have shared with my students in about the first ten minutes. The audience must be so bored! How are they still awake and acting like they’re paying attention? This marketing stuff… everybody knows this stuff! Come on, let’s move forward!

On a piece of scratch paper, I wrote this question: “To this audience, do you think this information is:”. Then I drew a little line, with “old” written at one end and “new” at the other.

My friend placed a big fat X way beyond the “new” end of the scale.

Well open the book and shut my mouth!

Just because I teach something every semester, several times over, doesn’t mean everybody knows it.

I mean, I hope my past students do.

But not everyone does. Especially if they haven’t been taught marketing, or accounting, or sewing, or skating… you name it.

Everything you know is going to be new to someone.

That gives you a great responsibility. And a great opportunity.

And now I keep this in mind, especially at the start of a new semester. I acknowledge to my students that this may be the first, last, and only marketing class that they take. It’s my responsibility, my privilege, to teach them what I love about marketing.

In a way that matters to them.

In a way they will remember.

What do you think?

More on this tomorrow.