How Enlightened is Your Marketing Philosophy?
A marketing philosophy forms the fundamental foundation of your marketing efforts. What is the purpose of your marketing, and how does that understanding inform the strategy you incorporate to meet your goals?
Malaysian marketing operates in an environment framed by a wonderfully diverse nation, with equally diverse cultural foundations. So what kind of philosophy should influence our marketing? Do we take a customer-centric approach that finds enlightenment in the understanding of our audience, or embed a bold direct marketing strategy that believes the journey to moral victory is found only on a path of converted sales?
All this philosophy business can be a little puzzling. So let’s explore the beauty of some informed wisdom, with philosophical guidance of the most qualified kind. It’s time to get philosophical.
“Isn’t it a pleasure to study, and practice what you’ve learned?” Confucius, Analects
The opening words of Confucius’ seminal text, Analects, is an equally powerful statement today as it was centuries ago. Marketing, like all callings, should be about taking pleasure in our skills and learning, and informing our efforts through that expertise.
On one hand this refers to the continuing need for marketers to stay up to date with the latest industry knowledge. On the other hand it encapsulates the power of understanding our customers, studying our potential audience to help inform the marketing efforts that we deliver.
That means on a practical level that we should learn to take pleasure from learning, and take pleasure from engaging what you have learnt in your marketing efforts. It’s also sometimes nice to show off to everyone that you actually know how Google Analytics works.
“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom.” Laozi, Tao Te Ching
Understanding your audience is vital for effective marketing, but true wisdom is found in knowing yourself. Without an understanding of your own fundamental brand story, alongside your key products and offerings, how can you truly be considered ready to connect with your customers?
Modern marketing should be built on valuable conversations. By understanding what it is that you’re representing, you’re far better positioned to offer that value to your audience. Start your marketing efforts by asking yourself whether you truly understand what it is you’re trying to offer to other people, because only then will you be able to excel in doing so.
“Only an utterly senseless person can fail to know that our characters are the result of our conduct.” Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics
Aristotle may well have been speaking of the character of individuals, but this philosophy is equally applicable to the characters of our brands.
The way in which we conduct ourselves as businesses is now an essential part of good marketing practice. Brands must increasingly be aware of the need to conduct themselves as responsible corporate citizens. 62% of Malaysians would be more likely to recommend a brand that gives a portion of profits to charity, and similar studies show that corporate social responsibility has a significant positive effect on Malaysian’s purchasing decisions.
Don’t be senseless. Apart from upsetting Aristotle (it’s ok, he’s 2,000 years too late to give you a telling off now) you’ll also upset your audience. Be the better brand.
“In order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life, to doubt, as far as possible, of all things.” René Descartes, Principles of Philosophy
The renowned French philosopher may have been born at the end of the 16th century, but there’s a strong argument that he’d heard about the internet in advance.
His lofty Principia Philosophiæ explored Decsartes’ theories of metaphysics and natural philosophy, but it also raised an important consideration for our understanding of the world. We should always be careful in seeking the truth, to leave open the question of doubt.
This philosophy can be particularly relevant in certain elements of content marketing, where research often leads us to exciting and engaging ‘facts’ regurgitated throughout the internet. Make sure you question what you learn, and understand the basis of truth behind it before using that information to inform your own marketing efforts.
“I think therefore I am” – Descartes – bonus round
A bonus round fact for Descartes is that he’s the original source of the famous ‘I think therefore I am’ statement which haunts philosophy. His (much more nuanced) argument is that our existence could be based on some cosmic jest by an evil demon, and as such the only thing we can truly know is our own existence.
If that’s true, it rather undermines all the other advice I’ve been giving you, but it does mean if you just think really, really hard, you might get that promotion you were after. Unless the demon doesn’t want you to. Sorry.