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What is marketing, really?

If you asked a group of random people what marketing is you would probably get a variety of answers from them. Some would say that marketing is doing advertising such as print ads, direct mail, and television commercials to get new clients or business. Others would say that marketing is going to networking meetings, passing out business cards, or offering special promotions through their website or email newsletters. And still, others would say that marketing is just what you do to get sales.

And while none of these definitions is wrong per se, through my many years in business as a massage therapist, spa owner, and business/marketing coach and consultant, I’ve come to see things differently. In my mind, these definitions – alone or combined – along with other traditional descriptions of marketing, are too narrow and incomplete. In fact, over the years, the way I think about, describe, and teach marketing has evolved and expanded tremendously.

Would you like to know more? Drum roll, please…

I believe that marketing is much more than the things you do to promote yourself or your business to your clients and prospects. It is literally made up of EVERYTHING that "touches" your clients or prospects and causes them to want to do business with you for the first time, the next time, or the LAST time. And in some cases, your marketing will cause people to not want to do business with you at all. This is what I call anti-marketing or being “closed for business.”


The initial and ongoing marketing touches or impressions that reach clients can make your business and balance sheet wildly successful if delivered well. But when they aren’t, the time, money, and energy spent on traditional marketing and advertising efforts can be completely wasted. I don’t know anyone who would be happy with that outcome, do you?

Some quick examples of basic marketing touches that can really sway a prospect to try your business or return to it:

  • An easy-to-find, open, and navigate website

  • A receptionist who seems unrushed or distracted while taking calls

  • Clean, well-stocked bathrooms or locker rooms

  • An invitation to reschedule

These may not seem like marketing vehicles at first glance, but as far as I am concerned, anything that makes a client happy or comfortable enough to spend money with a business is definitely a part of marketing. And believe me when I say there are plenty of prospective clients who will decide not to patronize you if one of the “touches” that matters most to them is out of whack.

To summarize, if marketing is about getting and keeping more clients, appointments, or sales, then anything and everything that increases the number of clients, appointments or sales in your business should be considered part of your marketing. Simply put, I call it Every Touch Marketing and encourage you to make “every touch” positive.

I'll do my very best to make what you read in this blog - whether about marketing, business, or life - positive!


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