On the bumper of my car is a sticker for the summer camp my step son attended last year.
Someone comes by, notices the sticker and asks me about it.
I raved about the place. Could recommend it highly enough.
The person takes my recommendation, goes to the website and signs her kid up.
Here's the question, at what point did the marketing occur?
The easy thing is to call the bumper sticker the marketing. For many that's all marketing is. It's the visual, it's the ad, it's the Facebook like, it's the retweet.
But of course I didn't rave about the place because the sticker was fancy. I raved about the place because they gave my son a great experience. The staff was great, the camp structure made a lot of sense, the fellow campers were awesome kids.
That's the marketing that matters. That's what spreads.
And of course, that's the hard part.
Bumper sticker design = Easy
Hiring and training camp staff = Hard
Most people use the endless fascinating with marketing tactics as an excuse to avoid the hard parts. It's way easier to sweat a blog post then it is to design an artistic experience worth seeing.
Now don't get me wrong, the tactics matter. You need to advertise effectively. You need to leverage social media.
Those things are necessary, but they are not sufficient.
The magic comes from pulling off the hard part. It comes from doing the work necessary to make something special.
Never forget that.