​​The myth of “with zero marketing”

Marketing constantly, and practically inevitably, suffers from attribution problems at all scales.

Occasionally, someone I’m considering doing business would tell me more about their business’s momentum, and snarkily add, “Oh, and we did all of this without marketing!” The savvier ones pretend that they’re embarrassed about it. 

(They’re not. It’s a brag.)

The main problem with this is they’ve put a veil over their own eyes. 

Typically, marketing is defined as 4P’s:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Placement
  • Promotion

Like everybody else, marketers are also suckers for alliteration, so we add in words like:

  • Platforms
  • Positioning
  • Publicity

The second an entrepreneur or business leader even considers starting a product, or an end customer, they’ve already started marketing. So are the following activities:

  • Deciding how to describe your product
  • Talking to a prospective customer about your product
  • Assessing a product’s potential competition

They might’ve done all of this without spending a dollar of paid acquisition, or hiring an agency, or pitching for publicity. Those are specific promotional marketing activities.

Nothing is done with zero marketing.

It might have felt organic (unintentional), it might’ve felt natural and easy (not deliberate), and it might’ve not felt like promotion. 

Even though it didn’t feel like marketing, it was. It’s only fair to attribute it as such, and it becomes much easier to scale, once you recognize it for what it is. It’s marketing. Nobody does anything with zero marketing.

Sometimes, it’s helpful to think of what to do next in marketing practically as an extension of what you’ve already been doing.

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