I've seen some discussion lately of what 'good' and 'bad' marketing is. Why marketing is 'evil', etc. To me it comes down to this:
"Good marketing is any effort by a company/individual/association/etc to DIRECTLY satisfy the wants and needs of its customer"
I don't think it has to get any more complicated than that.
But the hitching point is that 'directly' part. Most marketers want to satisfy their OWN wants and needs directly, and let satisfying the customer be a byproduct. Turning it around and using your marketing as a tool to directly satisfy the wants and needs of the community takes a pretty big leap of marketing faith.
Very simple example: Tim recently posted on Daily Fix about his disgust at going to a local gas station, and being bombarded by ads from the gas pump as he was fueling up. The commercials were there to satisfy the gas station's wants and needs directly. The station knew that while Tim was fueling, he was a 'captive audience', so he HAD to listen to the station's commercial. And Tim knew it as well, and resented the station pushing commercials on him that he didn't want to hear.
Now on the other hand, I asked what would have happened if the station had instead offered free hand sanitizer at every pump? That directly solves a problem that many customers have, getting back in their car after filling up, with hands that smell like gas. And that have touched the same pump that thousands of other strangers have.
The commercials satisfy the station's wants and needs directly. The hand sanitizer satisfies the wants and needs of the customer directly. All other things being equal, which would make you more likely to give a gas station your business, free ads, or free hand sanitizer?
Satisfy your customer's wants and needs directly, and s/he will satisfy YOUR wants and needs INDIRECTLY.
The Viral Garden, Marketing