This Place Has Rats. But They Will Be Gone Soon!

I know for a fact that for at least 30 years now, market textbooks and classes have made the distinction between marketing and advertising/promotion the first definition provided.  That has pretty much been a useless effort because people generally think of the terms as synonymous.

I don’t expect to move that needle much at all today, but I thought I would share a recent post Seth Godin made on the topic to get readers thinking about their own practices.

If an exterminator puts signs and banners in front of a fancy house when they’re inside killing rats, that’s promotion. But it’s not good marketing.

Marketing is creating the conditions for a story to spread so you can help people get to where they hope to go. Marketing is work that matters for people who care, a chance to create products and services that lead to change.

[…]

If you have to interrupt, trick or coerce people to get the word out, you might be doing too much promotion and not enough marketing.

I especially like this first illustration he uses. While it isn’t a universally applicable example of the difference, it does make the point that what is good promotion doesn’t necessarily create an environment that is in everyone’s interests.

In the same way, a message of “come see this show” is different from “this is a place that provides an opportunity to share experiences with family and friends.” The latter is part of a narrative about attaining what people aspire to rather than selling a single specific product.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.

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