Marketing and advertising…huh?

Do you ever cringe when you have to select a drop down box?  Maybe it is the age range and you have now been bumped into the next age group…that is a bummer.  But, honestly, my worst nightmare is when I am asked for my career category or to indicate specific expertise within the broad (and largely misunderstood) world of “marketing”.  This makes me crazier than moving up in an age category!

I enjoy the challenge of being an evangelist for marketing.  I am ok with explaining to CEOs and presidents of companies that marketing is not a project that can be done for 2 weeks and be checked off the list.  I am fine with explaining to engineers that launching a commercial product at an event at the end of January will take more effort than the requested “create some graphics”, a PDF and get an email blast out the door.  In a sick sort of way, I enjoy carrying the “why marketing matters” banner:  chipping away with examples and analogies to help others understand where marketing fits in to grow their business on an ongoing basis.

What I don’t understand is the random categories that are developed to put us marketers in a box!  I have found marketing as a subcategory within the main category of Human Resources in one such crazy drop down box list that the state created.  Instead of beating my head against a brick wall, I emailed the responsible group explaining that if marketing companies were going to be interested in working on state projects, it was not encouraging to be categorized as part of HR and also was highly unlikely that companies seeking marketing services companies would find them buried within the HR category.  No response on that email.

So what got me on this soap box today?   I was quickly doing some updates on LinkedIn and added a service on the FMM company listing.  As I added the new service, LinkedIn prompted me to select the category that this service fit into.  The only relevant choice was:  ‘marketing and advertising’.  Huh?!  LinkedIn has many marketing professional groups.  I find many of the groups interactions to be thought-provoking and relevant.  How can we get LinkedIn to “GET” that marketing and advertising is not a category of services?  Why is one specific marketing element (‘advertising’) being called out over any other potential marketing element that may be relevant in executing marketing?  If they want to list subcategories under marketing, great but advertising does not belong at the same level in the category listing.

Ay yi yi.  Tonight, I am again reminded that I view marketing broadly.  I raise my banner higher as to why marketing matters and why I will continue to work on evangelizing what marketing is and why it really matters. Look out LinkedIn!


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