For a lot of people, “marketing” is a difficult concept to grasp. It’s not their fault. It’s easy to conflate and confuse marketing, advertising and public relations. For the record, let’s compare this to fishing. The client is the fisherman. The prospective client is the fish. The advertising is the shiny lure – the bait. The pole is the media – online, social media, TV, radio, print. Marketing is the act of fishing itself. (To complete the analogy, PR would be telling fish stories.)

Marketing is, understandably, somewhat difficult to pin down, definition-wise. We like to think of it as strategic planning, that uses specific tactics (advertising and PR) to achieve a well-defined goal, such as increasing brand awareness, expanding reach, or going for the gold: increasing sales.

Some marketing firms go to great lengths to come up with elaborate processes and jargon to explain what they do. Frankly, we believe that’s counter-productive. It’s not our job to mystify, but to clarify. We prefer to bring our experience and skills to bear on your marketing challenges, and provide you with fresh perspectives in the form of innovative solutions.

Marketing is all about solving problems. Advertising is one tool that can be used to solve those problems. But wise marketers realize that there’s more than one way to solve a marketing problem, and advertising is a tool – not a be-all, end-all solution.

There’s a great story from a couple of years ago, when Tabasco launched a series of funny, intelligent and well-received television spots promoting their product. The ads got a lot of attention, both from consumers and from media critics, all of it positive. Sadly for Tabasco, while the ads did increase brand awareness, they didn’t solve the problem at hand – increasing sales. When the CEO was complaining about this failure to move the needle on the sales charts, the shop foreman asked him, “why don’t you just make the hole in the bottle bigger.” They did, and sales went up in the double-digits.

Advertising is a tool. Marketing is the process of knowing which tool to use.

We’ve been in the marketing business since the early 80s. We’ve gone from a world dominated by print and TV to one dominated by social media and mobile. But the central idea behind marketing remains the same – facilitating communication between you and your prospects.

The fact of the matter is, this should be common sense. But it’s not. We get it. And we’d like to share with you our approach to marketing – what we’ve learned is a novel idea.