Constant Contact will not make you a marketer

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I’m annoyed by an advertising campaign currently being run by Constant Contact.

“Be a Marketer” their headline promises.  “All it takes it Constant Contact email marketing.”

That’s what Constant Contact provides, systems for targeted mass emailings. Most of their customers are small businesses and non-profit organizations. If you receive an email newsletter from your local veterinarian or public radio station, there’s a decent chance it came through Constant Contact.

Constant Contact is not evil. They’re one of the most respected and credible vendors for email promotion tools. Promotion is a key component of successful marketing for any organization, and especially public and social sector groups.

What I’m annoyed by is Constant Contract simplifying marketing down to just email promotion.

The definition and universe of marketing is far broader than just one method and channel of promotion, as I strive to show in this blog. Ignoring that broader universe does a disservice to the market of people that Constant Contact works hard to help. Those people need assistance with design and distribution and pricing and all the other aspects of marketing aside from promotion.

On the other hand, I’ve been intrigued lately by the marketing moves of another company that provides software to small businesses.

Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks and Quicken financial software, recently announced that it is selling its Quicken division. Quicken is the personal finance program that put Intuit on the map. Microsoft once offered to buy Intuit based on the strength of Quicken.

Intuit has decided to focus their efforts on the small and medium business market that they serve with QuickBooks, a very successful accounting program. Now I often hear ads for QuickBooks Connect, their educational and motivational conference for small businesses, accountants and developers.

What I admire is Intuit doing the good, hard marketing work of focusing on their core market, doing the research, design, pricing, distribution and promotion work to fully understand and serve that market. That takes discipline, that takes guts, that takes vision and dedication. I like that.

Two organizations, both serving small businesses with software, both intimately tied to one of the core functions of marketing and yet taking very different approaches to embodying marketing. We’ll see who comes out ahead with their respective choices.

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