True confession – I used to think marketing was a load of BS.

Yep, before I got into content and inbound marketing, I was an editor. Marketing to me was an endless barrage of crappy email pitches and product press releases.

My job as an editor was to separate the wheat from the chaff to educate my readers. That’s exactly what I do now when creating content for clients – with the additional goal of also driving the audience to take an action.

I saw more than my share of bad marketing, brochure-ware websites and other marketing “strategies” focused on the glory of the vendor. 

Remember one of the cardinal rules of Spikey Katfish: No one cares about you. They care about how you can help them solve their business problems.

When you combine weak websites that are – at best – online brochures with another issue we see all the time – a lack of respect and understanding for marketing – your company isn’t reaching as many potential customers as is should.

I get it. Some of you reading this are hard-core sales guys. You know how hard sales is because you’ve done it or are still doing it. It brings in the money. 

Here’s the secret of inbound marketing – it can help bring in the money too, but you have open your mind to what marketing really is, not what you think it is.

Marketing Is Not a Leave Behind

marketing is not a brochure or leave behindI originally wrote most of this a few years back for Prospect Builder, the HubSpot agency I was with. We focused on creating inbound marketing strategy and campaigns for copier dealers.

I decided to dust it off and republish here because that perspective seems to be broader than the copier dealer space. In combing through freelance gigs lately, I’ve noticed quite a few look to combine design ability with the ability to think strategically, all while executing a marketing strategy with good tactics.

While there are some unicorns out there who can design and think strategically and run social media, blogging, and SEO campaigns; those are really separate areas of expertise and knowledge. And many aren’t going to be willing to lend their rare combo of skills for 40k/year and have to commute.

Design is a skill that I don’t possess. I can create some semi-effective images using Canva, Pablo, and maybe even some of those free infographic tools that are out there. But I’m not getting hired for my design chops.

I’ve worked with designers who can write, but their hearts were usually stirred by creating well-designed materials (magazines, books, infographics, ads, etc.).

I think there are too many companies who think “marketing” and think images (or, worse, advertising). They then want their marketing person to be able to create the pretty materials — and write them, create campaingns, monitor strategy, etc. If your idea of marketing begins and ends with a leave behind or brochure cobbled together by your marketing person, you’re making life harder for yourself. A side note: if you think just anyone can think strategically, you’re setting yourself for a world of pain and incoherent “strategy.” 

Marketing isn’t a brochure that quickly ends up in the trashcan. Seriously, how often do you save direct mail or fliers on your door?

Marketing is focused on assisting salespeople make sales. We do this by

  • Creating customer-focused content– blogs, infographics, tips sheets, videos, and more
  • Establishing your website as an always-on storefront, full of useful information and focused on your customer’s buyer’s journeywith content and calls to action designed to create leads for your sales team to follow up with
  • Ensuring there is a plan in place to market to customers beyond cold calling or radio ads

There’s a lot more – just like there’s a lot involved in being a salesperson.

Someone in marketing who only thinks their job is creating a brochure for you is the sales equivalent of someone who just takes orders. That’s not selling.

That’s not marketing.

A final thought about those brochures and leave behinds – if they give your salespeople a crutch and make them feel good, by all means use them because anything that boosts confidence is a good tool.

But if you think marketing ends with a printed piece of collateral, I encourage you to think about what you really want your marketing strategy to be — then think through the skills needed to implement that strategy.

Marketing is everything your customer touches and sees about you. When it comes to online presence, don’t you want to be more than a brochure no one reads?

Need help creating your content marketing strategy and/or content? Drop me a line at, reply below, or give me a call (or text, text is better, what with all the phone spam) at 301-275-7496.

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