I’ve spent my entire career (save for a few painted houses) in businesses allied with selling; mostly advertising, marketing and brand strategy. For 8 months I worked at an education technology company. Not only did I have to learn the products and services of the company, I had to learn the language and culture of the people who bought and used them: teachers and administrators. Taking it a step further, because that’s what planners do, I wanted to also understand the needs of the teacher’s customers: the students, parents and communities. I did a really deep.
My education in education changed my outlook on marketing. It changed my outlook on selling. You see, there is a difference between selling and buying. We sell so people buy — but they don’t always. Similarly, there’s difference between teaching and learning. Students are taught but don’t always learn.
If you are teaching and the kids aren’t learning, are you really teaching? If you are selling and the consumers aren’t buying are you selling? When the answer is no, marketers often change their ad agency or hire a business consultant.
I’m here to suggest, if you are selling and consumers aren’t buying, you have a brand strategy problem. Brand strategy at it’s most foundational level identifies what a brand (company) is good at and what its customers care-about. With this information in hand, learning begets buying.