Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Your marketing concept, where to start

What marketing concept will you use to accelerate your results?

Your marketing concept is the central idea that connects all of your outreach, all of your messages and media. It’s designed to entice your best potential customers to buy.

Some companies may focus on being the lowest price in their category. Other’s might focus on one specific aspect of their product or service … think Domino’s Pizza who grew their business based on guaranteed speedy delivery in an era when lots of college students got the “munchies” regularly. Or BMW enticing a specific type of buyer by stating their cars are “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

In most definitions, a marketing concept is:

… the philosophy that firms should analyze the needs of their customers and then make decisions to satisfy those needs, better than the competition.  –netmba.com

Yet we can’t help but notice, a marketing concept and positioning could easily be the same thing. (a rose by any other name?) Positioning, in our view, is defining where you fit in your category based on blending who you are and what you offer with what your audiences want.

Learn more about positioning in this post.

Narrowly focused, a central idea (or position) will connect with your audiences

In today’s I-want-to-do-research-online-first world, getting super clear about that marketing concept, about your positioning and what you stand for, will drive whatever you do to market your goods and services.

How? Let me tell you …

  • Positioning will help you define what your audiences want that you provide. With that insight (it’s usually results or outcomes, not specific products or services), you can choose the right keywords and search phrases to fuel your SEO (search engine optimization). And really, today your SEO budget is as essential as your ad budget was a decade ago.
  • Your marketing concept will guide the focus for content–for your website, for social media, for emails and advertising. It’s your purpose, your reason for being, how you will take care of your customers. That concept  will knit all those different pieces together to reach and motivate your audiences.
  • Your positioning is expressed visually and verbally. Together those images, colors and messages make up your brand, the glue that holds all of your marketing together, at a glance.

These old ads show how important it is to appeal to current viewpoints

Take a look at these vintage ads. Scary, yes?

You can see how concepts that were once appealing are now offensive. The marketing concept that inspired these ads no longer fits. In fact, we may find it hard to believe they were ever relevant because they’re so contrary to our worldview today.


It’s hard to believe now, but once the marketing concept for cigarettes was they were good for your health!


Not only is this sexist in today’s view, it’s so not attractive! How could anyone think smoke in their face is sexy?

Once upon a time, the marketing concept for cigarettes was they were healthy, and recommended by doctors. And a bit later blowing smoke in someone’s face was also considered attractive, sexy and manly.

Hmmm … not so much anymore!

Then there were the ads focused on keeping women happy as they cleaned and cooked for their husbands. Giving them new gadgets was considered a reward, a treasured gift, something to appreciate.


Women today would be insulted by an ad to keep “the little woman” happy this way.


Of course that’s what wives are for, to cook and clean! Horrifying now, but just fine then.

That’s a marketing concept that no longer works. In fact, many women today, unless they asked for it specifically, would be insulted by a gift of a new vacuum cleaner or mixer.

Yet just a few decades ago, these ideas were mainstream, accepted as fitting and appropriate.

Your marketing concept must appeal to today’s audiences. Your messages must relate to what they think is important, why they want what you offer. Focus on benefits instead of features. Appeal to their sensibilities, their worldview.

Remember, it’s always about your audiences. They’re not buying a drill, they’re buying the hole it makes. Your marketing concept must be built from your audiences’ point of view, not yours.

They care about what they get, not what you sell

Once you’ve defined your positioning, your marketing concept, organize around that central idea.

Many companies have achieved huge success through their focus on a single idea, a position they can hold in the minds of their customers.

Federal Express built a ginormous business driven by “absolutely, positively overnight.” Apple built on the positioning of “think different” to separate the company and their products in every way–from advertising to packaging to elegant ease of use–from the “standard” PC.

Don’t go the way of “cigarettes are healthy” or “keep the wife happy with something to help her cook and clean.” Look at the marketing concept you can own in the minds of your target audiences. The positioning that will set you apart. The central idea to organize your business and brandng around.

What do you want people to know? What do you want your best customers to say after they’ve bought from you? Start there. You can also download our positioning worksheet below. Then talk to us. We’ve dug deep for many clients to reveal a marketing concept to reach new audiences and build their bottom line.

Download the positioning worksheet

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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