When George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch appeared in 1871-2, it “was a commercial and critical success.” Subtitled “A Study of Provincial Life” the novel presents a fictitious English town Middlemarch as the setting for an exploration of the interior lives of characters. Although set in the 19th century, these people could be your friends down the street today, so timeless are their concerns and shortcomings.
The novel is “above all about change and the way individuals and groups adapt to, or resist, change. In their marriages, in their professions, in their family life and their social intercourse, the characters of the novel are shown responding in their various ways to events both public and private.” (Introduction to Penguin Classics Edition 2014 Rosemary Ashton)
It is because of the novel Middlemarch that this blog is named Marketingmarch. The connection is this:
Marketing is the study of life—with a particular goal in mind.
For a business, the goal is to sell a product or service. For a professional person, to find fulfilling employment. For the non-profit, to attract benefactors. For the student, to gain admission to college. For the artist, to gain patrons and sell work. For the individual—the regular person—to understand human behavior in order to get what she wants, from the existential to the mundane: happiness, gratification, a new friend, a smooth transaction at the store.
A key element of marketing is about reducing friction, breaking down barriers between you/a product/service/cause and the customer/reader/user/donor. We do this by understanding how the transaction and relationship works.
We all use marketing whether we recognize it or not.
At the core of these examples is the need to understand a situation in order to navigate it. Eliot offered us a novel that was a study of how provincial life worked. Her goal was to offer universal truths that enlighten us. As with all great fiction, these truths teach us about our own lives and actions.
Just as Middlemarch was a made-up name, so too Marketingmarch is a made-up word. Each embodies the poetic truth of the mundane, the way in which understanding the most elemental aspects of humanity enables us to be better.
The concepts behind modern marketing aren’t just for big corporations.
But because many of these ideas are trapped in dense books, secreted away behind the doors to marketing departments, or shrouded in murky language, I offer this blog.
Pragmatically, this blog demonstrates how to use marketing ideas in every part of your life.
Marketingmarch — bringing marketing ideas to life (so you can use them).