Marketing is a mindset, not a toolset

As a marketer in today's online-driven environment, one has countless tools at hand that can support customer acquisition, retention and engagement. However, is someone who knows tools automatically a good marketer?

Scott Brinker posted on his Chief Marketing Technologist Blog an incredible overview of the marketing technology landscape. Although not a comprehensive graphic, it shows the staggering number of 947 companies (!) that provide software for marketers. Of course, it is great to have such a wide range of tools, but also overwhelming.

(Click the image to enlarge.)

(Click the image to enlarge.)

It is certainly a challenge if not impossible to stay on top of all the latest software trends, even within one category. Although these tools are essential to be an effective marketer, they are only a means to an end.

Eventually, the objective is to identify target audiences, to establish communication channels, and to build strong relationships. This is what marketing is about.

Therefore, understanding the fundamentals first is key: market dynamics, customer needs and desires, value creation for both the company and the customer, these insights are the core of a competent marketer's mindset. And once this big picture is understood, marketing can become a very powerful force.

The big moment for tools comes after. They are the instruments to carry out specific tasks (email marketing, SEO,  online advertising, webinars, etc.) that realize customer acquisition, retention and engagement strategies. However, without the appropriate mindset, they just remain random tools with no direction.

Marketing is a way of thinking and not the knowledge of how to use tools. It takes a few days to familiarize oneself with a new tool, but it takes years to develop the mindset that is able to truly connect with markets and customers. Therefore, use software tools for marketing campaigns and activities, but also keep in mind that they are only as good as the person using them.