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Marketing is LOVE

(Business Mentor Notes: Wilfrido V.E. Arcilla is the founder of a Marketing Consultancy and Training firm called the “Asia- Pacific Branding Clinic”. He has 30 years of corporate experience with US Fortune 500 companies and Philippine conglomerates across the Asia-Pacific Region. He is a recipient of the prestigious Agora Award for Marketing Excellence in Asia-Pacific from the Philippine Marketing Association.)

The formal definition of Marketing is that it is the business or activity of promoting products and services, including research and advertising. However, if we trace the etymological origin of the word “Marketing”, it actually originates from the Latin root “Mercatur” meaning “To Buy” – not “To Sell”. This implies that effective marketing must always put the consumer and customer, the client and the prospect at the center of the business. Everything begins and ends with the buyer.

As a leading sales consultant admitted in a workshop, “Nobody likes a salesman, but everybody likes to buy.” So why do we insist on hard-sell tactics, if we can invite and entice consumers to buy our products and services? This is the essence of Marketing and its difference with Selling.

But people do not buy products or services. They buy brands. In fact, they do not just buy brands blindly, but they buy the benefits “promised, proven or possessed” by their own preferred brands. So every brand must strive to own a benefit that is important, specific and unique vs. its major competitors. This is the crux of a brand’s positioning, its DNA, core essence or brand equity.

Therefore, the $64 question of every consumer which every marketer needs to answer is so simple (not complex) yet so difficult (not easy). “Why should I buy?” “Why should I switch?” “What’s in it for me?” “What’s the BENEFIT?” Now BENEFIT originates from the Latin root word “BENE-FACERE” literally “GOOD-TO MAKE” meaning “to make or do what is good for someone”.

On the other hand, the concept of LOVE is not just about filial, fraternal or even intimate love between a couple, but to “will and do what is good for others”. Therein lies the nexus between MARKETING which is all about solving consumers’ problems or answering their question, “What’s your brand’s BENEFIT?” and LOVE which is to will and do what is good or BENEFICIAL to others.

Indeed, there are countless examples of branding and marketing campaigns here and abroad that have effectively capitalized on the concept of LOVE to build brand loyalty across a wide spectrum of industries – in travel and tourism, books and movies, TV programs and Radio stations, sports and music, food and beverages, dining and desserts, personal and household care, medicines and hospitals, housing and appliances, fashion and retail – and yes, even among competing brands.

Of course every marketer can now include LOVE in their slogan or even brand name, but the real test will be in how we can satisfy and delight, if not exceed the expectations of our consumers. They are the ultimate judges as to whether we fulfill our promise of offering what is good for them or we are just paying lip service. Love after all is not just a 4-letter word, but also a promise to be kept.

The Aristocrat Restaurant is arguably the oldest and most historic restaurant in the Philippines having recently celebrated its 75th Diamond anniversary. Known as the home of the best chicken barbecue in town, their store managers proudly volunteer that their secret lies in their recipe, starting with the use of the best ingredients and the famous sauce. Yet when you ask the direct descendants of Aristocrat’s founder Engracia “Lola Asyang” Reyes, they confide that the single

most important ingredient is LOVE. No matter how superior the quality of ingredients or how special the process; if there is no LOVE, it will never taste as good. Nowhere is this best captured than in the statement of Lola Asyang herself that “Our customers are like my own children.”

Fast forward to 2015. My family recently returned from an overnight stay in Baguio, the city of pines, where we sampled the #1 restaurant recommended on trip advisor – AMARE whose unique selling proposition is wood fire brick oven pizza made with fresh chewy dough. When I asked the manager for their secret to success, a middle-aged lady behind the counter replied without hesitation, “Pagmamahal sa pamilya at empleyado, sa kusina at pagluluto at sa mga customer.” She turned out to be Mrs. Edna Bustos, the mother of the owner Mr. Edmark Bustos. AMARE means LOVE in Italian and AMARE indeed is the BENEFIT they offer to their growing list of patrons.

Not only can LOVE be found in the bricks and mortar business, but also in the high-tech world. At the recent launch of Windows 10, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was quoted to have declared, “We want to move from people needing Windows, to choosing Windows to loving Windows.”

Google Philippines revealed the top subjects searched by Filipinos for 2015 and foremost were three people who captured the hearts of 100 Million Filipinos – Pope Francis I, who showed he is not just the Pope of Mercy and Compassion, nor even just Pope of the Poor, but he is truly the Pope of LOVE. Most of all, we were all transfixed over the unfolding, true-to-life LOVE story between Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards, turning us all into a love struck ALDUB Nation.

We have all heard the dictum that Marketing is all about building brands, but underneath brand- building, marketing is about owning a BENEFIT for your brand, and even beyond owning a benefit for your brand, marketing ultimately is making your brand a BLESSING to consumers and society.

Turn your product or service into a Brand. Let your Brand offer an important, specific and unique Benefit. Transform your Brand to become a Blessing for consumers. Marketing therefore is LOVE for your consumer, and your consumer’s LOVE for your Brand in return. As in all LOVE STORIES, it will take a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, perseverance and patience, and selfless LOVE.

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