At the end of the previous chapter, the author, Marc J. Kuchner, promised to provide his definition of marketing. As a science nerd, he likes to call it the “Fundamental Theorem”.
Everything you get from other people comes because you met someone else's needs or desires.
Or to put it in broader terms:
Marketing is the craft of seeing things from other people's perspectives, understanding their wants and needs, and finding ways to meet them.
The author soon struggles with the notion:
Some people may find it intuitive, but I was impressed over and over by how much of marketing I found bewilderingly nonintuitive-at least from my scientist's perspective
The author then explains at length what he means by “seeing things from other people's perspectives” by describing the business of a cinema venue, and how different your concerns and expectations might be whether you are the tenant or a patron. But obviously, this is not enough to convince all of his colleagues, one of whom eventually snaps:
In other words, there's no such thing as altruism, approximately
Ouch. But here again, there is another way of telling the story... Yet another perspective:
But consider this: taking the fundamental theorem to heart pushes you to think about the needs, desires, yearnings, and dreams of your fellow human beings. There's nothing cold or selfish about that.
So... Marketing is about understanding what people really need and want. Big deal... When you are a scientist, you have no product to sell, and obviously cannot address any of the fundamental human needs, having placed yourself, by choice, at the wrong end of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
You will need to work a little harder to show the people around you why your work is important. This is the subject of the next chapter.
Category: science communication
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