What the Heck is Marketing?
Have you ever asked this question to yourself: "What the heck is marketing?" Well, I totally have! I remember when I was a student in FIRST and I was working on the communications team. I understood what communications was, but honestly I really had no living idea of what the purpose was or all the different aspects to it: advertising, marketing, public relations, and branding. I had no clue some of those things existed and I didn't understand the purpose of them in robotics.
If you're like I was, you probably don't understand the point of it all, or you might not even ben interested in it. I get it, it's confusing and stupid sometimes. But let me tell you, it's extremely important to understand what these things are. If you want a kick-butt team that stands out from the rest, you'll want to know what these team. I would argue everyone needs to know these things. So, let's talk about marketing and how it applies to your FIRST robotics team.
What is Marketing?
To understand marketing, you first have to understand advertising. Advertising is simply a brief message that is repeated (and repeated, and repeated, and repeated) to anyone who will listen. An example of adverting in the world of FIRST comes from FIRST Team 1710, Ravonics Revolution's website. There team has a killer saying on their front page: "We don't just build robots, we build leaders." So good it makes you wanna jump out of your seat and say "YEAH BUDDY!" Well, at least that's what it does to me.
Their homepage and saying is advertising material. This is repeated over, and over, and over again to everyone who visits their website. That is an example of advertising. It's graphic content on anything you share with other teams or the public.
So what is marketing then? Marketing is a step further than advertising. Marketing caters to the people who actually want to listen to your message and want to know more about your team: your team's products, services, opportunities, etc. Marketing provides engaging content, pictures, video, and information about your team and what you do. It's tailored to a specific groups of people: like other FIRST teams, sponsors, the public, etc. So when teams effectively use marketing, they are creating specific content for their website, social media platforms, print material, and all other outgoing media for their unique audiences.
Marketing is a complicated beast no doubt. But I have faith your team can master it. If used in the right way, your team will become a rock star.