I’m a believer that the market is always right.

This doesn’t mean that the market knows what it wants, nor that you don’t have to sell smart and hard, and often take huge, gut-directed leaps of faith to nudge it in your direction.

But it is the only proof that matters. It’s the playground where it all happens.

I’m a believer that marketers, at their best, are the practitioners of market dynamics. Their job is to understand that consumer behavior is the atomic element of any market, and the key behind every transaction. This is expertise and gut talent you need on your team.

Marketing, as a point of view and a mastery of skills, is often misunderstood and invariably butchered by definition.

What marketing does is simple to phrase–working the world from the market side in—but just plain difficult to do, and beyond challenging if you don’t have the DNA for it.

–>Marketers work the space between what customers feel they are buying and what the company thinks they are selling.

–>Marketing’s goal is connecting the right customer to your product in the most effective way at the most opportune time.

–>Marketing’s secret sauce is aggregating customers into groups, groups into communities, and communities into that ineffable broader market that really matters.

–>Marketers are obsessed with why customers should care enough about your product, your brand and your company, to share that connection.

–>Marketing knows that buying is an act of approval. Margins are a calculation, pricing as part of consumer value is market intuition.

There are scads of metrics that are used by marketing practitioners, many invaluable, though none of them matter at all if you don’t sell product and establish a brand with true customer value.

It’s a long journey to a black and white judgment as to whether marketing made it all come together. Most successful marketers are heroes or bums many times over in their careers for just this reason. The old Hollywood saying that every ‘movie executive will one day come to work and be fired’ could well apply to the marketing leader as well.

Marketing exists at the intersection of customer behavior, strategic intent, partnership with sales and product, and maniacal mastery of executional details.

If you limit marketing to execution alone, it will never be effective. It you remove it from tactics, it’s all just talk. If you are driven by anything other than getting customer behaviors in line with market intent, you are simply playing the odds. And if you don’t work hand in hand with sales and product, you will always fail.

It’s crazy stuff.

The intersection of soft sweeping strategies, deep value understanding, an infantry of special team skills and science, and hard visible tactics. But at the end–stuff either works or it doesn’t. Traffic pays off over time or it doesn’t. People come in the door with intent to buy or they don’t. Clever is stupid to many and funny is flat to more. And brilliant strategy at 20,000 feet doesn’t fill the sales funnel.

We judge marketing by countless data points daily–customer acquisition costs, buzz, lead counts, how the logo looks, brand value that drives a premium price—and the pride and joy that comes from a market that tips its hat to your product and brand behavior because you are a cut above.

It’s all about the obvious and what’s behind it.

Not simply about drawing customers to you (which of course you do), nor simply about pushing intent down the chute to the transaction (which we certainly do as well). Perfection can be mechanical, but it’s not what counts first. You can scale an undeniable core customer value by beating on a drum if that is all you have. But you can’t make people love you if they don’t.

It’s that’s simple.

The social web has invariably changed everything in our world including the gestalt of our markets and how we impact them. More profoundly than even the internet and basic ecommerce itself.

It’s evolved a new language for business communications. Handed the power baton to the customer and established socialization as the vernacular to how we market our products and manage our communities.

It’s a massive customer sandbox for product development and communications. And a place to play nicely with the market when you don’t really have all of your pieces in place. It’s made the unimaginable, possible.

It has also made us lazy and mistake activity as work at times.

The web, the social nets are not the market though they are critical ramps to it. Nor is social media the new marketing. Not in any way!

The web, although it has accelerated everything– including consumer evolution– is not the end game. The customer is, and they straddle the off and online markets naturally. So does marketing when it is cognizant of itself and its purpose.

There are people who are really skilled community managers, gifted mavens of the social channels, wordsmiths that wow us with how good we sound, scientists who dream SEO ratios and savant email strategists who are magicians at touching just the right person at the right time with a message that will get opened just when it should.

Every one of these activities will fail unless integrated into a coherent point of view. This can be discordance at a deafening din or perfection without self-awareness or soul.

Every one of these doesn’t matter unless they are strung together somehow under leadership that can orchestrate the nits and the message with the right cadence and crescendo.

Markets matter. In fact, as an aggregate of a possible consumer population, they are all that matters!

Marketing is the other side of the market coin. Inextricably intertwined.

It is the fabric of communications and connections that with lots of luck, creativity and deep craft, can take an idea and turn it into a household brand,  can make the elusive, the almost ineffable, tangible and a new market reality.