What Is Marketing? – GlowIndex
Marketing is a powerful business tool, some would argue it’s the most important. It’s essential for bringing in sales, helping you enter and thrive in the saturated markets we live in today. A business without marketing… isn’t really a business.
Let’s familiarize ourselves with the Marketing Concept. It states, businesses should analyze the needs of their customers, and then make decisions to be able to satisfy those needs, better than its competition. Well that makes logical sense, how else would we expect businesses to make money?
In fact, the Marketing Concept as we know it began its uphill trend after World War II. There was more discretionary income in the hands of consumers (and their families), allowing them to be selective about the products they choose to buy. This created the business model with customers as its centerpiece, serving them with the highest regard, creating a domino effect which positively affects the business. To name some benefits, it brings brand recognition & approval, and free marketing & acknowledgements from your customers to other potential customers. This means more sales, and a future for your business.
If we look at the 4 P’s of marketing, also known as the Marketing Mix, we can begin to visualize a marketing plan. The P’s are: (A) Product, (B) Price, (C) Place, & (D) Promotion.
(A) You need to make product decisions, this means Branding, Functionality, Styling, Quality, Warranties, Supports and Accessories and Services for up-selling. What can you do to your product to obtain (more) market share?
(B) You need to be able to price effectively. With a strategy, bundling opportunities, any price discrimination you may implement, types of payments, and much more. What can you do when selling your product to convince your customers to buy?
(C) You need to be able to distribute your products. This means creating or joining distribution channels, having inventory management, warehouses, order processing, and much more. How can i distribute to get more customers to buy, and how can i adjust it to increase my margins?
(D) Promotion of your products. You need to be able to advertise, have sales promotions, public relations, promotional selling and most importantly, the budget for the previous criteria to work efficiently. Where and how can i promote to reach my target customers, whilst realizing a profit? (Large startups will forego a profit to capture market share early on).
The 4 P’s is rather old-school, but it’s a simpler, logical model to which you can add your own unique preferences and strategies to make your own marketing model. This is very true in today’s world, with all promotions and competition taking place.
But this Marketing Mix is for products, what if i have a service?
Fear not, it is nearly the same, just gotta add some sparkles.
In addition, you have (E) People, (F) Process, & (G) Physical Evidence. A.K.A The Sparkles!
(E) People make your company. An IT company can only be as good as its software engineering team, a restaurant can only be as good as its Chefs and Service staff. Hire good people, and watch them help you grow your business.
(F) Create a process for which your customers will enjoy. To be able to keep quality of the service consistent, and delivering it on time will put you ahead of the curve. A prime example would be McDonalds. You know the quality of the food will always be the same, and it’ll always take the same amount of time to complete, so there is less uncertainty and higher customer satisfaction. Be in your customer’s shoes, find out what they want and they’ll come to you.
(G) Physical cues are important to your customers. The more lavish the more they’ll be drawn to it. As as service company, you might not have any physical products, so physical evidence may be lost to you. However, it is not your service & product, but how you represent it, indirectly. Customers will use any type of visual cue to differentiate between similar services from different companies. Does Company A have a bigger waiting room? Must have more customers, or higher customer satisfaction. Does Company C have a flat screen TV in their waiting room? Restaurant XYZ has better looking chairs on this photo than restaurant ZYX. So on, and so forth.. Presentation of your work is sometimes more important than the work itself.
Essentially, people and processes are what make a service company (particularly). It’s what differentiates you from your competitors, and makes your customers want to use your services.
Now, these 7 Ps laid before you provide a story, and you’re the narrator, as the business owner. You have to look at each P and decide what is best for your business, and how it can improve it (if it can). These are tough decisions, but that is what being a business owner is about. Deciding, risking and moving forward with what you have learnt.
But out of all of these Ps, there is a mistake that is done consistently in all markets, more so from newer businesses, Promotion.
When promoting, rather.. when starting a new type of promotion, business owners tend to give up pretty early when they don’t see results. That’s a mistake, a grave one at that. Consistency is a requirement, grinding through it month after month. That’s when you’ll be able to achieve results, and be able to evaluate the true effectiveness of your marketing efforts, adjusting where necessary.
A rule of thumb to success? Consistency. It is the key for everything, be it marketing, sales, content, social media, even down to your morning routines.
You may definitely hear success stories from other business owners about how they got X amount of Facebook followers. Perhaps so and so re-tweets, with customers interacting with their brand. Business owners think it’s a great idea (which it is), and then they try it out for a while, don’t get results, wonder why they don’t get results and stop. It’s a process, you have to play the long game!
You need to commit, and you need to have a well crafted marketing plan to commit to!
As a business, imagine consistently exposing your business (even if it’s a good ol’ brick & mortar store) on a Content Publisher’s website, which is popular in your region, with articles and topics related to your business, would you want to?
*cough* Would you want to put it in your marketing plan with your other types of advertising? (One is never enough)
I mean, such an opportunity has its benefits, and i implore you to take the Journey, but only if you’re consistent and want to gain significant results over the long run, otherwise your results will just be marginal, and who wants marginal results?