What is Marketing and How It Can Empower You to Grow Your Business?
Marketing is the process of building relationships with prospects and customers. It is a medium by which businesses create customer interest in their products or services. Marketing is an umbrella term covering branding, PR, advertising, direct response, promotions through multiple channels, loyalty, demand generation, etc. Simply put, marketing is the strategy to get potential buyers interested in your products and/or services. This should answer your question – What is marketing?
Through marketing, your customers get to know the value of your products or services and how they can be useful to them. Effective marketing strategies for small business can revolutionize your business. So, whether you’re in the process of launching a new business or already have one, having a strong brand marketing strategy in place is extremely important.
What is sales and marketing?
There is a subtle difference between marketing and sales. Marketing is an umbrella term, of which ‘sales’ constitutes only a part.
In sales, your job is to recognize multiple marketing steps to convince the customers to buy the products and/or services from you, rather than from your competitors. It focuses on relationship building with potential buyers as the most important activity. Sales activity hinges on this transactional relationship with customers to achieve sales goals.
Marketing, on the other hand, is more process-oriented, and has a long-term approach. Marketing involves identifying consumer needs and creating products and/or services that meet those needs in a profitable manner. It involves four elements: products and/or services, pricing, promotion, and distribution.
Marketing typically starts with market research and ends with consumer satisfaction. The core elements of a marketing plan are woven into this process.
Sales vs. Marketing: Quick Summary
Products and/or services oriented
Focus on consumer needs
Focus on company needs (targets)
Involves all activities that facilitate the flow of company offerings to the market
Involves the flow of company offerings to customers
Requires analytical and strategic planning skills
Requires conversational skills and selling skills
Communication with many
Long-term strategies to address many clients
Short-term strategies to address specific clients
Maximizes profit through increased consumer satisfaction and growth in market share
Maximizes profit through increasing sales
Major Steps of Marketing
The first step in marketing is to conduct market research to understand consumer needs. This allows you to identify the specific gaps for particular consumer segments. On the basis of the research findings, you need to develop a profile of your target market and potential customer segment.
The next step is to determine the positioning of your brand. To do this, answer this question: what will be your unique selling proposition (USP)? The logical next step is to determine the promotional strategies to build your brand. How best to inform your potential customers of your USP? How best to establish yourself in the target market?
Once the marketing mix is decided, marketers implement the strategy, and measure its success on several key performance indicators (KPIs). Sales is one of the most important KPIs.
Why is Marketing Important for Business Growth?
Marketing is the larger context within which sales activities can happen successfully. Poor marketing strategies for small business can affect sales adversely. Let us explain why.
- How Does Market Research Help You?
- Profiling Your Customer Segment
- Determining your Target Market
- Positioning/Determining Your USP
- Promoting Your Brand
- Sales and Review
Farmers intentionally destroying their crops is a common enough phenomenon in many countries of the world. That happens when there is a bumper crop: more produce than consumers need. Market research is critical for your business to avoid such a situation.
Suppose the product you want to introduce to the market is a toothpaste. The market may well have reached a saturation point with a wide variety of toothpastes on offer. It will be extremely difficult to find marketing strategies to convince your potential buyers to switch from their favorite brands.
However, your market research may identify that young adults want bicolor or multicolor toothpaste, which is not readily available in the market. If you utilize this information, you can enter the market with a product for which the demand already exists. That is how important market research is.
Along with identifying an existing consumer need, the particular population segment you need to target also gets reflected in the market research findings. In the example cited above, it is young adults. However, that is too broad a characteristic. Further detailing is necessary.
Careful analysis of your market research findings will inform you about additional demographic details of these young adults. The kind of families they belong to in terms of economic class and social position, urban or rural, the role they have in family decision-making about purchases, and so on.
It is critical to capture these demographic details as that would influence the next steps in your marketing strategy.
The demographic profiling of your consumer segment will help you determine your target market. The kind of localities you should target, whether to sell online, or in brick and mortar stores, or both – all these variables are crucial in defining your target market.
The key element of your unique selling proposition is already clear from the findings of your market research. You will be offering bicolor or multicolor toothpaste for which there is a predictable demand. However, you need to strengthen it further.
In this particular example, something to earn the favor of the parents/guardians of your potential clientele. They would most likely hold the purse strings! In case of other goods and services also, additional positioning is becoming increasingly important.
Ethical business practices, commitment to reduce the carbon footprint in the production and delivery process, and similar declarations can easily become brand value determinants. You will be operating in a world of aware consumers.
This next step in the marketing strategy depends fully on the previous three: your consumer segment, your target market, and the positioning of your brand. However, this is a critical component, not just for startups, but throughout a business lifecycle.
Sales is a step that merits a separate discussion on its own. Sales strategies would be in alignment with the overall marketing strategy, of course, but there would be differences as well. That’s primarily because sales strategies would be pushing your products, while in marketing you pull your customers.
Ongoing review of customer satisfaction and addressing gaps as and when they arise is critical in marketing, and to grow your business. Nurturing your client base is the best way to retain them. Guaranteeing customer satisfaction is also indispensable to grow your customer base.
Your Business Needs a Marketing Strategy
If you want to be successful in your business, it makes sense to invest first in developing a marketing strategy. And remember, marketing is not a one-off activity, it is an ongoing process.
Eventually, successful marketing is all about innovation, flawless implementation, accurate measurements, and regular improvements. Develop a written marketing plan. Know that is must be a living document, with frequent updates. Focus on measuring your campaign results, and use them to implement course corrections. These techniques will also help you to establish successful lead generation process.
Without a marketing strategy your business is merely responding to market variables and events With a strategy, you take an assured step towards taking control and staying ahead of the curve.