What Everyone Should Know About Marketing

Marketing is the process of moving all products and services from the concept phase to the consumers. Many think it is about providing value to the customers. It might seem easy to outsiders, but marketing is an important and complicated process.

Usually, marketing entails working with the 4 P’s. The 4 P’s of marketing are product, price, promotion and place. But, there is much more to marketing than these.

With right marketing, you can boost sales and earn revenues. However, it is not a simple process. You will have to follow a few steps when marketing your products or services.

You can find countless tips on how to be a better marketer in books and websites. Here, I have jotted some of the most important things every marketer should know. Without these, marketing is incomplete.

Marketing is not only about selling

If you think only selling your product or service is marketing, you are wrong. Marketing involves a series of activities which connects a product with its buyers. Some of the activities are:

  • Identifying who the customer is and under recognizing the segments of the customers
  • Recognizing the needs of the consumer and build the right product
  • Deciding what the pricing strategy should be
  • Setting up the distribution channels so that they bridge with the customer
  • Forming a communication strategy which conveys the values of the product to customers

Companies sell benefits, not products and services

All marketers should understand the difference between selling a product and selling a benefit. They should communicate appropriately. For example, a restaurant would want to commoditize for selling experience. Banks would sell safety. A car company could state that they sell convenient transportation.

The main goal of your company’s marketing department should be to prevent commoditizing a product. Commodity businesses do not really need any marketing. This is because there is rarely any advantage other competitors who sell the same item. For example, most people will see all brands of milk the same way. In order to avoid commoditizing, do the following:

  • Make it easier to purchase.
  • Make your product available at the right time.
  • Add a touch of customer relationship and trust
  • Make efforts to create a constant differentiation.

With convenience, availability, trust and differentiation your product will have an advantage in the market.

Give importance to the 7Ps and 4Cs

Marketing was always deemed as a product oriented approach. Marketers often rely on the Classic 7 Ps. The 7Ps which define how you can connect a product with the customer are:

  • Product
  • Placement
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Physical Space
  • People
  • Process

You must give emphasis on these elements, but there are 4 other factors to consider. The shift from product to the customer happens mainly because of 4Cs. The 4Cs of marketing are:

  • Customer
  • Cost
  • Communication
  • Convenience

Communicate the right message to the right consumer. Ensure that the way is not only convenient but cost efficient too.

Target Customers

In order to maximize sales and profit, firms should target the right customers. The best way to do this is by determining which segments are most likely to use the product. Marketers should match products to demographic characteristics like age, income and education. For example, the best target for premium products is customers who have high incomes. Keep in mind that your target market must be big enough to earn a profit.

Conduct Marketing Research

Marketing research is also an important step you can conduct before selling your product. It helps to collect input from customers. You can find what they want and. If you can offer desirable products at a reasonable price, your sales and profits will rise. The process can involve phone and Internet surveys. Personal interviews with consumers are also good options.

Branding

Branding is among the most critical parts of marketing. You have to create the branding elements which directly communicate your product to the customer. Branding subtly conveys quality assurance and trust. It can help your product earn sustainable profits. For example, Nike’s branding is “Just Do It.”  You know the company did a great job because consumers immediately associate Nike with the phrase.

Track Your Advertising

Marketer’s task does not end with advertising. It is important to track the ads and their effects. Tracking will help determine which ads attracted the highest number of sales. Cancel the ads which are not profitable. There are many ways to track advertisements. Under-pricing a top-selling product is a popular way. You can determine how much extra business the price discount gathers.

The price-reduction strategy uses price to attract customers. It convinces people to upgrade or buy additional products. Another method to track is to use a word-flag in the advertisement.

Manage the Product Life Cycle

Marketers should know that all products have life spans. New technology will eventually make products obsolete. Because of this, you must manage your products during its varying stages in the product lifecycle. Introduction, growth, maturity, and decline are the 4 stages of the product lifecycle.

Usually, successful products sell well in the growth stage. The customers are less price sensitive in the first stages. The challenge starts in the maturity stage when sales start to drop. This stage is often called the saturation stage as there is little scope for new competitors.

Some companies can even go out of business when competitors reduce prices. The savvy marketer would differentiate their offerings from other challengers to overcome the problem. You can tap new markets or add new features to your products. You may offer best customer service and become the service leader in your industry.

Marketing is a vast field. The topics discussed above are the key to success in the field of marketing. If you practice these, you will definitely see a rise in your firm’s revenues.

Image: NicoElNino/Shutterstock.com

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