Vital Marketing Concepts

Marketing is nowadays a vital aspect of every business. The price of an item increases on account of marketing, but reliance on it has attained an inevitable aspect of buying/selling behavior of consumers/producers due to multiple reasons such as competitive market structures (e.g., monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and niche markets), economical communication technology, information revolution, MNCs, globalization, battle for competitive edge, and Brand Identity phenomenon. Marketing is the managerial effort through which goods/services move from producer to the consumer. The Effective Marketing is “The right product/service with right way, in the right place, at the right time, at the right price and making a profit in the process”. The American Marketing Association offers the following formal definition: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Encyclopedia Britannica defines, “Marketing is the sum of activities involved in directing the flow of goods and services from producers to consumers.” According to Kotler, the shortest definition of marketing is “meeting needs profitably”.

Marketing is required for increasing sales and achieving a sustainable market segment for product or service. Customer gets satisfaction from the product or service, entrepreneur gets profit on sale, and business achieves reputation or goodwill. Effective Marketing materializes reputed business, profitable sale, and satisfied customer. The investigation of demand behavior is focal area of marketing. Consequently, marketing has two parents, economics and psychology. Economic considerations of demand behavior are pull or visible factors while psychological leanings are push/invisible factors behind any demand behavior. A marketing effort concentrates on customers’ propensities for psychological satisfaction and designs multiple incentives of economic benefits for customers. An effective marketing approach accommodates economic rules of selling/buying and psychological tendencies of sellers/buyers. There are seven major reasons of marketing:

  • To inform about new product/service or product awareness
  • To introduce a new business or business awareness
  • To motivate/persuade someone for buying or demand creation
  • To create stable customer account or achieving customer loyalty
  • To attain Sustainable Competitive Advantage
  • To achieve reputation or Goodwill,
  • To realize Brand Equity

Marketing vs. Selling: – The aforesaid concept of effective marketing covers the full experience of a business deal between seller and buyer; however, there are two distinct aspects of effective marketing, i.e., selling and marketing. Perceptually, Sellers and Marketers are two different groups in a marketing activity. They have distinct views towards the customers. Harvard’s Theodore Levitt drew a perceptive contrast between the selling and marketing concepts: “Selling focuses on the needs of the seller; marketing on the needs of the buyer. Selling is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the whole cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it.” The strategic alignment between marketing and selling is vital for better results. “A study from App Data Room and Marketo found that sales and marketing alignment can make an organization 67% better at closing deals, reduce friction by 108%, and generate 209% more value from marketing.”

Marketing vs. Branding:-Branding is the marketing process by which a marketer or brand manager reduces a company’s reputation to a single word or phrase or design. The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.” There is a well-known rule in marketing: “Sell what people are buying.” Similarly, the well-performing rule in branding: “Brand the attributes that people love.” An established brand creates consumer trust and emotional attachments; as a result, brands foster relationships among consumers, products and business that lead to the valuable benefits to a producer such as premium pricing, low promotion cost, loyal customer and constantly growing market share. In a nutshell, a branding effort enhances Brand Equity for sellers. Brand Equity is the brand’s power derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time, which translates into higher sales volume and better profit margins against competing brands in the market. The vital strategic aspect of Brand Equity creation is internal branding. “Internal branding consists of managerial activities and processes that help, inform and inspire employees about brands.” In a branding effort, a marketer or an entrepreneur adopts four perspectives for an effective branding – Consumer Perspective (to ascertain desirability of product/service by multiple consumers), Company Perspective (to improve, technically and aesthetically, presentation and delivery process of product/service), Competitive Perspective (to understand and exploit differentiability/parity content of products/services with respect to competitors), and Brand Perspective (to work on creation of possible brand equity). It is noteworthy that, in branding, you create a perception of product/business while, during marketing, you motivate or persuade someone for actual buying. Branding is who you are while marketing is how you affect consumers’ decision process. More specifically, “Branding or Brand Management is a communication function in marketing that includes analysis and planning on how that brand is positioned in the market, which target public the brand is targeted at, and maintaining a desired reputation of the brand.”

Marketing vs. Advertising: – Marketing deals with multiple business efforts to realize ‘Profitable Sale’ such as market research, pricing & distribution of product/service, branding, selling and public relations. Advertising is just one component of marketing. In advertising, an entrepreneur or business communicates to the potential buyers about his/her products or services. Advertising is defined as:”Any form of communication in the paid media”. The prominent advertising mediums are, print media, electronic media and social media. Conceptually, marketing is the way or strategy to convince potential buyers that you have the right product/service for them, while, advertising is conversion of marketing strategy into specific communication media. In advertising, you tell the potential customers about the existence and availability of right product/service for them. The greatest issue of present-day advertising is Cluttering. “An Advertising Clutter refers to the excessive amount of ad messages consumers are exposed to on a daily basis.” It is vital responsibility of a marketer to manage the clutter. The clutter management means to find the right time and place to connect with target customers and to send impeccable messages to them about your business or offerings.

Marketing vs. Networking: – Networking is a systematic human interaction with fellow human beings to exchange information and opportunities. Business Networking is dynamically linked with effective marketing. Business networking is an outcome of socio-economic interactions of an entrepreneur. The networking efforts shape a business circle. It is noteworthy; a business circle is a sub-circle of a big socio-economic circle of an entrepreneur. A business cannot survive or flourish, at least with full potential, without proper interaction among all economic agents/stakeholders. Executives’ presence in a big socio-economic circle and related associations is vital to develop an effective business networking. The business networking, BtoB and BtoC, is the crucial aspect of effective marketing.

Concisely speaking, the effective marketing is combination of networking, branding, marketing, advertising and selling. The networking earmarks areas of targeted customers, branding prepares ground through shaping/reshaping of perceptions/emotions of prospective customers, advertising informs them about product/service through multiple media, marketing motivates them for buying, and selling materializes the actual profitable sale.

Using the Marketing Mix to Maximize Customer Returns

The traditional marketing mix used by businesses comprised of 4 key elements thought to be vital to the success of any business. However, with the passage of time and the variations in the kind of products and services offered, there are 7 key elements today in the marketing mix that require constant evaluation to ensure the best possible results. These 7 P’s are:

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

Businesses use a unique combination of all these elements in an attempt to achieve the highest customer satisfaction levels.

In this article, we will discuss all the 7 elements in detail and will explain how businesses can make constant variations in their product mix to maximize their goals.

Product
What distinguishes your product or service from other products? While there are standard quality and service components to establish performance, the product or service needs to be somehow unique, some way better than its competitor. This “unique selling proposition” is mission-critical to the business’s success. Customer satisfaction with your product or service is of utmost importance. Though it’s important to offer a high quality or a more economical price, better availability or quicker delivery time, it is also essential to make sure that your product or service has something that is unique and that sets it apart from the competitors in the market.

Price
Consider if the target market sees the price of your product or service as affordable. If the target market is not willing or able to buy, there is no chance to build your business successfully. If the price of your products is higher than competition, it is imperative to convince the market the value of the price premium.

Placement
In order to capture the market, make your products and services accessible and easy to buy. If the customer can’t find you, they can’t buy from you. If you offer online sales, carefully consider the process customers must go through to buy online. A difficult purchasing process is a barrier to sales. Know where your target audience lives and shops in order to put your product in front where they can see and learn about it.

Promotion
Promoting your product through the right channels to ensure highest exposure is essential to the marketing process. A promotion on broadcast TV or radio is expensive compared to other channels; they will reach people who may have no interest or not be qualified to buy your products. The costly reach of broadcast media can waste valuable marketing dollars with little return. If the channel is online, use the internet – and search engine optimization – to your advantage. Find out the keyword search terms that will bring the most amount of traffic. Leverage the content and position of the websites that feature your product to its best advantage. If promotion is direct mail, give careful consideration to a targeted mailing list. Direct mail can be more focused and waste less resources, resulting in a more exacting approach to your target market.

Physical Evidence
Think about all aspects of your organization that your prospective customer encounters. From the cleanliness of the selling floor and lavatories in a brick and mortar location to the ease of website navigation, the visit should be a pleasant and hassle-free experience for the customer. Polite, courteous and well-trained staff should be a priority to convey an image of quality from the product to the people who help sell and re-sell the product. The primary and secondary packaging can elevate a simple useful product and make it more desirable. Everything that the customer comes in contact with comes under the physical evidence.

Process
A lead generation process happens from the time your marketing is seen or heard by the customer until they take advantage of your call to action. The sales process starts from that call to action until the product or service is successfully delivered and paid for. Is the process well-tested and reliable? Is the experience the same from the customer’s point of view each time they interact with your company? How efficient is the sales process? If the process can be delivered from lead to sales in the optimum amount of time, conserving resources and expense, it can be replicated over and over to build more sales revenue.

People
From the people who answer the phone, greet the customer, handle problems, process payments, follow up on the sale, and manage the team to the president of the company, all actions contribute to an image of quality and service. It’s common to hear companies say we have great customer service in today’s world, but how they deliver the great service is what holds great significance to the customer.

How Companies Use the Marketing Mix
The marketing mix experiences a lot of variations throughout a product’s lifecycle stage. For example, if we look at the category of health supplements, a lot of the brands started off as delivering nutritional supplements to men and women in the market. However, in the development stage of the product’s lifecycle, brands were focusing more on gaining exposure through lower introductory prices and different promotional packages. As the brands crossed the Introductory stage and moved on to growth stage, businesses started catering to more specialized categories such as Teens, Men, Women, and the above 50 and began developing more products for each category. These line extensions are typical of a business in the growth stage. When a company is in the mature phase of their lifecycle, it is common to re-launch their products with innovation to capture the surge of business experience in the development stage. In the category of health supplements, many brands identified the opportunity of attracting customers looking for exercise and athletic supplements for enhance performance. This new market segment opened the doors of a completely new marketing niche for businesses that focused on diversifying the market and on increasing the market for this new category.

Conclusion
Experienced marketing consultants such as 1st Straw Marketing ask a lot of questions to dive deep into the different aspects of business. Getting to know the perception of the market and the internal workings of the company selling products and services is essential to developing a strategic and tactical plan that can be successful. Depending on each stage of the product’s lifecycle and the influence of the market, business leaders and professional marketers are constantly evaluating their marketing mix and making changes to serve their target market better. Planning, review, evaluation and research goes into determining every element of the marketing mix and is vital to the overall success of a business.

Do You Have a Marketing Strategy and Plan for Your Business in 2018?

Do you have a marketing strategy and plan for your business?

Without a marketing strategy and plan, you can’t attain your business goals. It’s 101 for a business.

Whether you are a startup, entrepreneur, or business, preparing a strategy for the first time, or tweaking your existing plan, this is the first and most important piece of your roadmap to success.

A smart marketing plan begins with a smart strategy.

Your First Step – A Marketing Strategy:

You need to be focused. You need a clear message. You need a process.

A marketing strategy is the overarching, big picture plan, the high-level road map to help you attain your business goals. After all, you can’t get there if you don’t know where you’re going!

The goal of a marketing strategy is to dive deeply into your business, your sales process, your target market, your message and current marketing to understand your successes and pinpoint your challenges.

You need to clarify your goals and objectives that will deliver results.

You should identify your niche markets, core messaging, elevator pitch and mission, values and vision statement. This is the foundation of your marketing plan and makes up the specific mix of marketing activities that will drive revenue.

During your marketing strategy, you should assess the following:

– Organization Overview & Mission
– Current Messaging, Elevator Pitch, Value and Vision Statement
– Products and/or Services
– Goals & Success Metrics
– Brand Positioning
– Target Markets & Ideal Customer
– Marketing Audit: Marketing Budget, Advertising (print/online), E-mail, Seasonal Promotions/other
– Social Media Marketing Audit: Content Strategy (images, videos), Social Media Channels, Blogging
– Website Review & Assessment
– Competitor Site Review
– Search Engine Optimization

Your Second Step – A Detailed Marketing Plan:

You need to be seen. You need to be heard. You need to be found.

The next step is a to put together a detailed marketing plan from the information you gathered from your marketing strategy.

This is an in-depth marketing roadmap, infrastructure and plan that will be used for your marketing. It will include developing content, developing promotional offers, most effective social media channels to be active on, email marketing, building an email list, and budget for Facebook advertising.

This detailed Marketing Plan will help your business or organization become more structured, and is something you can implement straightaway in order to see success and become more profitable.

A marketing strategy and plan is the KEY to your success. Don’t procrastinate and start them today.