So, what exactly is ‘marketing’?
Marketing is a customer-focused discipline that enables individuals, groups and companies to engage with; understand and satisfy the needs of their audience better than the competition.
Marketing should be a significant part of any organisation, company or business and many of the marketing activities performed by businesses fall under one or more of following main areas:
OK, so now we know the definition of marketing and the main areas covered, how do we go about marketing our business?
Over that last few years I have worked with a number of clients who, while they realise and appreciate that they need to be doing some level of marketing for their business, they don’t always fully understand what ‘marketing’ is or how they go about marketing their business more effectively.
This article aims to provide you with an explanation and brief introduction to marketing (in layman’s terms) and promises to dispel the myths and remove some of the confusion surrounding the different costs and techniques associated with marketing.
In a recession, just like the one we have all recently experienced, marketing expenditure is often the first to be squeezed or in some case axed altogether; with the lack of funds and resources cited as the main reason for the cull.
While I completely understand and sympathise with this approach, actually in my experience it is far more detrimental for the sustainability and success of a business to suddenly reduced or stop your marketing activities during times of financial hardship. In fact this is exactly the time that you need to be investing in marketing and promoting your business, products and services more effectively, so that when the economy and market recover again you are riding the wave of recovery, as opposed to drowning its enormous swell.
The main challenges facing the companies we work with involve; figuring out what marketing activities they should be doing, how much they need to spend and how to measure their success.
When embarking on a new marketing initiative, I always advise clients to start with a marketing plan. A well-researched plan outlining the company’s objectives, strengths, weaknesses, marketing strategy, products, services, marketing budget and target audience will help to determine which marketing activities you need to invest in, and when and how to deliver them.
The most important aspect of marketing is to determine exactly who your customer is – i.e. who are you aiming your products; services and brand at? Once you know this, the next step is to find out as much as you can about the demographics, needs, requirements, interests and values of your target audience. These valuable insights help companies to build up customer profiles allowing them to develop products, services and marketing strategies specially aimed at attracting their perfect customer.
Customer profiling and strategic planning also play an important part in helping companies invest more wisely. Targeted marketing is significantly more effective than broad, generalised and non-specific marketing. And, while I agree marketing is an investment for your company, it does not need to be expensive to be effective.
Marketing is a vast topic and impossible to cover in one article, so I will start to publish regular marketing related topics on my blog over the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you need any more advice of support with your marketing activities, please get in touch.