What Is Marketing?
Let’s start by defining what the term ‘marketing’ means.
There are lots of definitions but a commonly accepted one is:
“Marketing is a process whereby you educate consumers why they should buy your products and services instead of those offered by your competitors.”
This involves a number of integrated activities which include things like:
- Identifying your target market
- Conducting research to identify what needs exist in that marketing niche
- Designing products and services that meet the needs you’ve identified
- Research into:
- the price your consumers are likely to accept paying
- where your consumers hang out so that you know where to do your promotions
- methods that will need to be used to reach that market
- and how best to deliver your product to your customers
The desired outcome from marketing is getting:
- the right product or service
- to the right customer
- at the right time
- in the right place
- and at the right price…..
……..so that the customer is satisfied, and that your business is at the very least breaking even in terms of profitability whenever your product or service is sold.
This short video explains what marketing is, and why it it so important!
Marketing Strategy Vs Marketing Plan
People often confuse these two terms.
Here’s what I understand the difference to be:
Your marketing strategy will itemise the goals you wish to achieve from your marketing efforts.
Your marketing plan will explain how you are going to achieve those marketing goals.
There’s an important reason for identifying the difference between these two terms, and it’s this……
It is not uncommon that some business people will begin to focus on how they will market to their potential consumers. And they do this without first being clear about ‘what’ it is they want to market.
Another way of thinking about the difference is:
- Your marketing strategy is your thinking and planning
- Your marketing strategy is all about the doing
What Is A Marketing Plan?
A Marketing Plan is an important companion document to your Business Plan.
Your marketing plan will typically consist of the following elements:
- a detailed analysis of your target market and competitors
- the key strategies you will use to market your business, and its products and services
- a description of the products and services you are offering
- details of your pricing strategy
- your overall budget for marketing which will include advertising and promotion costs
- details of how you will get your products and services to your customers i.e. your distribution channel
- a sales strategy
- scheduling of your marketing and promotional activities
As with the format and content of your business plan there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ type document.
Writing your marketing strategy
You may have heard of the 4 ‘P’s of marketing concept. The 4 ‘P’s are – Product, Promotion, Price, Place.
These four elements when combined are also known as your marketing mix.
Let’s explore each of these elements in a little more detail:
Factors to be considered include:
- which of your customer’s needs does the product or service satisfy?
- how is the product or service to be used?
- what will the product or service look like?
- what will it be called?
- how will it be branded?
- in what way does it differ from competitor products?
This includes areas such as:
- your budget for advertising, promotion and public relations
- the overall promotional strategy and promotional calendar
- advertising – where, how, when
- sales promotions
- where and how do your competitors do their promotions, how does this affect your strategy?
Aspects which are relevant to price in your marketing mix include:
- is there customer sensitivity to price – e.g. impact of a small increase or decrease in price?
- are there established price points in the market for this kind of product or service?
- how does your pricing compare with competitors for similar products or services?
- what flexibility do you have with your pricing?
- is it possible to bundle with other products and services?
- are there likely seasonal impacts on pricing?
- what other pricing deals will you consider e.g. discounts, special offers, trial offer etc?
This element is about distribution with possible relevant factors being:
- where will prospective buyers look for your product or service – in an office, store, online, magazine etc
- will inventory on hand be needed, if so how much?
- will you need to attend trade fairs or events?
- how, where will orders to purchase be handled?
- how/where will the product or service be delivered to customers?
- will you use sales people, or affiliate marketers?
- what policies around returns, satisfaction guarantees etc if applicable?
Marketing and your unique selling proposition
Often shortened to USP – this acronym stands for ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ or ‘Unique Selling Position’.
Essentially this is a statement that captures in just a few well written sentences exactly how your business, products and services are different from your competition.
When written, your USP can provide a focus for all your marketing efforts so that when developing your marketing collateral you can clearly set yourself apart from your competitors.
Your USP will also inspire you to develop a brand, and an image that will make your business stand out.
In another post we will be covering how to develop and write your USP.
Marketing – Summary
As we have seen marketing involves a number of integrated, carefully thought and implemented plans and strategies.
The purpose of all this activity is ultimately to attract enough customers to your business, and to your products and services.
Successful marketing is obviously going to be critical to the success of your business!
Want Assistance With Your Marketing? Talk To Us!
Digital and online technologies have transformed marketing strategies.
This means there is a variety of viable and low cost approaches for reaching your target audience and for generating online sales.
If you are not yet marketing online, or if your current strategies are working all that effectively we can help.
Contact either John or Anthony for an obligation free chat about how we can assist you to design a marketing strategy that is just right for your business and budget