Why Marketing Is Important
Marketing is going through a lot of changes right now.
Teams are smaller and campaigns are more quantifiable than ever.
Traditionally, marketing has been used to promote:
- Awareness – Getting people to know you have a product available.
- Interest – Information or images that make people want.
- Evaluation – Information, facts or specs that allow people to see if there is a fit for a need.
- Commitment – Making people feel like they have bought into something of quality and utility.
- Referral – The best marketing remains word of mouth trusted advisor referrals.
Marketing is about building relationships and networking with the right customers, you don’t have to be sales pitchy or force someone to buy your product, the aim is to build trust with your clients.
Let’s compare old school versus new school marketing to help you paint a picture here.
The old school marketing was based upon selling products or services.
If you were a marketing executive and your company was launching a new product, you would call in your ad agency, look for a manipulative way to gain some “mind share” from your target audience, and then spend the big bucks to sell your audience on why they should love your product.
The relationship between company and customer would be purely transactional not to dismiss the fact that loyalty sometimes would be created in the process.
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The modern way of marketing (new school) is based upon satisfying needs.
It recognizes that we live in a world of advertising pollution.
Pushing product doesn’t work anymore, especially in the era of the internet when savvy customers can connect with each other and share stories about your product and your company and can easily find alternative options.
Furthermore, it isn’t even all that clear who your target customer is anymore since traditional demographics are no longer so predictable, and traditional barriers such as distance have all but disappeared.
In the past, the company controlled the relationship, but in today’s remote control world, customers are no longer passive.
In fact, customers have never been so powerful.
And after years of manipulation, customers have a healthy skepticism about most companies.
Marketing As a Core Business Strategy
“Marketing is just smoke and mirrors.”
“It is all about selling things people don’t need at prices.”
“Marketing uses slick ads and exploitative tactics to take advantage of stereotypes, fears, and unrealistic fantasies.”
“No one but large corporations can afford it.”
“Unless you have a sophisticated marketing department, an ad firm, a PR agency, and millions of dollars, don’t even bother with marketing.”
“We’re not ready for marketing. Once we have finalized the product, worked out the bugs, and seen how it works, then we might invest in it.”
We’ve all heard and at times hidden behind these myths.
Marketing is often seen either as a shady practice, not appropriate for a socially responsible business or as a mysterious and expensive luxury that few companies can afford.
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Clearly, you are not a true adherent to either of these beliefs or maybe you’re just curious.
In any case, while many examples of marketing are not being used in either an ethical or an effective manner, and the same can be said for accounting, law, human resources, information technology and any other business function, solid marketing is a key component of business success that supports both the financial and social bottom lines of your organization.
But to make sure we’re all on the same playing field, and to take the mystery out of the word, let us take a few moments to talk about the term.
Many people use the term marketing to refer to a broad set of promotional and outreach activities aimed at communicating a business proposition to customers and other important audiences.
These activities often include advertising, media relations, direct mail, promotional offers, online promotions, sales materials and other marketing tactics.
While all of these tactics are important applications of marketing and it is the definition of strategic marketing, that is our primary focus.
Strategic marketing is acquiring a deep understanding of the needs and desires of your existing and potential customers and designing your business (products, services, delivery mechanisms, customer experience, branding, outreach, etc.) to meet and exceed their needs and desires.
When energy bar leader, Clif Bar developed the Luna Bar, the core idea for creating the product, active women need an energy bar and have different nutritional needs than men was a demonstration of the pure definition of strategic marketing.
The strategic marketing decision to design an energy bar specifically for active women then led to many other strategic and tactical choices regarding product design, branding and packaging, product distribution, community partnerships and, ultimately, promotional and sales strategies.
At it’s core, good strategic marketing can be deeply aligned with building a socially responsible business because it demands a constant focus on the customer’s needs, drives development of quality products and services, and often encourages alignment with customer values.
Thus, the first practice of marketing is simply using it as a core business strategy.
The practice of using marketing as a core business strategy really boils down to defining and utilizing marketing as a central function of business planning within your organization.
Thinking about marketing as a baseline of business development and ensuring that marketing-based questions and analyses are present and utilized in all business planning processes, makes marketing an integrated business strategy.
Rather than mapping out the product concept, price point, manufacturing and distribution plan and then asking, “How are we going to sell it?.” adherents to this practice ask, “How do we design the product concept, and set the price to best meet the needs of the market?.”
This is a hallmark of a customer-centered marketing approach.
Just think about the repackaging of single servings of yogurt so that they no longer require a spoon.
By putting yoghurt in a tube and making it more convenient as an on-the-go snack, companies developed a product that responded to a need of busy parents healthy snacks they could pack in a lunch box with no fuss.
So what’s the importance of marketing and what role does it play?.
Let’s go back to the definition.
Marketing in real sense is the action of promoting and selling your products or services to a customer.
In essence, shouldn’t the ultimate purpose of marketing be making sales?.
But with the constant bombardment of information and pitches today, approaching people with the inner desire to sell may not work.
Hence, for me, the main purpose of marketing is split into:
- Attracting your target market’s attention.
- Making them realize that they will become better when they buy your product or avail your service.
Attracting Your Market’s Attention
Of course, you first must make yourself or your company known and felt, ideally by your prospects.
Marketing allows you to create a brand, construct an offer, and communicate the message effectively in such a way that you become appealing only to your market.
In the process, you also eliminate those who wouldn’t make as a good fit so you don’t waste your time and effort in carrying out the second purpose of marketing is to make them understand that they need you.
Making Your Customers Want You
The consideration of trying your product or service should be coming from them internally.
Because this way, the urge will become strong.
Now, when the above two purposes are met, sales and revenues will naturally come next.
If they happen to purchase and you fulfill the promise of making them into better versions of themselves, they might tell their friends about you and you’ll have established a referral marketing that will work for you.
Every company should analyze the needs of their customers and make good decisions in order to satisfy their needs.
This also can improve a good relationship between customers and the company.
Besides, the marketing concept developed as an alternative to the selling concept as the way business firms fundamentally approach the market.
The guiding theme for marketing practice under the selling concept insists that given enough selling and advertising, customers can be convinced to buy the product.
Marketing is not just flogging product and putting a spin on everything but it is about serious organization and business planning.
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