Marketing is an important aspect of every business. From promoting your product or service to new potential customers to engaging with prospects, marketing boosts the sales and reach of your business.
Before you get into marketing, you will first need to know its fundamentals and how to create a strategy.
This article will help you get a better understanding of marketing fundamentals and principles, how it functions in a business, and the steps you need to take to build a marketing strategy.
What Is Marketing?
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as an activity, a set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
In short, it’s the activity of promoting offerings, be it a product or service, to customers and to the audience as a whole.
Based on the platform and the media of promotion, marketing can be divided into traditional and digital marketing.
Traditional marketing utilizes traditional, offline media and other types of platforms to promote your business, like a salesperson or giving free samples. On the other hand, digital marketing uses digital media and platforms.
Types of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing can be grouped into different types that are useful for different purposes. Here are some of the most commonly used types of digital marketing channels.
- Email marketing – This type of marketing uses emails to connect and stay in touch with consumers by sending them content, like newsletters and promotional offers.
- Social media marketing – Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn enable a two-way interaction with the audience. With its sharing feature, you can also expand your brand’s reach by creating interesting content.
- Content marketing – Blogging and video marketing are both included in this type, in which the company creates useful digital content to answer your audience’s questions and needs.
- Mobile marketing – Targeted towards mobile users that account for 91% of the total of internet users worldwide, this type of marketing uses social media, mobile apps, and text messages to reach consumers.
- Search engine marketing – Increases your brand’s reach by getting your business website on top of the search result pages for targeted keywords that are highly relevant to your business. This can be done through organic search or paid search.
- Influencer marketing – Choosing the right influencers that already have an audience will help you promote and increase your brand’s reach.
Principles of Marketing
To get started on marketing, you will first need to understand the basic principles. The most commonly known principles are the 4 C’s and the 4 P’s, which will be further explained below.
The 4 C’s of Marketing
The 4 C’s of marketing view marketing from what the company could provide for consumers.
It’s a relatively new concept compared to the 4 P’s and is not as well-known. However, it’s an effective principle for businesses that are trying to understand how to sell from the viewpoint of consumers.
The first C is consumer wants and needs. Rather than focusing on the product only, focus on making something that solves your customer’s wants and needs.
Without considering this, your company may end up selling something that no one wants. It’ll be easier to promote products or services that match the wants and needs of your consumers as they will be beneficial for them.
The second one is cost. This does refer to the price of your product, but it also includes many other factors like the benefit it gives to the customer and the cost it takes them to buy it.
The next C is convenience. The concept is similar to Place in the 4 P’s, but convenience also includes the overall experience of the consumer to get to your product.
Many companies focus only on the location, but with technology, convenience refers to much more than that.
It involves understanding your customers’ behavior, which platform they prefer to use for transactions, and how convenient it is for them to use your website.
The last one is communication. Marketing works not through one-way promotion only but with a two-way interaction with consumers.
Marketers can now include social media platforms in their marketing strategies to connect with the target audience, answer their questions, and offer solutions to their problems.
The Marketing Mix: The 4 P’s
Other than the 4 C’s, the 4 P’s are also considered part of the essential concepts of marketing. Unlike the previous one, the 4 P’s focus on the marketing efforts from the company’s point of view.
The 4 P’s or Marketing Mix consists of:
- Product – What the company offers to customers in the form of goods and/or services.
- Place – Where and how to deliver the product to consumers. It may include how to place the products, both in advertisements and in a store.
- Price – The price consumers spend on a product. It’s not only determined by the product’s value but also supply costs and the price of similar products by competitors.
- Promotion – This includes not only increasing people’s awareness of your brand but also generating sales and increasing revenue.
Before beginning your journey and taking action, research is an important part of creating your strategy.
Market research is defined by Entrepreneur as the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market, the goods and services, and past, present, and potential customers of the industry.
By looking at this definition, you may see why research is an important process for a business.
Part of the basics of a successful product launch is providing something that answers your customer’s pain points and matches their needs. There is no better way to gain this knowledge than by asking the customers directly.
There are two types of market research – primary information and secondary information.
Asking your consumers directly falls into the first type, which is the data gathered directly by your business or through a third party hired by the company.
Secondary information is data that has already been gathered by another entity, including information from the government census data, research by a similar business in the industry, or other research reports.
5 Basic Steps to Creating a Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand the fundamentals of marketing, it’s time to get into the actionable steps of creating the right marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is a long-term game plan of an organization or a business that includes understanding the wants and needs of customers in order to gain an advantage and stay ahead of the competition.
There are several differences between a strategy and a marketing plan.
A strategy is an extension of your business goals and objectives and refers to what you’re trying to achieve through your marketing effort.
Unlike plans, this covers the overall goal of the effort and focuses more on the “what” rather than the “how.
Meanwhile, a plan is more detailed than a strategy. For example, if your strategy is to promote how easy it is to use your new online shopping app, the plan puts it into action by detailing how to develop the advertisements to promote this.
1. Define the Marketing Goals
Marketing goals, or objectives, are specific goals that your business is trying to reach through a strategy. Some examples are to gain revenue in sales, to increase brand awareness, or to grow the customer base.
To create clearly defined goals, the S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) principle is still the best framework to use.
This method assures that you’ll have specific goals with clear deadlines that can be measured in the form of KPIs.
2. Research the Market
Once you have designed your goals, the next step is to conduct the research. Many companies use research to get an overview of their target market, understand what the people want and what your competitors are providing.
Research is also useful to identify your company’s strengths and how to leverage them in the form of value propositions.
Understanding what your business can deliver for a consumer and what makes it different will help you stand out among competitor brands.
Other than developing your brand, it’s also crucial to research to understand consumer behavior.
By paying attention to trends, industry reports, and interacting with your customers, you’ll better understand what message and story your brand should deliver to catch their attention.
The research will also help you choose the best channels to reach prospects for your business.
3. Write the Marketing Plan
With analysis from the research, you’re now ready to start writing down the course of action. Refer back to the goals you have formulated and brainstorm the ways you can implement them.
For example, if you want to gain more revenue in sales, come up with ways how the marketers can gain more leads and prospects for the sales team.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to increase brand awareness, it’s essential to focus more on what message you’re trying to convey to your audience.
Lastly, consider which marketing channels are available to use. If your business wants to use content marketing, plan a content strategy relevant to your goals and target market.
4. Schedule and Budget the Implementation
For easier implementation, your marketing plans should include a timeline, a deadline, and a budget limit.
A clear timeline and deadline make it easier to measure how far you’ve come in achieving your goal.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you may promote through social media and plan to gain 10,000 followers.
Make sure to set a final deadline and split the end goal into smaller goals along the way until you reach the deadline. If your final deadline is six months, set a smaller goal for three months (5,000 followers each) and one month (around 1,500 – 2,000 followers).
A budget limit also gives you a guideline to spend only on what actually matters and plan the strategy more effectively.
5. Evaluate the Results
Once you have reached the deadline, it’s time to evaluate the results of your marketing activities.
Evaluating your plans’ strengths and weaknesses, what went well, and what can be improved in your marketing process can help you identify how to improve in the future.
To analyze your final results, ensure you have all the relevant information by gathering data from your campaigns.
If you launch a campaign through your website, connecting it to Google Analytics will give you a range of insights, from the demographics of your visitors to their behavior.
Most social media platforms have accounts specifically for businesses, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They also have an analytics page that is useful for learning about your marketing plans.
Many people consider marketing as a field that focuses on action and results only.
However, by understanding the fundamentals of marketing, you can see that the right strategy and tactics are essential in order to get the best results.
Now that you know the basics of marketing and how to leverage it for your business, you’re ready to implement these steps to win more leads and maximize the sales in your company.