I find that asking “what does marketing mean?” generates different responses and often some confusion. So, here are some definitions and explanations to answer this important question.
Firstly, marketing should not be confused with advertising, PR, sales, having a website or doing social media. These are just communication channels or promotional techniques.
This is my favourite definition and one of the simplest:
Peter Doyle’s definition says it’s all about focusing on the customer. This is easy to get your head round, and reminds us all that every area of our businesses, Finance, IT, Sales, Admin, must all start by answering “how would our customers view this?”
Marketing is the process of planning and executing the development, pricing, distribution and promotion of products and services to satisfy organizational goals.
Known as the ‘7 Ps’, the 7 key variables in the marketing mix are Products, Pricing, Promotion, Place (ie distribution), Physical evidence, Processes and People.
This means that your marketing manager or director should have some responsibility for your business strategy, your product strategy and your pricing (pricing is often the most challenging component of the marketing mix).
Marketing is often wrongly defined too narrowly in terms of ‘promotion’ – often as advertising, selling, PR or doing social media. Promotion is only the communications side of marketing. Promotion usually involves several different communication channels and tools.
Peter Doyle explains the difference between selling and marketing:
Your business’s approach to promotion should be multi-channel today, and there are more channels than ever to choose from, both offline (or traditional) and online (or digital). Many new channels have been created online since the internet was born.
As you’ll appreciate, marketing channels and tools include: literature, direct marketing, database marketing (or CRM/ customer relationship management), literature, PR, word of mouth, sales promotions (or offers), telemarketing, selling, advertising, customer service, websites, search engine optimization (SEO), search advertising (Google Adwords), online display advertising, blogging, video, social media, email, affiliates, and mobile marketing.
The most appropriate communication channels and tools for your business (the best ‘communications mix’) should be closely related to the buyer behaviour and ‘customer journeys’ (and ‘touch points’) of the groups of customers you are targeting.
Your marketing budget is also a key consideration but a lot of marketing can be achieved on a small budget. Too often I find that I can significantly improve a small business’s approach to business development while reducing their budget. It’s all about using the right channels and investing in the right areas.
A business must sell products and services to survive and grow. Pursuing a clear marketing strategy helps sell an organization’s products and services, in fact, it makes ‘selling’ much easier.
Effective marketing helps build brands and produces the profits that are essential for the survival and success of individual businesses, as well as driving the economy. Your small business should aim to be a local or niche brand.
We all know examples of brands that we love: Apple, Google, VW, BT, Coca-Cola, John Lewis, Famous Grouse, Glenmorangie, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, Mackie’s Ice Cream, Winton House (a client), Loretto School (a former client).
Excellent marketing is about making selling easier. This is achieved by really understanding your customers and your market, designing your products to meet ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ (both rational and emotional), making them easy to buy, and standing out from your competitors.
The marketing era has been with us since the 1950’s. It followed the production era (19th century to 1920’s) and the sales era (1920’s-1950’s).
Marketing has been dumbed down by the recent, long recession. You need to understand and embrace it because it will make your business successful and add value to our economy.
If you have some marketing questions or challenges, please call or email me, Christopher Lamotte, (07957 870071 or 01620 825751) for a free, no-obligation conversation.
Please share this blog but state that this article is the copyright of Christopher Lamotte, Real Marketing Specialists.