Marketing is a broad term used to encompass the activities a company takes to generate awareness, interest, and ultimately, sales in their products or services. Often referred to as the '4 Ps of Marketing' - Product, Promotion, Price, and Placement - it is the process which drives customers (both existing and new) to purchase from a business.
A comprehensive overview of marketing
Marketing consists of activities designed to increase sales for a business, including advertising and promotional campaigns. Through such activities, a business seeks to identify, attract, and convert potential customers into paying customers. This process begins with researching and targeting the right customer base, creating a message to communicate with them, and then driving the relevant traffic to the company’s website or store.
The 4 Ps of Marketing – Product, Promotion, Price, and Placement – provides the basis of the process:
• Product – The product a business offers to its customers, both goods and services. A product’s features, design, benefits, and availability should all be factors in the marketing process.
• Promotion – The main actions to create interest in the product and make sure potential customers learn about it. These include advertising (online and offline), direct mail campaigns, email marketing, public relations, and more.
• Price – How much is being charged for the goods and services. The price should emphasise the value of the product, rather than just its cost.
• Placement – Also known as distribution, this is the means of getting the product to the customer. This can include stockists, online stores, delivery services, and more.
When done correctly, marketing can successfully identify and convert potential customers, increasing sales and improving a company’s bottom line.
General Guidelines & Best Practices of Marketing
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The ultimate aim of any successful marketing strategy is to increase sales. This is achieved through the efforts of making sure potential customers are aware of the product or service on offer, providing information that helps them to make an informed decision, and creating a message which entices customers to make a purchase.
Following are the general guidelines and best practices of marketing, which can be tailored to the individual needs and objectives of each business:
1. Understand Your Audience - Doing market research and demographic profiling provides essential insights into the behaviour and purchasing habits of potential customers. This enables a business to create effective campaigns and messages tailored to their target market.
2. Define Your Objectives - Core objectives of any marketing strategy should include increasing sales, building customer loyalty, and customer retention. By having a clear understanding of desired outcomes, a business is more likely to achieve them.
3. Develop a Messaging Strategy - The success of a product or service is highly dependent upon the message a business conveys. A messaging strategy should include the benefits of the offering, target the right personas, and emphasize the value it provides.
4. Leverage Online Platforms - The immense reach offered by digital and social media platforms, combined with their affordability and ease-of-use, makes them invaluable marketing tools. A combination of organic and paid campaigns, both on and off social media, will create maximum exposure and reach.
5. Keep Customers Engaged - Building strong customer relationships, by engaging with them on various channels, is essential in boosting customer loyalty and attracting new customers. Creating content and campaigns that customers care about and find useful, such as exclusive discounts, competitions, or educational resources, encourages them to keep coming back.
6. Analyse Your Performance - In order to continually refine and improve, it is important to periodically review the performance of campaigns and results. This can include tracking customer behaviour, such as which origins drive the highest traffic and purchase rates, and which channels provide the best ROI.
7. Track your Budget - Creating an effective marketing strategy and then meeting objectives on a budget is a difficult balance. Therefore, tracking spend and making sure your budget is being utilised wisely is a priority.