We often think ‘marketing’ and push it to one side because we know we should be doing it and we want to do it, but we think it will cost a lot of money. But with a little bit of know-how you can make marketing part of your day to day business activities and build a successful marketing driven business. Sage Business Expert Tracey Bird explains how.
Marketing can be defined as a process of determining the needs and wants of consumers and being able to deliver the products and services that satisfy those needs and wants, at a profit to the business.
So, what does this mean to your business?
Marketing is the bridge between your business and your customer. Great marketing makes the connection between what your target market wants or needs and your products or services … at a profit to your business.
Let’s break this down …
- Target market: First of all you need to establish who you target markets are and where they are.
- Wants / needs: Once you have identified who your target markets are, you need to get to know them to understand what they want and need, how they behave & how they are influenced. Understanding this is key to getting the product / service offering right and developing the right marketing mix to persuade the target market to buy your products / services.
- Product / service: If you already have a product or service, make sure that it meets the wants and needs of your target market(s). If you are developing a new product or service then market needs should be a fundamental consideration in product / service development. Anticipating or even creating future needs is the ultimate goal in product marketing. Apple is a great example of this.
- Profit: Getting the numbers right is a key deliverable to ensure that your business is sustainable and can continue to deliver great things.
When you have identified your target market, understand their wants and needs are, and you have developed a product or service that can meet them, and do this at a profit, you use a set of marketing tools called the ‘Marketing Mix’ to persuade your target market to buy your products or services.
The marketing mix includes…
- Product: Focus on the features & benefits of your offering, how it differs from the competition, and how it satisfies your customers’ needs and makes their lives better or easier.
- Price: Price affects how much is sold, who it is sold to, and ultimately how much profit you make. Key factors for consideration include cost, demand, competition and image.
- Place: Your geographic market and the channels through which you make your product / service available to the market.
- Promotion: Your marketing communications strategy, which will include all the means through which you communicate the benefits & values of your product or service and how you persuade targeted customers to buy it.
- People: All people involved in the delivery and consumption of a product or service are important. From employees in your business, contacts in your business network who endorse or promote you through to your customers who consume your product / service and can influence future sales.
- Process: From receiving the order from the customer to delivering your product or service, your businesses will have processes in place. Each of these processes should add value at every stage of the customer’s experience. Processes are a way of delivering your service, and for many businesses their service is their competitive advantage.
When working out your marketing mix, it is important to consider and plan for online and offline channels. Always keep a sharp eye on your competitors too and review what they are doing. Aim to keep ahead of your competitors and maintain competitive advantage.
Putting marketing into practice
The important part of great marketing is keeping your customer at the centre of everything you do, and the following points will ensure that you stay on top of your game and ahead of your competition with a marketing driven business:
- Really understand your customer by listening and learning intently.
- Think about what they need now and in the future.
- Create wonderful products and services that you can be really proud of, would recommend with pride, and can be delivered brilliantly and profitably.
- Have some fun telling the story of how you went from consumer need to brilliant delivery.
- Keep an eye on your financials to ensure that you are delivering your products and services and meeting your customers’ needs at a profit … then you can continue to deliver great things!