When someone mentions the word marketing or advertising, what do you think of? Sales? Branding? Promotion? A clever TV advert? You will often find that many people confuse both the terms, marketing and advertising. While they are both very important, they are very different.
Marketing can be defined as everything a business does to facilitate an exchange between itself and its customers. It’s the methodical planning process, to allocate marketing resources in the best and most economical way. It gives an intelligent direction to carry out the various activities and functions of marketing to achieve the marketing goals. Marketing involves a mix of business activities to maximise your marketing efforts. For example:
Market Research and Insight
Market Research should be done on a regular basis in order to keep up to date with changing market trends in your industry, and to retain a competitive edge. Whether your business is in a start-up phase or in an expansion phase, market research and gathering insights is vital for understanding the critical characteristics of your target market, to increase your sales revenue, profit, ROI and overall business success.
Your product pricing strategy is crucial to your business success. To get the price right, you need to cover all your costs and deliver a reasonable profit margin, while also hitting the sweet spot of what customers are willing to pay for the value they believe they receive from your business.
Marketing must support the business sales right through each stage of the sales process. As selling situations grow more complex, sales teams are relying on high quality marketing content to help them tell the story that resonates and closes the deals. In my opinion, the marketing support is often forgotten once you have a potential client that is interested in your service or product. You managed to capture their interest, whether that was via a telephone conversation or marketing collateral they received, but once they come onboard, the experience is last. It is important to understand what support is needed through each and every stage of the buying process, from recognising a client’s need, during the purchasing stage and most importantly, retaining the business and meeting their expectations.
Marketing = smarter sales messaging
Customer support is essential to help promote a unique brand personality which makes customers feel connected with your brand and more likely to engage with you, allowing you to build customer loyalty. Customer support and loyalty is increasingly determined by the complete set of customer experiences across multiple interactions with the brand.
A good example of a company doing this well is O2.
“Their purpose is communicated through a clearly defined brand / customer promise – O2 has achieved market leadership and created a strong basis of fans by providing value that no other operator does. Access to events at the O2 Arena and Rugby at Twickenham all help to cement a strong relationship with the brand and deliver its promise of ‘Helping customers connect to the people and things that matter to them’.” You can read more here.
Media planning is finding the most appropriate media platforms to promote the company’s brand or client’s products / services. It’s here we determine when, where and how often a message should be placed. The goal is to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message, to generate the desired response and stay within the allocated budget.
Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds credibility in your industry. It enhances or builds reputations through media or self-produced communications, by media outreach, press releases, editorial, blogging, and social media.
“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” — Joe Chernov
Advertising is one subset of marketing. Advertising is a form of communication designed to influence the customer to purchase the product or service. It’s the part that involves getting the word out concerning your business, product, or the services you offer.
This can include:
Newspaper and magazine adverts
Television and radio advertising
Advertising = getting the word out
When selecting the best advertising methods, you will need to consider your budget, target audience and message. An advertising mix is vital when running campaigns, as your potential customer receives thousands of adverts each day, you can’t rely on just one advertising vehicle. It is also as important to have frequency as you won’t see any success in an unstructured approach.
Advertising works when it’s tracked and measured. Each campaign should be quantified against how many new leads it produced, how many leads converted to clients and for long strategic planning, how many of the new accounts did you retain? What was the cost to acquire each new account and should you refocus your efforts on retaining customers? Advertising without trackability is a waste, because if you don’t know what’s working, you won’t know what’s not working.
It’s important for all these marketing and advertising efforts to stand independently on their own (and do them well), but equally important to work together for one unified purpose to meet those desired objectives and goals of the business.