Everyone seems to know that marketing is an essential ingredient to helping a business succeed. But what exactly is it, and where should a business start? Firstly, let’s take a look at marketing as a whole. Essentially, marketing helps to sell products and services with the ultimate goal of gaining shareholder value. It’s a process of creating and keeping customers, through tailoring:
- your products,
- your messages,
- your distribution channels,
- the customer support you offer,
- and any other business interactions you may have with a customer.
This is, however, quite a complex task; marketing is far less transactional than it used to be. The focus was once on convincing consumers to buy a product or service, but as times have changed and technology has evolved marketing has become more personal. It’s about building relationships with people who use and care about your products or services.
Whether you’re in startup mode or are a well-established business, it’s important to reevaluate what you’re doing from a marketing perspective. What you did 10 years ago might still be working, but your customers are moving with the times and you could lose out. Think of marketing as a cycle. It begins with customer insights, then goes round to customer service, before it begins all over again. Points along this cycle include product development, pricing, packaging, distribution, advertising and promotion—all steps involved in making the all-important sale.
To build a successful business, you need to work through your marketing cycle, which will allow you to get to know your target audience, help you tailor your products, your pricing, your messaging and determine the channels you are going to use. Do it right, and you’ll reap the benefits that marketing has to offer.