There are many definitions of marketing, but one of the simplest suggests that:
"Marketing is getting the right product or service in the right quantity, to the right place, at the right time and making a profit in the process".
Many seem to forget that it is all about the customers.
Marketing is really about selling, you, your services or products.We all remember the old fashioned “sell at all costs” tactics, and how they have left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. These days consumers are much more savvy and able to access information through advanced technologies right at their fingertips.In our modern world, marketing is about communicating with our customers, letting them speak and be heard. It’s about generating two way conversations and ensuring we provide what our customers really need, in order to keep them and have them refer our products and services to others.
So are your marketing activities and ideas really identifying and understanding your customers?
How do you know you are giving your customers what they want and not what you are prepared to give them?
Marketing is about doing your research, identify and understand your market, give customers what they want. It's not just about advertising and promoting your business, or the way you see it.
To achieve and be effective, you need to examine every component of your business and how it affects the consumer's end experience. Cover everything you can imagine in order to deliver your products and services to the consumer. Include research, planning, pricing, packaging, promotion, selling and distribution.
The six “Ps”
The six “Ps” have long been the provision of the comprehensive framework to develop an effective marketing plan, often identified as the “6Ps” or ‘marketing mix’:
Ok; what is it you are really selling here? It could be any combination of goods and services that your business offers, including quality, style, variety, design, features, services, warranty, sizes, packaging, brand name and returns.
How and where does the consumer come into contact with your product or service? What are your; distribution channels, logistics and retail outlet location and how do you get your product to them?
How is your product priced within the market? Do you offer discounts or add on incentives or extended payment periods? Do you provide credit?
It's not about you telling your customers about you, it’s about communicating with your customers. Try a mix of brand exposure exercises, advertising, one on one selling, getting current customers to refer you, promotion and public relations. See what works and develop it.
Your staff are envoys to your business, ambassadors if you like, but ultimately they are your representatives. Give your staff the knowledge, experience, skills, communication, environment and attitude they need to help you be successful.
Ensure the processes that you use on a daily basis have a flow-on effect through to the customer's experience, effectively manage orders and services. Follow processes in planning, procedures, quality control, and handling of customer responses. Review and ensure you are diligent in continuous improvement, documentation and feedback channels.
Research your market.
A key part in developing your marketing strategy is the manner in which you collect information thus providing an insight into your customer's needs. This allows you to understand what those needs are, how they collect their information, research products and services and where they come from. Keep on top of market trends to get a better idea of what is happening in your industry.
Develop a marketing plan?
To be a successful business operator, understand what you are offering and how it differs from your competitors. What are you offering your customers? Developing a marketing plan and the steps you go through to do so, will help you understand what benefits and features your product or service really provides. You can then make better decisions around attracting and retaining the right type of customer.
Ensure your marketing plan is included in your business plan.Your marketing plan will also provide in depth industry analysis to help you to segment your target market and position your business in the best possible avenues. It will provide clear objectives so that you can benchmark your achievements and measure the success of your marketing endeavours.
Keep it straightforward and versatile.
Numerous advertising plans are monster developments, with long and unexplained words and expressions. The procedure of taking on such an indulgent document or plan is so overwhelming to entrepreneurs and business managers that they frequently get pushed aside.
Ensure your plan is straightforward, recognisable and able to be implemented without obstacles or fuss. It's not set in cement, be adaptable, if something isn't working be open to readdressing the issues and have a go at something other than what's expected.
Mix it up, a little brand exposure, advertising, promotion, public relations and social one on one selling. Give current customers an avenue and a reason to refer you.
See what works and develop it.