Answers to the Most Common Questions about Marketing and Advertising and the Best Way to Benefit from Marketing.
The Definition of Marketing: Marketing is all about creating the most value to the buyers in a market - and the management of that process. Marketing encapsulates all aspects the organisation, both internal and external. Marketing is all about finding out what constitutes the perfect product or service offering to potential buyers, then making that perfect offering and finally, communicating that offering to as many buyers in that market as possible - all while making maximum profit.
So how does one 'do' marketing? Marketing is managed through the 'marketing mix'. The marketing mix are the seven different mechanisms that an organisation can interact with the market or markets in which it operates. These seven marketing mix elements then become the toolkit to the Marketing Director of an organisation - or to the marketing consultant that is commissioned with looking after an organisation's marketing. It is important to understand that marketing is not something that is exclusive only to commercial businesses; marketing is equally applicable to non-commercial entitites such as charities, educationa.l institutions, schools, churches, political parties, Foundations, clubs and every other type of non-profit organisations that exist...even to governments - at all levels: Federal/Commonwealth, state and local councils.
So marketing occurs through the seven parts of the marketing mix: Product; Price; Place; Promotion; Phusical Evidence; People and Process. Each of these seven 'Ps' actually describes a different aspect of an organisation's activities or assets. Hence, marketing is what natural happens simply in the normal process of an organisation 'being' in its market. Consquently, because all organisations including non-profits must 'be' and interact with the people they serve, they automatically are marketing to those people - even if they are not doing any advertising or promotions.
It should become clear by now that marketing is not just a promotional activity or something you do...it is not a singular concept or verb. Marketing is actually an entire organisational system that is purposely planned to be aligned 100% toward the customers' needs, it's primary focus must be to satisfy buyers better than its competitors can by providing a better solution to those customers' problems. And this organisational system we call marketing needs to be managed by a person who understands microeconomics, marketing science and the best way to: first, work out what buyers actually want; and two, how to produce that thing in a manner that makes as much profit as possible. Marketing then is about creating transactions that exchange the greatest value possible in a market. The greatest value to a customer means the offering that removes as muchof whatever problem they experiencing as possible; and it also means the offering that puts them in the greatest gains in doing so...i.e. their ideal product or service. This is what represents maximum value to a buyer in any market...and this is what buyers are willing to spend the most amount of money on. To the business or non-profit, maximum value usually represents the highest price they can earn, but to get the highest price they need to provide the greatest value, something that even if achieved is quickly lost due to the constant improvement of your competitiors offerings as compared to yours. Hence, to buyers, competition is that force that continually improves the state of the art and it is for this reason that humanity benefits from major innovations such as new medicines, the iPhone and more efficient renewable energy production.
So how is it that marketing occurs as a natural consequence of every single organisation's existence, even if they are not doing any types of promotions, charging money or selling anything?
The answer is that marketing actually manifests through the natural things that all organisations must do (and this includes sole traders that comprise just one person) to simply operate. As can be surmised by the names of each of the seven parts of the marketing mix, every one of these marketing mix elements corresponds to an operational element of an organisation or one of its assets.
PRODUCT. This pertains to the actual core offering of a product or a service. This is essentially what you are selling; either the material good or the pricnipal benefit one derives from your service. Product also includes add ons such as warranties, optional extras, after sales service and packaging. It is within Product that marketing has the best chance at providing maximum value to potential buyers.
PRICE. This obviously relates to price, but it also includes technical pricing policies such as discounts, volume offers, shipping costs, payment terms, finance options and dynamic or discrimatory pricing methods. Pricing is improtant because it can remove what is often the major barrier to purchase for a lot of buyers, particularly if you sell large-ticket items.
PLACE. Place refers to distribution and sales channels. It includes decisions relating to how, where and when your product or service will be sold; whether you will sell direct to the end user or through a system of intermediaries such as importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers. Place decisions are crucial to the success of a product or service because nothing - not a single product, service, cause or concept - can be consumed if it can't be accessed somehow by those that would consume it.
PROMOTION. This is that part of the marketing mix that people normally associate with when they hear the term, 'marketing'. This contains all the tools of the Promotional Mix, including advertising, public relations, events, social media, posting articles, websites (although websites are also part of Place because they enable access and facilitate transactions) and all the other outwardly visible promotions seen by lay people.
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. This part of the marketing mix relates to those material structures and tangible assets that customers see when they encounter your brand in any way. These are the buildings, delivery vans, uniforms, shop counters, store fit-outs, furniture and the quality of the paper that your business card is printed on. Physical Evidence also includes the cleanliness of the surroundings your business operates in as well as the presentation of your cars and drivers. Particularly with intangible services where there is no physical object to prospective buyers to inspect, Physical Evidence is very important because it (along with Price) provide the most meaningful cue by which buyers assess your offering against your competitors'. Branding consistency between Physical Evidence and Promotion is crucial.
PEOPLE. The persons that make up the living part of your organisation often provide the strongest cue to potential buyers of services, perhaps even more so than Physical Evidence. Irrespective of how perfect every other part of the marketing mix is, if you are not getting your People right, you are a marketing failure and will never realise your full commercial potential. A rude or uninformed employee will kill an otherwise guaranteed sale, in the blink of an eye. If a buyer does not feel an appropriate level of confidence in that employee's knowledge, or senses disinterest or apathy coming from that employee, they will walk away from a deal without hesitation in almost every single instance. Similarly, even if your employees are well meaning, but lack technical selling skills, they will never bring to fruition the full commercial potential of your business, because they aren't following the natural sales process that buyers go through. Hence, sales training is so, so important.
PROCESS. This is another critically important part of the marketing mix and often the deal-breaker for many potential buyers. Process refers to all the different way that you make people interact with your brand or with your organisation. It is imperative that you ensure every step that people take, every emotion you make them experience, every piece of information you make them give, every second you make them wait, every extra bit of thinking they need to expend in order to find out, interact with, be served by, order, purchase and take delivery of whatever good, service, cause or philosophy you want them to consume...better be necessary. You want the easiest, most streamlined, quickest and least irritating way for them to buy or donate from you - and this applies right from the very beginning of their customer journey (e.g. discovering you) right through to any possible complaint they may have six months after you delivered whatever they bought.
The smartest and most successful businesses and non-commercial organisations will realise that in a ultra-competitive world where it is difficult to reach and win over buyers, the only true way to out-compete the other players in the market is to differentiate by using all parts of the marketing mix, most especially Physical Evidence, People and Processes, because it is these last three elements that are most difficult for your competitors to replicate, so use them to your advantage.
The best marketing strategy in the world is one that properly utilises all parts of the marketing mix. Being transfixed on just social media for example (which is just a subset of Promotion) or focussing only on lowering your Price (a downward spiral towards commercial death) represents a narrow, self-defeating approach to marketing. Sadly, many businesses and non-profits suffer from this, largely because of ignorance of the entire marketing mix. That is why it is essential that whoever you entrust your businesses' marketing to is properly qualified in marketing with a Bachelor of Marketing degree with a full understanding of how the different aspects of the marketing mix affect commercial outcomes; and have actual quantitative knowledge of the microeconomics of how markets work and understand the markeing science behind actual consumer behaviour and the psychology of brand salience and how advertising works. If your marketing is not being managed a person with this level of knowledge, then it is akin to your business trundling along, running on just one cylinder.
Logically then the best marketing strategy in the world is a holistic one; marketing that is professionally planned in an integrated manner, is expertly executed and managed by a marketing manager that knows how to interpret data and to read the true needs of the buyers that comprise that market.
The Busness Firm is one of the best marketing agencies in the world and we use an holistic approach to marketing. We use every part of the marketing mix, utilising all the marketing tools in a manner that helps your business make maximum profit from supplying the perfect offering to yoru buyers. We look after all of the hundreds of different parts that can make up your organisation's marketing: from planing to advertising, market research to video, PR to events, digital to social media and all else. We can safely discern which of the myriad of potential marketing activities is best for you, so that you reach your business goals as quickly as possible, building maximum brand equity and market share.
We create world-class, modern marketing systems that scale seamlessly, allowing you to grow a large business that is easy to run. We currently provide marketing services to organisations in Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Italy, India and Africa and are helping new businesses, non-profits and governments from even more countries, every week.
If you would like a free 30 minute, no-obligation Skype meeting with one of our qualified marketing consultants, please book now.
Marketing by definition means that everything you do in your organisation (i.e. how you manifest all the parts of the marketing mix: Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Physical Evidence, People and Process) is designed in such a way that your organisation's output matches as closely as possible, the needs of the buyers in your market. That is, you are solving their problems and improving their position, greater than your competitors can. The firm that does achieves this ultimate goal of marketing will likely be the most profitable...maybe not the largest brand (because pricing is a factor for the majority of buyers), but the most profitable and the firm that represents the gold standard in your industry.