All business owners know that in order to continually grow the business, you need to focus on marketing. In all likelihood, a business will usually have a marketing team – an entire group of people dedicated to carrying out this essential act. This is just as it should be; without marketing, a business would hardly ever get anywhere at all. However, there is a central misunderstanding about marketing which is so common that it needs addressing. What’s more, it is a misunderstanding which causes a lot of small businesses to not do quite as well as they could otherwise. The myth is that marketing is just the act of promotion. This is nonsense; marketing is much more than promotion. Marketing, in its fullest, is the entire act of selling a product or service, with the small section regarding advertising being only a slim part of the whole. So how does this larger view of marketing play out in the real world? To answer that, let’s take a look at the whole marketing process as it appears for most businesses.
Marketing: A Definition
So if, as we have been saying, marketing is more than promotion – what is it, exactly. Before really diving in, it is helpful to have a definition on hand, one which we can refer to to aid our understanding of the entire process. Marketing is more like a set, a wide set, of practices and processes designed to build, expand, offer and advertise services and products which are seen to be of value, either to an individual, to society at large, or the business itself. Seen in this light, we can understand how there might be much more to marketing than we previously believed. So let’s take a look at some of the main parts of the marketing process for any business.
Product: The First P
To begin with, let’s take a look at the notion of the product. This is often referred to as the first P in marketing (the first of four, the rest of which we will look at later). When it comes to developing a product that people will find useful and enjoy, we are already looking at one of the earliest stages in the process of marketing. There is so much involved in the process of designing products that it would warrant a whole article of this length to itself. Suffice to say that when you are designing products for your customers, your main concern should be that our customers find it useful. Of course, later on you will be looking at how to encourage them to want it, but for now your marketing efforts should be focused solely on developing a product which is likely to be popular, to sell, and to offer something of value to people. In many ways, developing a good product is an essential first step. Without a product, after all, there is no way to promote or to sell, so the quality of the initial product needs to be as high as possible. With a great product, you know you are off to a good start – and already we can appreciate how much further marketing spreads, compared to the famous notion of it just being a case of promotion and advertising.
Next Up, Pricing
When going through the process of marketing, you should aim never to forget that money underlies every decision. Not only the decisions that you make in-house, but the decisions your customers make or are likely to make. To that end, we can see what might be so important about the pricing that we place on a product. The pricing of a product is really important, and for a number of reasons. One reason is that it will affect what kind of a profit margin you can expect, and that is a huge determining factor in your business’ ongoing success. Another main reason that pricing is important is because it determines who is likely to actually buy your product. It is not necessarily true that you want products to always be cheap; it depends on your branding, amongst other things. If you have branded your business as a luxury option, for example, then you are able – no, expected – to charge a higher price. Otherwise, people might be suspicious of your branding. Branding works by changing perceptions – see more on that at FlagshipDigital.com.au/branding/ – and you need to ensure those perceptions are accurately reflected by the price of the product.
The Third P: Place
We have seen the importance of both product and pricing. Next up, we have place, and this is one aspect which is often overlooked in favour of more exciting parts. However, placement is really important, and there is a good reason that it is one of the four central tenets of marketing. By choosing where you actually sell your product, you are making a whole host of decisions in one go. For a start, you are making assumptions about customers and their budgets, and you are also making a statement about your brand as a whole. You need to ensure you get the placement right, otherwise the whole thing could easily fall apart.
And Finally: Promotion
Lastly, we have that one area of marketing that we already know a lot about. Promotion, there is no doubt, is hugely important. Without it, people would not know about your products and services, and they would have no reason to find out. Promotion, when it is done right, can make a world of difference to how well received an entire business is, not just its products and services. An exemplary promotion strategy is one which is ruthlessly honest and yet draws in huge swathes of people with its rigid understanding of the product at hand. Done right, promotion makes the whole marketing act come together into one smooth complete whole. If you are unsure about how to properly promote, you might want to think about what it is about a product that people are likely to find attractive. This is often a good starting point.