“Marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.” Philip Kotler
For many people marketing is synonymous with sales. In reality, however, sales is only the tip of the iceberg. Sales can only be successful when forming part of a bigger picture. How is your company or product viewed and valued? Are you attracting new clients? Are you holding on to your existing clients? Is you website generating the traffic you had hoped for? Are you just selling without making the profits you envisioned? All of these questions should form part of your business’ regular marketing audit.
At the end of the day, marketing is a strategic function which should have long-term profits as its focus. First of all, however, you need a real understanding of the demands of the customer and a knowledge of how your company can best deliver value to the desired market.
The Marketing Mix
A successful marketing strategy should be based around what is known as the Marketing Mix, originally the 4 “P”s. To match the rising influence and growth of the services sector, online marketing and social media the concept of the 4 “P”s has expanded and developed. Now, we can refer to anywhere up to 9 core principles of marketing. The most important 7 to be considered are Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process and Proof.
Product/ Service: Does your product meet a definable need? How can you fulfil the demands of your chosen market and set yourself apart from competitors? This covers everything from the quality and design of your product to the packaging and branding.
Place/ Target Area: How can your product profitably be made available and accessible to the consumer? Are you aiming to build a national, continental or global client base? Here you need to think about which channels will be the most profitable for your business, the logistics of each and the value of, for example, retail outlets as opposed to digital sales. Consider where you would like your customers to see your product, and the image you would like to project with its placement.
Price: how will you price your product? Pricing is emotional, it requires careful consideration, obviously key to profits it is also closely linked to the perceived value of your product and the image of your business. It is important to consider your competition’s pricing methods and balance a focus on profits with delivering value for money to clients.
Promotion: how will you communicate with your existing and prospective customers? How can you convince, persuade and encourage customers to engage with your business, product or service? Your focus could be on social media, traditional PR methods or, most likely, a combination of these. How will you persuade potential consumers that your product is the best one for them, and how will you convince existing customers that your business is worth their continued support?
People: The biggest asset to any company is its people so it’s important to know how you can use them to your advantage. They are the face of your business so think about their knowledge and expertise, the culture of your organisation and using your team to promote your business through good customer service practices.
Process: Customer service is a key differentiator so making sure that everything runs smoothly and in line with customer expectations is essential. The day-to-day running of your business affects not only your work but also customer satisfaction. Ensuring, for example, that systems are up to date, orders get out on time and reliable channels are in place for feedback are all essential parts of your business strategy.
Proof: how can you show evidence to back up a strong business reputation and build trust with prospective customers? Proof of past success, such as case studies or testimonials, is crucial to building new client relationships and establishing a strong image for your business or product.
These elements are all important in the development of a strategic marketing plan but they are only a starting point. If you need help reviewing your business and developing a strategic marketing plan get in touch!
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