What Is Marketing?
To too many people marketing equates to one of two things:
- Selling: with all that entails such as the dreaded double-glazing or financial salesman.
- Advertising: with all that entails such as the slick young creative and smarmy account person.
Of course marketing also encompasses these functions ? though, hopefully not as in the stereotypes that are in so many minds ? but marketing is about a great deal more than just selling or advertising.
Marketing is the wide range of activities involved in making sure that you're continuing to meet the needs of your customers and are getting value in return.
- Finding out what groups of potential customers or markets exist
- What groups of customers you prefer to serve ? your target markets
- What their needs are, what products or services you might develop to meet their needs
- How customers might prefer to use the products and services
- Who competitors are and what they are doing
- What pricing mechanism and approach you should use
- How each of target markets might choose to access the product, etc.
- How much customers / clients might be willing pay and how.
- How to design and describe the product such that customers/clients will buy from the organization, rather than from its competitors ? the unique value proposition
- How the company or products should be identified ? personality -to be most identifiable i.e. naming and branding
- Ongoing campaigns, which can include advertising, public relations, sales and customer service
All of this was characterised many years ago by Dr. Philip Kotler as the 4Ps:
- Product ? making what customers want
- Place ? delivering it via the channels they want to use
- Promotion ? making them aware of its existence
- Price ? making it available at a price they will pay
At the end of the day marketing is really about not losing sight of the basics. You have to be focused on what customers require as the outcome and then find out how to get there by
meeting customers needs over a period of time, in a socially responsible way, whilst making a reasonable profit.
Marketing is really a philosophy and attitude about customer focus that has to run through the whole organisation. If you get that you get marketing.
Easy, of course to say.
Frequently not so easy to achieve!
About the Author: Richard Hill is a director of E-CRM Solutions and has spent many years in senior direct and interactive marketing roles. E-CRM http://www.e-crm.co.uk helps you to grow by getting you more customers that stay with you longer. We provide practical solutions that pay for themselves. We help you to make sure that your marketing works.