Marketing: what exactly is it and why is it so important for your small business?
Marketing involves any action you take to put your service or product in front of your customers and potential customers. The great thing about marketing is that, when done well, it makes you money by meeting your customer’s wants and needs. Marketing includes researching and targeting as well as communicating with your customers. Some people think about marketing as advertising or public relations. It is, but it’s a lot more than that, too. Advertising and public relations are just a part of a comprehensive marketing plan.
With target marketing, businesses can pinpoint their audience. John McCarthy revised Neil Borden’s idea of the “ Marketing Mix” and observed that there are four variables within a business’ control to target their customers. These are referred to as the Four P’s of Marketing: product (or service), pricing, placement, and promotion. Where these four ingredients overlap, your target market can been identified.
Another model for target marketing is Robert Lauterborn’s Four C’s of Marketing. This model of target marketing centers on the consumer rather than the producer. The Four C’s of Marketing include Consumer wants and needs, cost to satisfy those wants and needs, convenience or ease of buying, and communication. For smaller businesses, using the Four C’s of Marketing is usually a better way to establish a two-way relationship with their desired audience.
Marketing comes in a variety of forms these days. The oldest and most familiar form of marketing is word of mouth, in which customers simply tell others about the experiences they had with a particular business, product, or service. Another form of marketing includes direct marketing. With direct marketing, businesses have direct contact with their audience through promotional material via mail, email, texts, and fliers. Some companies utilize promotional marketing through contests, coupons, or samples.
Marketing through social media has quickly become a popular means of marketing to customers. Larger companies have created special departments for social media marketing where the employees’ main responsibility is to communicate with customers through social media. Another more recent form of marketing involves mobile devices, allowing for location and time sensitive promotions. With these and many other forms of marketing, creating a plan to incorporate them will help focus your business’ resources.
While marketing can be expensive, creating a marketing strategy for your business is crucial to your business’ survival. Using a variety of forms of marketing gives your business the best chance, but the form of marketing you choose should be based on reason and evidence and not picked haphazardly because “that’s what to competition is doing.”
To recap, marketing targets your audience and establishes a relationship with them. If you’re not marketing your business, your business’ growth will be limited and likely will become stagnant. Marketing allows your business to find more customers and clients and allows for them to find you as well. It’s what we all want, right?
Have you taken a hard look at your marketing recently? Are you doing more than ads in the newspaper or the occasional tweet? To be the most successful, you need a comprehensive plan that you can implement consistently. If you’re not sure how to do that, please email me and let me know how I can help.
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