Learn What Marketing Is and How It Is Used
Marketing is the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over those of your competitors. If you're not doing that, then you're not marketing. The key is finding the right marketing method and messaging to educate and influence your consumers at the right time and place.
How Marketing Is Defined
On the first day in many Marketing 101 courses, professors often define marketing as, "all the processes involved in getting a product or service from the manufacturer or seller to the ultimate consumer." It includes creating the product or service concept, identifying who is likely to purchase it, promoting it and moving it through the proper selling channels.
Business consultant Evan Carmichael does a great job of identifying the three main purposes of marketing:
- Capture the attention of a target market.
- Facilitate the prospect's purchasing decision.
- Provide the customer with a specific, low-risk and easy-to-take action.
With these purposes in mind, coupons, sales and even merchandising, or how products are displayed, are part of the marketing process. Since marketing is the cornerstone of every business, the overall objective is to sell more products or services.
The Four P's Model of Marketing
The components of marketing can be identified using what is called The Four P's model: product, price, promotion, and place. Companies have many procedures they must undertake to ensure their products or services are ready for selling.
The first stage is called the "ideation stage," where the idea for the product or service is conceived. Before products go to the market, companies must decide what styles, sizes, flavors, and scents they should sell and the packaging designs they should use. Then, marketing departments usually test new product concepts with focus groups and surveys to ascertain interest levels among potential buyers and refine certain elements.
Price is also tested through focus groups and surveys. Companies must know the optimal price to sell their products to achieve maximum return. One way to determine price is to set it at a level comparable to competitors, as long the company can recover all associated product expenses and still make a profit. If the company is introducing a product that has never existed, they must determine how much the consumer is willing to pay for it.
Promotion pertains to information that companies give consumers through targeted campaigns to generate interest in their products. Campaigns can include different forms of media, events, and more. Promotions usually have two purposes: generate leads for sales reps or initiate actual purchases.
"Place" in The Four P's of marketing refers to how and where products are sold. Consumer product companies, for example, sell to wholesalers who, in turn, sell to retailers. In the industrial market, the buying process is longer and involves more decision makers. Some companies also sell products or services on a local level, while others sell nationally and even internationally. Some companies only sell their products or services online. All distribution decisions are part of the overall marketing process.
Types of Marketing
Print, radio and television campaigns are types of marketing, as are direct mail, email and internet marketing. Companies that sell via the internet optimize their web pages, so they appear higher in search engines like Google and Yahoo. Newsletters, press releases and articles are also forms of marketing used to generate leads and orders. Some companies also use referral marketing to increase business, where satisfied customers refer others to a particular business.
More recently, social media marketing is becoming something that smart companies can't avoid when it comes to reaching potential buyers, whether it's advertising on Facebook or Instagram, or posting advice on Twitter with links to a website.