You have chosen a career in marketing and now it is time to follow up on your decision. After all, marketing is crucial to the success of any business. You have decided to study online marketing classes so you can become more competent in your job. The most reputable and accredited names in online marketing give you reassurance that your decision is the right one. However, before you start learning, it is important to understand what marketing really entails. Usually, people who venture into the industry do so with a certain amount of knowledge already. They have either worked in marketing themselves or know someone who has. Either way, they are more than familiar with its basics. It is therefore essential that you brush up on your general knowledge before you dive into the specifics. This post is an overview of what you need to know about marketing. We will cover key definitions, theoretical concepts and practical applications.
Before you dive into the nitty gritty of marketing, it is important to know the definitions. A lot of marketers get confused with the words marketing and advertising. These two terms are not synonymous, although they often are used interchangeably. Marketing is the process of bringing a product to market. In other words, marketing is the action of getting a product from conception to consumption. Advertising is the process of communicating the existence of a product or service to the public. This can be done through commercials, magazine spreads, billboards and so on.
Another important point to make is that marketing is often seen as a tasking of advertisement and sales. However, the scope of marketing is much broader than that. It also includes publicity, communications and even community relations. So, if you are unclear as to the exact role of marketing in your company, this post will enlighten you. Know then, that every role in marketing is crucial and equally important.
To give you a better understanding of what is entailed in marketing a product or service, it is important to look at the theoretical foundation. This is, in other words, the general framework or rules of marketing. The starting point is the economic theory of profit maximization. According to this formula, a business will try its best to maximize profits by satisfying consumer demand. More demand means more profits. The logical extension of this theory is to satisfy consumer demand in any way possible. This might mean increasing supply (more products to meet the demand) or lowering prices (to make more money off each product).
From the demand side, you must consider consumer behavior and psychology. This entails studying the habits and mindset of customers. To quote Richard Simmons, “Marketing is a lot like fishing. You never get a moment’s peace, because your mind is always on the move, analyzing data, drawing up reports, and so forth.” This is very different from the role of an executive assistant, for example, where you will be taking care of administrative tasks. In marketing, you are engaged in strategic planning, conceptualizing and executing marketing programs. These programs are usually aimed at driving organic traffic to a company’s website. The closer you get to the source (in other words, the people), the better. This is how marketers usually get into a state of mind, where they see everything as a potential marketing opportunity.
Once you have a solid foundation in place, you can move on to the next set of rules and concepts. Here are five pillars of marketing:
1. Product (or service) = Marketing Opportunity
The first rule of marketing is very simple. Products (or services) are marketing opportunities. To put it more simply, a product (or service) is an audience you can market to. When you choose to market a product, you have, in effect, chosen to target a certain group of people. This group of people may or may not be familiar with your product or service, but they are definitely interested in it. This is why products (or services) are referred to as marketing opportunities.
The reason why this is such an important point to make is because a lot of marketers get so caught up in the act of creating an effective ad campaign that they forget about what they are promoting. They focus too much on the words to the campaign and not enough on the action of marketing. Action, as we saw in the previous paragraph, includes everything from introducing a product to market to satisfying demand. When you choose a product to promote, you are essentially saying that you believe there is an audience out there who might enjoy (or benefit from) the product. This is the starting point of every marketing campaign.
To give you some more food for thought, what is the biggest difference between a product and a service? To answer this question, let us take a quick stroll through the history of marketing. When most people think of marketing, they usually think of selling a product. However, this is only one side of the story.
When it comes to marketing, products are indeed products. However, services are also marketing opportunities. Think about it this way. When you choose a service to market, you are basically saying that you believe there is someone out there who needs (or might need) the service. This is similar to opting to sell a product, but with the key difference that the target audience is usually much smaller. Usually, a service is targeted towards a smaller audience. As a result, the cost of acquiring that audience is usually lower for services.
2. Customer = Person You Are Marketing To
The second important point to make about marketing is that customers are people you are marketing to. This is an important point because a lot of marketers get so lost in the world of products that they forget about the people. When you choose a product to market, you are saying that you believe there is an audience of people who might enjoy (or need) the product. As a marketer, it is of paramount importance to remember that this is a two-way street.
Just because you are marketing a product (or service), it does not mean that the people you are marketing to will automatically buy your product (or service). Just to reaffirm, when you opt to market a product (or service), you are choosing to target a certain group of people. This group of people may or may not be familiar with your product or service, but they are definitely interested in it. Now, it is up to you to convince them to buy your product (or service). To quote Richard Simmons again, “Marketing is a funny thing. You never get a second chance at a first impression, so it is very important that you put your best foot forward.” Just ensure that you do not do or say anything to insult the intelligence of your audience. If you want to succeed as a marketer, you have to remember that there are people out there who are smarter than you, who can spot a disingenuous sales pitch a mile away.
3. Sales = How Do You Plan on Obtaining Customers?
The third important point to make about marketing is that sales are how you plan on obtaining customers. When you choose to market a product (or service), you are saying that you believe there is an audience of people who might enjoy (or need) the product. As we established earlier, customers are people you are marketing to. However, the important distinction to make here is whether you intend to sell the product to these people yourself, or whether you intend to outsource the sale to someone else. When you choose the latter, you are entering the world of sales.
To return to our original discussion, when you choose a product to market, you are saying that you believe there is an audience of people who might enjoy (or need) the product. However, you do not intend to sell the product to those people yourself. Instead, you will outsource the sale to a business broker or a direct sales team. Sometimes, this distinction can be a little blurry. For example, if you are a local business who decides to market a product in your area, you are in effect choosing to outsource the sale to someone else. Nevertheless, the basic principle remains. You are choosing to outsource the sale in order to obtain customers.
Depending on your particular situation and the type of product or service you are promoting, there are a few different ways you can go about selling your product. You could choose to sell the product directly to the customer, you could choose to sell the product to a business partner, you could choose to sell the product to a reseller, or you could choose to sell the product through an online marketplace. Each of these options entails a different set of rules and considerations. It is therefore essential that you familiarize yourself with the differences. A business owner who decides to switch gears from being a distributor to becoming a reseller might have to make some significant adjustments. This is why it is so important to understand what your plan is before you dive into the nitty gritty of marketing. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle.