What is marketing? How can my business benefit from it?

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” – Chartered Institute of Marketing

Marketing is what you do that promotes your businesses and your products. It includes everything from researching the market to the ads you use to promote it.

What is the Marketing Mix?

The Marketing Mix are the tools a marketer can use to promote their business. It is often broken down into “the 7 Ps”, Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process, and Physical Evidence.

Price: Your product must be good value for money. This doesn’t mean it has to be cheap, price positions you in the marketplace in relation to your competitors. The more you charge, the more value or quality your customers expect.

Product: A product doesn’t have to be physical, it can also be a service. It needs to be what your customer want. The perfect product provides value for the customer, successful businesses find out what their customers need or want and develop the right product for them.

Place: Your product needs to be where your customers are looking. If they browse the high street it needs to be in high street stores, if they shop online it needs to be available via your website or another online vendor.

Promotion: Your customers need to hear your message. Whether through adverts in print or online, PR campaigns or sales calls, you need to reach your audience to deliver your message in a way that’ll make them listen. You need to give your customers a reason to choose you over your competitors, your promotion is how you tell them that reason.

People: Your business is made up of the people who work there and a big part of your customers’ perception is based on their interactions with your staff. Having the right people represent you is essential and as the old saying goes, people buy from people.

Process: How your customer receives your product or service is crucial to customer satisfaction. Identify where customers first come into contact with your business and ensure the process from there to the point of purchase is seamless. If you offer a service then this is how you deliver it, if it’s a physical object then this is how they buy it, if it’s a digital subscription then this is how they subscribe. Design your process for the customer’s benefit, not for your convenience. The end user experience with receiving your product will influence what they tell others about your business and whether they’ll return.

Physical Evidence: Buying something new from someone you’ve never dealt with before is risky. Customers will be understandably wary of your claims if you’re unable to back them up, use physical evidence to give them peace of mind. Physical evidence can take the form of a product demo or a free trial, giving the customer a chance to see what you offer in action before they commit to buying. Alternatively it can be testimonials and reviews from previous customers, providing social proof that your company delivers on your promise.

What is a marketing strategy?

Your marketing strategy is the part of your business plan that outlines your coordinated and considered approach to attracting new business and increasing customer retention. Conducting market research into your competition and what your target market think, feel, want, and need; goes a long way when creating an effective marketing strategy. You need to define your unique selling proposition (USP); this is what makes you different and why customers will come to your rather than your competitors. Once you’re ready to write your strategy you need to incorporate the 7 Ps of the Marketing Mix to ensure that you address every element that will affect whether customers choose you or your competitors.

What is a marketing plan?

Your marketing plan is the blueprint for how to implement your marketing strategy in a specific timeframe. It needs to cover a multitude of different elements such as the marketing activity to be performed, how much it will cost, what this activity should achieve, and what actions need to be taken afterwards. A detailed marketing plan will help direct your marketing efforts to get the best return on investment (ROI), but it’s never written in stone. Your marketing plan needs to develop and change over time, so that you can flexibly adapt your efforts instead of rigidly sticking to a plan that could limit your ROI.

To get the most out of your marketing, you must know and understand the Marketing Mix, your target audience, and what sets you apart from the competition. You need to use this knowledge to write your marketing strategy, outlining what you need to do to reach your audience and maximise the effects of your marketing. Then you must use your marketing strategy to layout your marketing plan, detailing the specific actions you intend to take and the specifics around them. Check out our Knowledge Hub to learn more about marketing.