In today's world, we see new and innovative products coming up daily. They have been advertised everywhere: television, radio, websites, social media, and whatnot. These are targeted and meant for us, the end consumers. Business organizations are involved in various activities like procurement, production, logistics, etc., to develop their products. But how do these products reach us physically, or how do customers get to know about the products produced? This is achieved by means of marketing. Corporations have a separate department for marketing research wherein all the activities related to the communication of the company's products and services are done. And with the advent of technology, it has become very important for every organization to establish this function in their business. This has become essential for every business that wishes to stay on top of the prevailing market competition.
In this article, we will learn more about what is marketing, offline and online marketing strategies, and how to create a marketing strategy.
What Is Marketing?
Marketing meaning or it refers to all those activities carried on by any business in order to buy and sell various products or services. It acts as a link between the business and its customers. In the olden days, there was no clear difference between advertising and marketing. But now, marketing is much wider than advertising, and advertising is just a part of one of the components of marketing. It is a whole concept of acquiring customers, servicing them, providing them with after-sale services, and retaining them for as long as possible. The 4Ps are something that every business has to focus on.
1. Product: The product is the business's result to customers. It refers to a bundle of utilities that customers get after consuming. The product does not necessarily have to be a physical good. It can be an idea, a viewpoint, an institution, a culture, or a geographical place. A marketer must completely understand the product, its width, length, and the line he is offering the customers. The product should be such that it provides maximum utilities as compared to its competitors. Branding of the product should be such that the customers find it interesting, and they must be able to distinguish it from others. Labeling should be done to provide all the important and statutory information regarding the product offered. Packaging must be done according to the nature of the product.
2. Price: After the product features and functions have been performed, the next stage is proper and adequate pricing of the product. For this, various things must be kept in mind. First, pricing decisions must be taken after seeking the competitor's product pricing. It includes the cost of production costs as well as the profit margin set by the business. There are various ways of pricing the products like penetration pricing, cost-based pricing, target return pricing, competition-based pricing, bid pricing, demand-based pricing, perceived value pricing, etc. For setting an appropriate price, objectives must be set, and demand must be determined. After this, the cost is determined, and competitor pricing should also be considered. Then, the proper pricing method is selected to fix the final price of the goods or services.
3. Promotion: Promotion is the essence of traditional marketing. Here, it is tried to communicate the product and its features to potential customers. There are various modes of promoting a product in the market. The first and major mode is advertising. Advertising is a paid form of communication wherein an identified sponsor communicates information about the product in a non-personal manner. Products can be advertised through print media, broadcast media, the internet, mobile phones, posters, etc. Another way is through personal selling, where customers are approached individually by the salesmen. Thus, a salesman must understand customers' needs, have complete knowledge of the customers, and have convincing power. Then, there is sales promotion, which acts as a link between advertising and personal selling. In this, discount coupons, gifts, free samples, etc., can be given to the customers to increase sales in the present and future.
4. Place: The last P represents a place, i.e., physical distribution. This is concerned with the movement of goods from producer to consumer. There can be different levels of distributing channels. In a direct channel, the manufacturer offers products to the final customers without any middlemen. In one-level channels, wholesalers are there in between. In two-level channels, wholesalers, as well as retailers, are also there. Finally, agents play an important role as intermediaries in three-level channels.
What is Marketing Strategy?
Once you understand what is marketing, the next thing you have to learn is the marketing strategy. A marketing strategy refers to the descriptive preview or blueprint of how a business will achieve its target. It involves various steps. First, a mission for the whole corporation must be made. Then, the business units are formed to implement this mission strategically. Next, various required resources are provided to these business units to carry on the tasks. After this, the units must evaluate and assess growth opportunities. All this forms part of a marketing strategy.
How to Create a Marketing Strategy?
1. Identify your goals
To go ahead with the strategy formulation, the business has to set its goals straight. These goals should always align with the business goals in the long run. For example, it has to be decided whether the business wants to increase revenue only, customer value also, or wants to acquire new customers as well. All these goals must be set in a way that can be measured to compare the performance in the future. Goals must follow SMART criteria. Competitors' moves should always be kept in mind while setting goals for their organization.
2. Know your clients
A business must be very aware of its clients. A business must know the potential customers for its different products. For this purpose, it has to be very focused on market research, where one gets to know the customer's needs and wants. Knowing this would help the business to keep track of the customers who might be interested in a particular product. It will make it easy for the business to deliver customer satisfaction at its best.
3. Create your message
When clients are well known, which section has to be targeted by the business, it should focus on creating an appropriate message to deliver to the customers. The message has to be precise, clear, understanding, and easy. Complexity would distract potential customers.
4. Budget Planning
This is one of the most important things to run any marketing strategy successfully. The budget must be set for the range of activities the business plans to carry out. Whether the business has a goal of market penetration or market development, diversification of its product range, or development of its product, every aspect of the goal has to be properly studied to estimate the budget for the implementation of the plan. What all costs will be incurred on these activities must be traced. With the help of this proper budget can be prepared.
5. Determine your channel
Channel determination is very important for a successful strategy. A business should consider all channel options available to them and what channels they have to teach according to the customers' needs. The place of consumption and place of production must be studied thoroughly. This will help to know the benefits of various channels for various customers. The pros and cons of every channel must be considered before finalizing.
6. Measure your success
After successfully implementing the marketing strategy, it is very important to measure the extent of success it achieved. For example, whether it met the set target and goals were completed, or there's some fault. This would further help the business to improve the mistakes in the next task.
Types of Marketing
With the trends and technology, several types of marketing have come up. They can be classified as online and offline marketing, which are:
This refers to the traditional types of marketing that were used in the past. These are still used in the present by some business organizations.
1. Outbound Marketing: Outbound marketing is where the manufacturers or sellers make efforts from their side to reach out to potential customers for their product. It uses the push strategy for working. Here, customers are continuously reminded about the product via advertisements, banners, ads on roads, and pop-ups on any of the websites. One example of this can be the spam calls that we often get from any random service provider for the sale of the services. This kind of marketing mainly focuses on attracting customers to the product. It is one of the most used traditional marketing styles that many business units still use. It is the simplest form of marketing. This is extremely useful as the customers learn about the various products offered with little or no effort. But sometimes, this can be disadvantageous as the customer might get irritated by spam messages, calls, and ads everywhere on the websites while working.
2. Direct Mail: This is also one of the simplest kinds of marketing, where customers are approached directly through emails. Various catalogs or brochures are shared with the customers at regular intervals of time. If the customer likes anything and wants to buy, they can place the order for the same through mail only. An example of this type of marketing can be seen when we see flyers of any new salon opening, and we just contact them on the given contact numbers to enquire about the services. Various promotional materials are delivered to the house of prospective customers, like flyers, postcards, catalogs, etc. This comes with the advantage that these can be personalized according to the customer's needs, and the area can be covered according to the business requirements. But it requires huge address information of customers, and it is very time-consuming. It becomes costly as every house has to be covered.
3. Personalized marketing: This can be categorized as an advanced version of direct mail. In this, potential customers are identified, and personalized messages are made to suit the particular customer's needs. The data of existing customers are retained, and new customers are added. This data is used to track consumer behavior and provide offers according to that only. Customers feel valued in this marketing type and tend to repeat sales. They feel more satisfied by the personal attention given to each customer. This helps the business to save its investment in wasteful activities. But this becomes difficult as the business must put so much effort into collecting data and maintaining integrity.
4. Partner Marketing: In this type of marketing, two business units collaborate with their resources to showcase their products in a combined advertising campaign. With this type of marketing, marketers tend to cover a large area of potential customers with fewer resources. As a result, market share can be increased, proving to be very cost-effective. Furthermore, two collaborating businesses pool their resources and can always develop innovative ideas. This proves beneficial for the customers ultimately. But building such kind of relationship is a challenging task. Recently, Uber and Spotify collaborated for advertisement purposes. This is a perfect example of partner marketing.
5. Telemarketing: As the name suggests, this type of marketing targets customers to sell products with the help of telephones and mobile phones. For this, marketers must possess essential skills. He must be aware of the customer needs and should be able to demonstrate the products according to those needs; otherwise, people are not even interested in listening to these calls. With this marketing, the marketer gets to have a more personal interaction with the customer. This enables him to create a good rapport with the customer. If the nature of the product is technical, then this marketing helps to make the customer understand it properly. But the greatest disadvantage of such marketing is people don't want to receive such calls now and then. People don't want to be disturbed and are mostly unwilling to talk. Apart from this, good quality telemarketers charge more, thus increasing the cost.
6. Word-of-mouth Marketing: This is more of a free kind of advertising. Customers who are very satisfied with the product tend to use and recommend it to their relatives or friends. Businesses can focus on this marketing by providing good services and handling the customers well. This will lead to a satisfied customer who will further propagate the idea of that product. It tends to be a very powerful tool, both positively and negatively because friends and family tend to agree with whatever the customer says to them because of their relationships. It may affect the business adversely if they don't like the product or service. An example of this can be seen when we accidentally say any toothpaste as Colgate and ask the retailer to give Colgate instead of any toothpaste because the brand so much influences us. There is so much trust that we keep in the brand.
7. Brand Marketing: In this type of marketing, businesses are interested in building the brand image in front of the customers rather than focusing on a particular product. The main focus is building the brand image, which will build the company's image in return. Customers are provided with the best possible services. This leads to customers' satisfaction, and they tend to bend toward the brand. Brand loyalty is maintained. With this marketing, customer loyalty is maintained, and credibility is set for the product. But this marketing comes with huge costs of brand maintenance. In the initial stage, changing the customers' mindset regarding the brand becomes difficult.
With the invention of the internet, Online marketing techniques are becoming popular among people. It is called online marketing when all the marketing activities are carried out online.
The following are the various online marketing strategies that are applied today.
1. Inbound marketing: this type of marketing is the opposite of outbound marketing. Here, brand awareness provides customers with the solution to their needs. It uses a pull strategy, i.e., attracting customers towards its goods and services rather than approaching them repeatedly. It works in the long term once the customers set their interest and trust in a brand or product. They always keep it like that. This great advantage is low cost; most lead customers develop into final customers. It tends to attract customers mainly through social media like YouTube videos, ads, etc., but it is an exceptionally lengthy process to set this marketing in place.
2. Search engine marketing: This is a paid advertising method in which a company's products or website is visible to most search engine results. It is a form of digital marketing wherein the marketer tends to increase the visibility of the websites by appearing on users' search results. It becomes quite easy to target an audience with this marketing, and performance can be measured effectively. Brand awareness can be spread in very less time by increasing visibility. Whenever we search anything on google, we see that in the initial links, it is labeled as 'AD,' which means that a particular website has paid google to show itself at the top of the search results. There's extremely high competition in this marketing, plus it involves huge costs in the long term.
3. Content marketing: as the name suggests, this marketing tends to attract customers by creating various informative, interesting content in the form of blogs or articles. They share the same on various platforms. This makes the customers think about the business and its products positively. It tends to build strong relationships with customers by delivering appropriate content online. The advantages include customer trust and lead conversion, and the converted customers tend to stay with the firm for an exceptionally long period. Finding proper content ideas can be incredibly challenging for businesses, and developing this marketing form takes a lot of time.
4. Affiliate marketing: In this type of marketing, businesses are responsible for promoting their products and services online using various digital platforms. They pay the third party in case of any lead or sale. The third party or affiliates earn by transferring the traffic towards the company's website and making money whenever any sale is made. It offers low cost as the only commission of the sale has to be paid. It requires little investment and requires no control. It is very flexible to bring leads to the company's website. However, there is a disadvantage in the fact that this marketing doesn't give confirmed revenue. Moreover, the company has no control over the customer base.
5. Social media marketing: This marketing can simply be defined as using various social media platforms to advertise a company's goods and services. It focuses on diverting the behavior of the consumer positively. It has become extremely popular among business organizations cause of the increasing use of social media in every sphere. People spend a lot of time on social media, so it becomes easy to catch customers' attention on social media platforms. You can use hashtags for twitter and Instagram to get more reach and followers. It is particularly important in increasing customer brand awareness and returns sales. We see celebrities using any product and uploading a reel or a short video. It means they are using social media for this advertisement.
6. Email marketing: This can be understood as the digitalized version of direct mail marketing. When the company uses electronic mail to communicate about its products and services, it is called email marketing. This can be well understood with an example. Whenever we buy something online from any website or shopping application, we see that after buying, they keep sending us personalized and generalized emails regarding any new product. This is based on the customers' purchase history and viewed items. In this way, marketers tend to communicate their products to potential customers.
7. Mobile marketing: When advertising takes place with the help of mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, or any such device, it is considered mobile marketing. It combines multiple marketing techniques on mobile phones or without the internet. For example, sometimes we get SMS and MMS from various websites regarding their products. We also get messages from banks regarding any new banking service. All these are examples of mobile marketing. It is very convenient to use.
Importance of Marketing in Business
- Helps in business planning and decision making: Marketing helps in business planning as it helps to shape the product from its production to it reaching the customers. The 4Ps of marketing help the business to make sure what alternatives are better for the growth of the business and help to make decisions that prove beneficial for the customers.
- Product development: The product part of the 4Ps provides alternatives for developing the product regarding its branding, labeling, packaging, and how it should be brought into the market. Moreover, customer feedback and market research provide a blueprint of how the product has to be further modified to suit the needs of the consumers.
- Effective consumer engagement: with the use of various platforms online and offline, the company can gain consumer engagement in some form or another. In personal selling, for example, salesmen interact with the customers and get to know their needs.
- Builds relationships among customers: marketing always tries to establish a cordial relationship with the customers. Modern marketing deals with the customers as they are the king. Hence continuous efforts make customers satisfied. And this helps them stay with the brand or company for a long time.
- Marketing creates revenue options: When marketing techniques convert the leads to actual sales. It ultimately increases revenue. Hence, marketing is crucial to generating and increasing revenue by communicating the products with potential customers.
- Set better goals for your business: Marketing helps the business know about the customers' demands and needs. They could set their goals according to these.
- Build a reputation for your brand: effective marketing tends to impact the customers' minds. Hence, they build brand awareness among them.
Objectives of Marketing
- Customer satisfaction: Customer satisfaction is the main objective of marketing because only a satisfied customer will remain loyal to the company for an extended period.
- Create demand: Marketing increases the demand for the marketed product or service. Therefore, it tends to develop the customers' interest and attract them to the products.
- Build organizational goodwill: marketing tends to build and maintain the organization's goodwill by understanding the customer's preferences and delivering the same to them.
- Ensure profitability: Profitability is ensured in marketing by continuously monitoring various activities and combined efforts of the whole team of marketers.
- Enhance product quality: Marketing involves market research and tends to know about customer preferences. This helps the organization to enhance product quality and serve the customers better.
- Increase sales volume: All the objectives lead to an increment in the sales volume of the proposed products and services.
- Create time and place utility: Marketing tends to create time utility by providing auxiliaries like warehousing, performed as a function under physical distribution. On the other hand, place utility is created by providing transportation as a function under distribution channels.
Hence, marketing greatly influences a company's products and services. Therefore, marketing is not just a function but a need for every business today. This is why businesses now have a separate department for marketing research because, without marketing, a business cannot grow and compete with other businesses.
Wrapping It Up
By now we've understood what is marketing is and how it is important for any business. Marketing is a very crucial aspect of any business. For a business to flourish in its sector, it must grab its target audience's attention without fail. For a marketing strategist to grow a business, they need to know how the brands work, how the audience views the brand, etc. Of course, one can always take an online course and learn marketing basics. KnowledgeHut online courses offer in-depth knowledge in one go!