What is Marketing?
Marketing refers to any actions a company takes to attract an audience to the company’s product or services through high-quality messaging. Marketing aims to deliver standalone value for prospects and consumers through content, with the long-term goal of demonstrating product value, strengthening brand loyalty, and ultimately increasing sales.
Purpose of Marketing
The purpose of marketing is to research and analyse your consumers all the time, conduct focus groups, send out surveys, study shopping habits, and ask one underlying question: "Where, when, and how does our consumer want to communicate with our business?"
Marketing vs. Advertising
If marketing is a wheel, advertising is one spoke of that wheel. Marketing entails product development, market research, product distribution, sales strategy, public relations, and customer support. Marketing is necessary in all stages of a business’s selling journey, and it can use numerous platforms, social media channels, and teams within their organization to identify their audience, communicate to it, amplify its voice, and build brand loyalty over time.
On the other hand, advertising is just one component of marketing. It’s a strategic effort, usually paid for, to spread awareness of a product or service as a part of the more holistic goals outlined above. Put simply, it’s not the only method used by marketers to sell a product.
For example, Let’s say a business is rolling out a brand new product and wants to create a campaign promoting that product to its customer base. This company’s channels of choice are Facebook, Instagram, Google, and its company website. It uses all of these spaces to support its various campaigns every quarter and generate leads through those campaigns.
To broadcast its new product launch, it publishes a downloadable product guide to its website, posts a video to Instagram demonstrating its new product, and invests in a series of sponsored search results on Google directing traffic to a new product page on its website. Now, which of the above decisions were marketing, and which were advertising? The advertising took place on Instagram and Google.
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4Ps of Marketing
The four P’s of marketing, otherwise known as the marketing mix, are product, price, place, and promotion. The four P’s are meant to help marketers consider everything about a product or service when they’re deciding how to market something for their business.
For example, you can ask yourself:
How does your product meet your customer’s needs?
Where are customers looking for your product?
What is the value of your product?
How can you differentiate your product from competitors?
Thinking about your marketing in terms of the four P’s will help you strategize how to reach your customers.
When you think about your product, consider exactly what you’re selling. Is it a specific product? Or is it a service? Your product can be a physical product, an online app, or a service such as house cleaning. Really, anything that you’re selling is the product. Then, think of your brand messaging, the services you offer, and even packaging. When you define your product, think about what problem your product solves for your customers. Consider how your product is different from competing products. What features are unique to your product? It’s important to know your product intimately so you can market it.
When it comes to price, you have to consider how much you’re going to charge customers for your products or services. Of course, you need to make a profit. But you also need to think about what competitors are charging for the same product or service and how much customers are willing to pay. Additionally, you can think about what discounts or offers you can use in your marketing. When you decide on a price, you want to think about perception. Do you want to be known as a cost-effective option in your industry? Or perhaps you’re a luxury brand and the price is slightly higher than competition on the market. Either way, the language you use to market your product will be greatly impacted by the price of your product.
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When it comes to place, this might mean the physical location of your company, but it could also be defined as anywhere you sell your product, which might be online. The place is where you market and distribute your product. Remember that not every place makes sense for every product. For example, if your target market is seniors, then it won’t make sense to market on TikTok. It’s important to choose the right places to market your product and meet your customers where they’re at. Think about possible distribution channels, what outlets you could sell your product, whether you’re B2B or B2C, etc. At this point, you’ll need to think about how to market your product on all the various channels that make sense for your company.
Promotion is the bread and butter of marketing. This is when you’ll think about how to publicize and advertise your product. Additionally, you’ll discuss brand messaging, brand awareness, and how to generate leads and revenue. When it comes to promotion, keeping communication in mind is of the utmost importance. What messages will resonate with your target market? How can you best promote your product to them? Think about where, when, and how you’ll promote your brand.
To develop a marketing mix, you’ll need to think about how you can uniquely position your brand amongst the competition. The most important part of thinking about the four P’s of marketing is to understand the customer, the competition, and your company. You’ll evaluate your product and how to promote it. Even though marketing has changed since the four P’s were developed, the foundational elements of the industry haven’t. You can apply the concepts of the marketing mix to any type of marketing.
What Are Marketing Funnels?
A marketing funnel is a visual representation of the steps a visitor takes from first finding out about your brand until they convert. The most common type of marketing funnel is four steps:
1. Awareness: A prospective customer sees your ad, social media post, or hears about you from a friend.
2. Interest: They think you can solve a problem and want to learn more.
3. Consideration: The prospect has done their research and wants to convert.
4. Conversion: The prospect takes action — they buy your item, schedule a demo, or take whatever other action you want them to take.
The action can vary based on customer and industry — maybe you want them to make a purchase, sign up, or fill out a form. When someone does something you want them to do, it’s known as a conversion. The visitor converts from browsing to taking the action you want them to take.
For example, Think about the Amazon purchase funnel. There are several steps a visitor has to go through before they can purchase a product. Here’s how it looks:
• They visit Amazon.com
• They view a product
• They decide to add a product to the cart
• They complete the purchase
The first stage of the funnel is awareness. This is where people who have a certain problem get to know about your product, company or brand (because you are somehow related to that problem).This can happen in a variety of ways:
• They read one of your articles on Medium;
• They listen to a podcast where the host gives you a shoutout;
• They see one of your ads on Facebook;
• They search for something on Google and find your website;
• They attend a conference and one of the speakers mentions you;
• They watch one of your videos on YouTube
The second stage of the funnel is interest. At this stage, your potential customers are “hooked.” They’ve consumed your content, and now they want to find out more. They want to dig deeper into the subject. Very likely, they will begin:
• Refining their searches by using more specific Google queries. For example, instead of searching for “how to promote your website,” they may begin looking for SEO specific terms like “link building” and “on page SEO”
• Looking for experts and influencers to follow. For example, they may look for the “best SEO blogs” or “best SEO podcasts” to quickly get up-to-speed on what is happening in the world of search
The third stage of the funnel is consideration.
At this stage, your prospects know the problem. They know the solution. And they know you can provide that solution for them. Just because they know what you can do and how you can help them doesn’t mean they will choose you. Chances are: there are plenty of possible solutions for them to choose from. They will look at alternatives. This is
especially true if it’s a big ticket item.
Think about it: knowing everything about the iPhone does not necessarily mean you will choose it over the Google Pixel 3 or Samsung S9. So your job here is to convince them you are the right person, product or company for the job. How do you do that?
The fourth stage of the funnel is conversion. Your prospects are almost convinced you are the right solution for their problem.
All you have to do is to give them a final ‘nudge’—a compelling reason for them to click “buy” right now.
There are plenty of things you can do here, like:
– Utilize urgency. If a product is going out of stock soon, you can gently remind them. (Please don’t fake this!);
– Make sure the checkout experience is smooth and easy;
– Offer them a discount to persuade them to buy (by the way, this is not a strategy we encourage or use!
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing: Inbound marketing, marketers attempt to pull or draw the customer to the product or service, as opposed to reaching out to them, using modern marketing techniques such as social media marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content marketing etc.
Outbound marketing: Also referred to as interruption marketing, outbound marketing involves reaching out to the customer or the largest number of people possible to get the marketing message out there through traditional marketing techniques such as cold calling, direct mail, advertising etc.
Focuses on crafting high-quality content that organically attracts people.
Uses traditional non-digital strategies and jargon-filled messages to draw attention.
Blogs, SEO strategy, keyword targeting, social media, etc.
TV commercials, billboards, direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, etc.
Permission-based and relevant.
Interruption-based and often disassociated.
You’re always the main headline.
Stand out or you won’t be seen at all.
Integrated, cross-channel strategies.
Linear strategies with limited marketing avenues.
Educational, specific, useful.
Broad, forced, complicated.
Continuous and iterative.
Inconsistent and varied.
Data & Attribution
All digital and quantifiable.
Immeasurable and hard to track.
Digital marketing incorporates all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet, leveraging digital channels and online marketing tactics to promote and sell products/services and run marketing campaigns.
Most businesses and brands have a website or at least have a social media presence or digital ad strategy. Some channels that brands, businesses and organizations leverage upon include email, social media, search engines, videos, blogs, websites etc.
Types of Digital Marketing
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): With SEO, the goal is to optimize and improve the business website and its online content to “rank” it higher in search engine page results. It is the process of optimizing the online content so that search engines can easily read, index and rank them and show it as a top result for searches of certain keywords. For example, If you have an article about how to make an eggless chocolate cake, you want the search engine to show it as a top result to anyone who searches for the phrase “chocolate cake.” Hence, the amount of organic or free traffic on the website increases. SEO is about earning traffic on websites through free or unpaid listings. The channels that benefit from SEO include websites, blogs, and infographics.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Pay-per-click or PPC is the most common form of paid search marketing. It is a tactic of digital marketing in which the advertiser business or brand pays a fee to the publisher (platform running the add), each time one of their ads is clicked upon. Basically, PPC helps to increase traffic on a website rather than trying to get traffic organically. Commonly, these ads are run on search engines and social media. For example, Google Ads, paid ads on Facebook, sponsored messages on LinkedIn, Twitter ad campaigns etc. Some factors that influence the success of PPC ad campaigns include landing page quality, keyword relevance, quality score, visual creative of the ad etc.
Social Media Marketing (SMM): As the name suggests, this method is about promoting your brand and content on social media channels to drive traffic to your website, increase brand awareness and generate leads among current and potential customers, employees, journalists, bloggers etc. Most businesses create accounts and pages on social media platforms to share content, build a following, and establish relationships with customers. Most social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools, enabling businesses to track the progress, engagement and success of ad campaigns. Some popular social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest etc.
Content Marketing: Content marketing refers to the creation, distribution and promotion of relevant, valuable and consistent content assets for the purpose of traffic growth, increasing brand awareness, lead generation, and engaging customers. Content is created by playing between text, videos and images. The foundation of content marketing is storytelling and generating high-quality content that outlines customer needs, pain points and key benefits. Some common channels and formats of content marketing include blog posts, infographics, vlogs, podcasts, e-books, whitepapers, memes, pin boards etc.
Email Marketing: Email marketing is the practice of communicating with the target audience and sending various types of content via email. Email is used to share discounts, create awareness about events, promote content and direct customers towards the website. Emails also help to get subscribers, generate leads and even get product sign ups. An email campaign is most effective when the subscribers or recipients have opted in to subscribe to the content. Every email newsletter must offer something valuable to customers. Some common types of emails included in an email marketing campaign are blog subscription newsletters, follow-up emails to website visitors who downloaded something, customer welcome emails, promotions to loyalty program members, tips or similar series emails for customer nurturing etc.
Affiliate Marketing: This digital marketing method is a type of performance-based advertising. An affiliate, i.e. the platform/entity that promotes and sells other people’s products or services earns a commission for each conversion/sale. The affiliate holds no stock, fulfils no orders and does not deal directly with any customers. Sales are tracked via affiliate links to enable commissions to be calculated. For businesses of various kinds such as those selling physical products via an eCommerce store, SaaS software tools, eBooks and virtual training courses, financial services such as insurance, credit cards etc., affiliate marketing is highly advantageous in driving sales. Some popular affiliate marketing examples include Amazon Associates affiliate program, YouTube partner program etc.
Reputation Management: Also referred to as “Online PR”, reputation management is a public relations activity, focused on the practice of earning online coverage with blogs, digital publications, and other content-based websites to improve your brand image and build credibility. It is also about identifying negative press online and creating content to counteract it. Some online PR activities include reporter outreach via social media, getting engaging comments on your personal website or blog, engaging online reviews of your company etc.
Influencer Marketing: Influencer Marketing is a type of sponsored content where products and services are endorsed by industry influencers to publish posts or videos about the product/service on their social media accounts. Influencers are either industry experts or have a huge social media influence. Instead of marketing directly to a large group of consumers, influencers get out the word and drive the brand’s message to the larger market. A robust influencer marketing strategy includes macro-influencers, “power middle” influencers, micro-influencers, brand ambassadors, brand advocates, employees, and even celebrities, as needed
Activity: My Marketing Mix
When: during session
How: decide the marketing mix for your business using this table
(Name and describe your product)
(At which price point will you sell this product)
(List out the place(s) your product will be sold)
(What tactics will you utilize to promote your product)
1) Which of the following values does Marketing Deliver?
a. Brand Loyalty
b. Product Value
d. All of the above
2) Mark the option which is not among the 4P’s of marketing?
3) Which among the following is the final phase of the Marketing Funnel?
4) Select the option which is not a type of Digital Marketing?
a. Email marketing
c. Pamphlet Marketing
d. Affiliate Marketing
5) Rubina is marketing and selling a few products on a platform. She earns on each sale done and her performance & remuneration is tracked via a unique link. Which type of marketing is Rubina doing?
a. Content Marketing
b. Affiliate Marketing
c. Influencer Marketing
d. Social Media Marketing