Marketing isn’t simply an important part of business success
Marketing isn’t simply an important part of business success — it is the business. Everything else in the business depends upon marketing. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and several media and entertainment companies, puts it as succinctly as possible: “No sales. No company.” Here are the basics of successful marketing:
What Is Marketing?
The term “marketing” covers a lot of different activities — all associated with selling your company’s products and services. Advertising is the most obvious marketing activity, but so is consumer research, which better matches your product to consumer wants and needs. Product design, also, is a form of marketing, as it helps match your company’s products and services to known customer needs.
The one thing that marketing is not, in the opinion of some marketing professionals, is the sales act itself, which is the result of marketing.
Marketing strategies encompass these activities:
- Determining the need for a product through consumer research and by observing and quantifying sales patterns of similar goods in the marketplace
- Modifying existing products or creating new products to match consumer wants and needs
- Determining how best to reach potential customers to make them aware of your products and to persuade them to buy them
- Creating marketing campaigns based on your determinations of the most effective way of reaching customers
- Confirming customer relationships via follow-up sales campaigns and loyalty programs
Marketing encompasses not only determines consumer need, it also helps create consumer need. It really begins with understanding your potential consumer. One well-known 21st-century marketing failure had to do with U.S. companies’ attempts to sell deodorants in China. What these U.S. companies failed to realize is that, biologically, ethnic Chinese do not have the same body odor issues as Westerners. They also failed to take into account that Chinese consumers commonly regard sweating as a healthy activity that — among other things — purifies the system and not, as is common among Americans, as a social problem.
It is a truism of marketing education that marketing can’t create a need, but many marketing campaigns are based on creating an awareness of a product and the desirability of owning that product. What is important is that this _awareness creates the need. S_ome common strategies for creating an awareness of the product and giving it a context that stimulates a desire to own it are:
- Demonstrating scarcity. Apple, for instance, increased the demand for the Apple 5 by cutting off further shipments of the phone for two weeks immediately after announcing the release.
- Developing a “we” bond between consumers and product, often by announcing the product first to a selected audience, and inviting consumers to participate in the development of the product or product launch.
- Interacting with social media, such as responding to consumer comments, whether favorable or unfavorable.
Responding to Consumers With Ongoing Product Development
Successful companies don’t release products and then move on to new products. They stay involved with their current products, continually modifying and improving them. Apple has been particularly adept at this strategy, with frequent updates of existing software, backed by extensive, clear information releases about the updates. This keeps customers involved. Apple has one of the highest loyalty and customer satisfaction ranking among all major brands.
Finding the Shortest Path Between the Consumer and the Brand
As social media has evolved and has become an important part of the consumer experience, successful companies have demonstrated a continuous involvement in social media, participating with timely campaigns aimed at their audiences. Oreo, for instance, rated highly by AdWeek for social media use, has campaigns that tie into major social events, such as their Vine video series, which featured Oreo cookies starring in classic horror films.
Creating Campaigns That Respond Quickly to Consumer Preferences
Companies that respond quickly to consumer preferences raise consumer awareness and increase brand satisfaction and loyalty. Netflix, for example, uses other media, such as The New York Times, to spread and increase consumer awareness with lists of upcoming films and series.