Marketing is a pretty broad subject, so it’s no wonder many businesses are left at a loss when it comes to marketing in terms of what it is supposed to deliver and how to get started. In this piece, we’ll address some of the areas you should consider, as well as giving you an introduction to what marketing is all about.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is essentially the promotion of your business, product or services. Today, marketing focuses on consumer needs and delivering an exceptional customer experience that builds relationships and loyalty to stand out from competitors and grow or sustain revenue.
What is the role of Marketing?
Marketing is a key component throughout the customer journey, and when leveraged effectively, it can be hugely beneficial to businesses. The lifecycle stages themselves have been coined differently by experts, but broadly they cover:
- Awareness – making people aware of your brand or product.
- Interest – providing information to potential customers to help them learn more about your business.
- Decision – helping customers to compare your products or services with substitutes and competitors before making a decision.
- Action – helping customers choose you and your products or services over your competitors.
At the purchase or action stage, it’s down to sales or customer service to use collateral provided by your marketing team to help convert the sale and turn them into a customer.
Post-sale, marketing and customer service work together to keep customers engaged, build loyalty and create advocates that actively promote your products or services to other potential customers.
How do I get started with Marketing?
Now that you have a better understanding of marketing and its role, it’s time to apply it to your business.
Here are four broad ways that an organisation might use marketing to support its objectives:
- To increase revenue from its existing market.
- To introduce a new product or service to its existing market.
- To introduce an existing product or service to a new market.
- To break out into a new market with a new product or service.
Typically, an organisation’s primary objectives are to increase revenue through new or repeat business. Before you start with any marketing activity (i.e., social media campaigns, email marketing etc.), it’s important to lay the groundwork to ensure you’re investing in the right types of activity with a clear focus. We’ve broken this down into three steps for you to follow:
#1 What’s going on in the market?
A situational analysis is important to highlight potential opportunities or challenges in the environment that could help or hinder your marketing activity. Broad examples of this might include:
- A lack of internal processes, skills or vision.
- A change in consumer behaviour.
- A new competitor or intense competitive rivalry – especially for those of you operating in saturated markets.
- Disruption and changes in the external environment, including new technologies, a change in regulation, a social cause or rising interest rates, etc.
These are things to be aware of that could impact your overall business strategy. It’s also important that you don’t ignore this stage; otherwise, you risk wasting your marketing investment.
#2 Who are your competitors?
You probably already know who your direct competitors are, but it’s equally important to understand who your indirect, substitute and potential competitors might be. You can then use this information later to help you effectively position your business and target your audience.
Learn more about how to define your competitors.
#3 Who is your target audience?
You might already have some internal assumptions about who your audience or current customers are, but at this stage, you want to use research to back up your thoughts and explore any potential untapped markets.
- Who are your current customers?
- How can the current market be broken up? This means breaking up the wider market into smaller sections by:
- Which of these segments do you want to target?
- How will you position your business to target these segments? (i.e., high quality and high price). This is where you might want to consider which competitors are also targeting these segments and how they position themselves.
Learn more about how to define your target audience.
Choosing your Marketing approach
Now that you’ve successfully researched your market, you’ll be in a much better, more informed position to start allocating time, resources and budget to specific marketing activities.
Before you get started, we highly recommend setting out your objectives (what you want your marketing activity to achieve). This will help provide focus. Once your goals have been set, you can determine which marketing channels (LinkedIn, PPC, email etc.) you’re going to use, which metrics will help you measure their performance in line with your objectives and then which tools you’ll need to help you monitor these metrics.
For example, if your objective is to increase customer engagement, then you might want to use email marketing as one of your channels, measuring key metrics such as click-through rates through a tool like MailChimp.
Your objectives and target audience will determine the marketing channels you choose. Below we’ve listed several areas for you to consider.
Paid, owned and earned media
Owned media refers to channels you control as a company, including your website, blog, video content, blog content, email marketing, webinars and other resources such as eBooks and whitepapers.
Earned media is when people outside of your company share information about what you do without paying them to do so, such as reviews, social posts, blog content, guest content, or webinars.
Paid media is where you spend money to promote your business, including paid search (PPC), influencers, radio, TV, newspaper or magazine adverts, social media advertising, events and exhibitions, leaflets, display advertising, and retargeting or remarketing.
The type of media you choose to invest in will be determined by your audience, objectives, and budget.
Once you’ve decided which marketing activity you’re going to invest in, it’s essential to make sure you can monitor and track their performance to determine if your efforts have been worthwhile. Which tool you choose will be reflective of which channels you use.
We’d also recommend putting some serious thought into which metrics you want to measure, as this will also determine the tool you use. You should steer clear of vanity metrics such as impressions or social followers and focus more on conversion rate, cost-per-click, and shares, but again, this will be largely dependent on your goals as a business.
You’ll notice that a lot of this content is highly dependent on your business and its goals. That’s because marketing is very broad, and its success has much to do with the research element we spoke about under ‘how to get started with marketing.’ Anyone can schedule a social post or write a piece of content, but your success will depend on the insights you gather from research and adopting a test and learn approach.
We hope you found this blog useful. You can read more of our marketing-focused content here. Or, if you’d like to stay in the loop, register for our newsletter.