Back to the Basics: Marketing 101
What is marketing?
Marketing encompasses the strategies and tactics brands use to promote their products and services to consumers. Everything from market research to writing ad copy falls within the realm of marketing.
At first glance, marketing even a single product or service can seem like an enormous challenge. You understand the value of your offering – but how do you show it to consumers? And how can you ensure they actually pay attention to your message?
Let’s start with some basic marketing principles.
The four Ps of marketing
In the late 20th century, marketing thought leaders developed the concept of the “Marketing Mix,” a set of concepts and tools that help companies achieve their objectives within a market. At the core of this model are the four Ps:
Product: What are you selling? A shiny new business widget? A hand-crafted luxury item? Chicken tacos? Whatever it is, you’ll need to think about how to package or present it. Marketers should be familiar with all the features and specifications of the products they sell.
Price: To determine how much your product should cost, you’ll need to do some research. Learn how your competitors price their offerings, and understand how much consumers are willing to pay.
Promotion: These days, marketers have many channels through which to promote their products. From radio ads to social media banners, you’ll need to decide which are right for your brand.
Place: Your customers need to be able to find and purchase your product. Can they buy your product online? Do they need to visit a store? Additionally, you’ll need to consider how much inventory to hold and where to keep it. These days, inbound marketing strategies rely on engaging content to bring customers to you (or your website).
Reaching your target audience
You probably have some idea about who your target consumers are and why they might be interested in your product. If you’re selling a piece of accounting software, you know that your target buyer doesn’t want to spend hours every week making calculations by hand.
But you can only trust your gut so far: 45% of businesses don’t have a formal digital marketing strategy. These organizations toss digital content into the abyss of the internet without ever measuring their results or thinking about how to do better.
In other words, to be better than 45% of your competition, you need to conduct market research (read industry reports, monitor trends, engage your buyers in conversation) and then build a marketing plan based on the insights you reveal.
By doing so, you can determine which channels are best for marketing your offerings. Eventually, website analytics can help you tweak your strategy until it’s perfect.
Types of online marketing
Once you know who makes up your target audience, you’ll need to determine how best to reach them. Integrated marketing strategies create a unified experience across all platforms.
Some of the most prominent channels include:
You’ll likely need to use more than one type of marketing, but try not to spread your resources too thin. It’s better to have one or two robust channels than to have five unoptimized marketing campaigns.
Staying up-to-date with the latest marketing trends
A good marketer never stops learning.
Though the fundamentals of marketing may remain steady over time, the specific strategies businesses deploy are affected by a number of factors, such as:
Changing consumer demographics: Younger generations of people may respond to different appeals, compared with older generations. Customer opinions can greatly influence your content strategy.
Emerging technology: Mobile devices, voice search and other developments offer new ways for marketers to reach their customers.
Fluctuating market conditions: The global economy is in constant flux; what was affordable to consumers yesterday may be out of reach tomorrow.
Cultural shifts: Political and social movements shape the way consumers view companies and their offerings.
How do you forecast these changes? They can shift gradually over long periods of time, especially in the case of technology adoption. You can’t just put a finger to the wind and determine what the next trend will be.
That’s when you turn to expert advice. Blogs are a great place to start. Those of us embedded in the world of marketing every day share our experiences, analyze reports and make educated predictions about the future of marketing.
The MONSTERHOUSE Marketing Advantage
At Monsterhouse Creative Studios, we believe in sharing creativity. We can help you engage and connect with your customers through innovative messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device. Now that you have more knowledge about the basics of marketing, consider calling us 850.534.6599 to learn more about how we craft a winning website or about how we can connect your marketing strategy to your sales goals.