What is Marketing, and What’s Its Purpose?
By: Yong Paul
Marketing is a term that’s thrown around constantly, but it’s vague enough that most people could use some clarification about what it is and what it’s meant to do. What is marketing? In a nutshell, marketing is any form of communication designed to spark revenue for a brand. The messaging can be accomplished over a number of platforms, including online, print, and even word-of-mouth.
There is no official “right” way to market to an audience, as the answer ultimately depends on what the company is and who it’s trying to attract. Marketing for small businesses is often most difficult because they only have so many resources to experiment with, making mistakes more costly along the way.
Why Is Marketing So Broad?
Marketing is a broad term that can really be applied to nearly anything a company does. For instance, a company with excellent benefits for its employees will inevitably draw attention to their efforts. Employees are more likely to talk about how generous the company is, and this is likely to spill over into anything from Glassdoor to independent articles written about the company.
So even if a company is simply trying to give employees every advantage, it can be seen as marketing for its brand. This is where things can become tricky for a company because marketing can work to their advantage, but it can also work against the company. Even the most carefully constructed messaging can come across as disingenuous, particularly if the company has suffered from poor press in the recent past.
This is why decision-makers must realize how their organization is coming across at every step of the way, in even the most seemingly trivial actions. Whether it’s writing a thank you note to a prospective client or sending out a menu mailer in a neighborhood, it all counts.
What Are the Four Ps of Marketing?
The four Ps are often an excellent way to understand a more precise definition of marketing, as it breaks the word into more digestible pieces. While this mix of concepts was developed long before the internet, the principles can still be applied today to improve a company’s strategy:
- Product: These are the items that you’re offering to customers, whether it’s a physical object or a service. Companies need to figure out the need that the product fills in the market first before they can devise a campaign that will highlight its best features.
- Price: Proper pricing means looking at the raw costs to make the product, distribution costs, and marketing expenses. Companies also need to look at the price of competing products and what kind of advantage the company would gain by pricing higher or lower.
- Place: Place refers to exactly where and how the product will be sold. If it’s going to be in a store, the company needs to know what aisle it will be in and where it will be positioned next to other items in the store. Companies will need to know where and how customers will see their ads or product pages if it’s being sold online.
- Promotion: Promotion is how a company will integrate its communications and what kind of advertising it will favor. This can refer to anything from direct marketing to public relations to sale promotions. Getting this right will involve altering campaigns based on where the messaging is and who it’s advertising to.
What Are Some Common Types of Marketing?
Companies are likely to employ some combination of the following strategies:
- Internet: This may mean improving the visibility of a company website (known as search engine optimization) or running a targeted ad campaign across popular websites.
- Social media: Companies can now use anything from Facebook to TikTok to reach out to audiences and communicate in a language they’ll respond to.
- Print: Magazines, newsletters, fliers: there’s still something very intriguing to customers about something they can hold in their hands.
A marketing department might find its niche by posting funny videos on YouTube or creating high-end invitations to exclusive events. Or maybe the team creates pay-per-click campaigns as a way to generate instant enthusiasm for a new product or service. Whatever it is, there are ways to bring your brand to life across different mediums.
Mastering marketing, particularly for small businesses, is far from a straightforward equation. It’s why we continue to see the same questions again and again:
- What is marketing?
- How can you judge if it’s working?
- How should a marketing department integrate with other departments?
There is an infinite number of strategies to tackle, and narrowing them down is a task that not everyone is ready for. For every one option you eliminate, several more will likely spring up in their path. Part of getting it right means looking at it from a customer-centric point of view. For instance, if a company offers two kinds of products and one is geared toward a person with a higher income level, the marketing department would need to speak to the person on their level. It could mean the same company uses everything from different words to different colors to ensure that each campaign is successful.
How to Get Business Marketing Right
Business marketing all starts with finding out why someone will want to buy your product and how they’re likely to respond to the messaging that surrounds it. With enough trial and error, you’re bound to get it right. However, very few departments have that kind of unlimited time and money to throw at the problem.
StratGrow was founded to reduce our client’s struggles by providing consulting services that they won’t find anywhere else. Our product is highly calculated advice and strategic work that takes into account what a business does and why they do it. Marketing for small businesses means standing out above the competition. We can show you what that looks like in practice.