To many budding entrepreneurs, marketing might as well mean advertising. Given that we live in a world saturated by communications for every product and service one can imagine, it’s easy come to the decision that the only thing that a marketing person or team does is dream up new flashy posters, TV commercials or internet banner adverts all day.
That’s not to say that marketing people don’t do the above, of course. But there is a lot more work to successfuly marketing anything than simply creating yet another tired old commercial.
Understanding What Marketing Really Is
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
Given the general success of American companies' globally, this summary is worth taking seriously. As a marketer, you are primarily a communicator trying to have a conversation with your intended audience to deliver a message. For your typical company, this will be basically boil down to “Buy our Product”, but marketing is also an important part for non-profit organizations who have messages to spread as well. Charities want to spread a message to encourage donations and Governments have a long history of wanting to shape public behaviour through advertisments and infomercials. For example, the dangers of speeding.
Parlez Vous Marketing Bitte?
Success in marketing is very much about coming to know your intended audience whoever they may be. If you aren’t able to reach them then, the best message in the world is useless. Even when you do get to talk to your target audience, you need to ensure that what you say makes sense to them and appeals to them. Otherwise you may as well be talking to them in a foreign language.
For example, if you are a car manufacturer and you are trying to sell a people carrier to large families, you would want to emphasize how much space it has, how economical it was and what safety features it had to protect children. Emphasizing how fast it could go wouldn’t resonate well with the target market. By contrast, if you were selling a sports car to people who like that sort of thing, how fast it goes would be very relevant!
Knowing your market is key to making marketing work. First, identify who it is your product is aimed at. Then try to learn how this target market gets its information. Finally, compose a message that will resonate with them.
It’s impossible to fairly cover more than a tiny bit of the marketing discipline with a short article like this one. Tens of thousands of books have been written and professional bodies founded to advance the profession. What is most important of all in marketing is to have the willingness and ability to learn and develop your skills as your market evolves.