In last week’s blog post, we explored how companies choose their target markets, and we deepened our understanding of how a correct and specific target market can contribute to a company’s success. But after we identify our target market, what should we do to attract customers and publicize ourselves? Marketing, is the answer we need. Starting this week, we will dive into the topic of marketing and examine how we can advertise ourselves in an efficient and attractive way. Today we will learn about the definition of marketing and discuss the importance of it. Now let’s get right into it!
First, what is marketing? According to Investopedia, marketing refers to “the activities of a company associated with buying or selling a product and service.” It includes “advertising, selling and delivering products to people,” as people who work in the marketing department “try to get the attention of target audiences by using slogans, packaging design, celebrity endorsements and general media exposure.” In fact, we can summarize such a detailed and abstract concept into a simple and straightforward idea – marketing is to use different methods to attract more customers and sell more products, thus making more profits for a company. Business Dictionary defines marketing as “the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer.” I like this definition, as it not only introduces the concept of marketing, but also shows us the function of it – to turn an entrepreneur’s ideas into reality. Both Investopedia and Business Dictionary point out that there are 4 P’s that are essential to the concept of marketing – product, price, place, and promotional strategy. To start off the marketing process, a company should identify, select and develop at least one PRODUCT. Then it has to analyze the market and determine its PRICE. After the public responds with interest, the company should figure out how to select a distribution channel to reach its target customer’s PLACE, as well as how to develop and implement a PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY. These four P’s have, for a long time, been considered as four basic elements for a company’s marketing mix, and we will examine them in more details when we get to case analysis next week.
After we understand what marketing means for a company, we start to wonder, why is marketing such an important part for a company’s development, as we can always hear it when we talk about entrepreneurship and business? Well, the benefits of a successful marketing strategy can be surmountable and multifaceted. Chron.com provides us with a few examples of the benefits of marketing. First, the process of identifying a correct target market through intensive market research and analysis, as we mentioned last week, can be rewarding for a company’s development, as the company learns not only about the industry but also about its position within the competitive market so that it can make up its long-term goal. Second, if a company does not market themselves, it may have “the best product ever invented or the greatest service solution imaginable,” but “no one will know.” Marketing helps a company open up itself. It introduces the existence of the company to the customers and lets them know that the company has something beneficial to offer. Entrepreneurs should never “lock their great products in the closet to collect dust,” and marketing is a straightforward solution. Third, marketing also gives companies opportunities to interact with customers while interaction has become crucial in such a competitive business world. “Direct mail, personal selling, telemarketing, mobile marketing and social media have become prominent promotional tools for businesses to reach their customers in the 21st century.” In such a connected world, interactions help companies to improve themselves and provide better services. For example, Netflix quickly withdrew plans to separate its streaming movie and mail-order businesses in early 2012 after customers voiced negative sentiments through Facebook, Twitter and other interactive tools. Interaction created by marketing can keep a company involved in the ever-changing business world by allowing it to respond to changes immediately and provide most updated services. Last but not least, as we mentioned above, marketing can increase sales through customer retention and royalty. While advertising is often used to attract customers, personal selling are often added at physical stores to better persuade customers to purchase. And “follow-up customer service and relationship monitoring helps companies convert one-time customers into long-term, profitable customer relationships.” As many people recognize, the purpose of many businesses is to serve the customers. Marketing is a great way not only to provide services but also to develop healthy relationships.
With the benefits of marketing being recognized, our first week’s study of marketing comes to the end. In the following weeks I am looking forward to more understandings through a study of marketing strategies and streams, and some case analysis. As I said, marketing is a significant part of an entrepreneurship experience. We will spend relatively more time here, as it is a very interesting topic to discuss. Stay tuned. Peace out!