The common definition outlined in Google is: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and Advertising.
But I think marketing is a lot more than that, but I need to clarify that marketing is not sales. A sale is a by-product of effective marketing. A sale is something a business needs to survive but you cannot make sales without marketing.
To me, marketing is the activity for creating, communicating, delivering and exchange offerings that have value for customers, clients, and/or prospects. Marketing is about finding out what potential customers want, making it, putting it in a place where they will see it and then selling it to them at a price they will pay.
Well, not simples actually. Sorry. Hundreds of companies fail every year and 4 out of every 10 start ups don’t make it to 5 years old. Every sector is tough. Every industry is crowded and just because you have a talent, it doesn’t mean that this talent will become a business.
I have been in business for over 25 years and have worked in some of the largest organisations in the world (News International, The Havas Group, Euro RSCG) and I have seen successful businesses go into administration and companies I thought didn’t stand a chance make millions of pounds.
So….what separates a successful business from one which fails? There are lots of factors that influence this, but a key one is marketing. Marketing really can make the difference to your business. My advice is don’t rush to market with your idea or product. Do your research. Look at the market first. Who else is doing something similar, where are they and what are they doing? Who are they targeting and what is their price structure?
Then look at what message are they conveying? Where are they marketing themselves? How often, how? Will seasonal fluctuations impact on your offer?
Customers’ perception of your product (or service) is vital. You need to market the benefits your product will bring. For example, buy this bed as you will have a much better night’s sleep or use this solicitor to do conveyancing on a new house as they are specialists. Or, come to us for a haircut as we have the best stylists……..the list is endless, but features do not sell a product. Benefits do. Outline what you do and why people should buy it and this is called marketing.
Over the last 9 years since I opened Bath Marketing Consultancy, my agency has worked with hundreds of clients and they range from a bespoke cake maker in Bath to a high level sports company in Dubai, but each of these clients come to us with a problem; an issue. It is then up to us to provide a solution and to add value to the marketing elements.
A great deal of marketing can be done “In house” and there are many available platforms to use such as Social Media, but just because you may like doing design or know a bit about Facebook, this doesn’t mean you should do it. Play to strengths and bring in specialists to help and support you.
The investment you make in your marketing to get it right can (and often does) make the difference between a success and a fail.