What is Marketing?
What exactly is marketing? That’s a great question. Here’s where you’ll usually see, ‘According to Webster’…except in today’s electronic world, how many folks actually know who (or what) Webster is? I could of course go the Wiki route, but let’s not bother with that either. Remember, just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it real. Remember the ‘How many spiders someone actually eats in a year’ story? Yea, go look it up, the real story.
Instead, I’ll define marketing in two ways:
1) Marketing is a money draw. Accounting looks at marketing as a black hole — a place where you pour in money but don’t ever see a direct return on your dollar
- Why? it’s not the department that actually makes the sales
2) As a money maker, because without marketing:
- The ad department wouldn’t know where or how or what to advertise
- The sales department wouldn’t know where to concentrate their sales efforts
- Administration would never see a dollar raised
In short, Marketing answers the proverbial: Who, What, Where, When and How. The Why should be obvious…To make money!
Who: You need to know who your market is. And is that as obvious as you think? Don’t forget, although a product may be geared towards a specific consumer (i.e. males, 20-35, $50k+ income, single), your market may actually be a distributor, not the end user. So marketing is not just who’s using it, but who’s buying it.
What: What are you selling. Okay, this usually goes before the who of course, but the saying always starts with ‘who, what, where, when and why’. Is the what you’re offering enough? Is the color right? The size? Are the costs of production low enough to make a profit — or do you need to find a better source? Is there already competition and why should someone buy your product or service over them — and if that’s the case, what is it about your item that makes it better? Asking friends and family if they’d buy your product is not market research. It’s only a way to see who your friends and family are. Everyone’s willing to buy something until they have to reach deep into their pocket or purse.
Where: Where is your product going to sell the best? In the U.S? Elsewhere? What part of the country? Remember, snow removal products don’t sell very well in Sunny Florida and Bikinis don’t fare as well during the winter months in Alaska. Think location aware Search Engine Optimization, regional delivery of magazines, etc. Are you going to sell in brick and mortar stores or via the internet? Is this a direct consumer sale or are you better selling to a distributor — and are you willing to do both which means you’re in competition with your own client! And don’t forget TV ads — vacation trips don’t only sell on the Travel Channel, people watching the Food Network like to visit exotic places to try all those delicacies they see on cable.
When: Is your product time sensitive? Is there a better time of the year to offer your services? How about cable advertising, is your product better shown late night, or first thing in the morning while your client is watching the news and drinking their first cup of coffee? And does your budget allow you to have a few ads at a higher rate or many more for less, because you’re not prime time. And what about eNews Blasts, do you know the best day and time to schedule them for delivery?
How: Everything comes to this. How will you advertise? Print Ads, Direct Mail (EDDM included), eNewsletters, Internet (Website, Amazon, eBay, Craig’s List, etc), Search Engines, Local Newspapers, Church/Synagogue Bulletins, Flyers, Catalogs, Radio, Television/Cable, Word of Mouth, Door Hangers, Bill Boards, Promotional Products, Calendars, etc. Wow, yea WOW!
All of this goes into your marketing plan. This is where you put down on paper (or in pixels) the answers to Who, What, Where, When and How. Along with all the other thoughts that come to your head. Then work with a professional who can give you real costs to do each item, work out your strategy carefully. Maybe what you perceive as the most expensive is really not — in the long run. But maybe putting all your eggs in that one basket can become a catastrophe when you end up dropping it because you can’t do it all at the same time, but you’re going to try anyway. Don’t put that horse behind the cart — know where you want to head, where you want to go. That’s half the marketing battle.
Marketing is what you do to get your clients to want to purchase your product or service.