Marketing: What Is It and Why Do Companies Need It?

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Learn more about marketing and the different strategies that companies use to gain a bigger audience. Discover which marketing strategy that fits your company’s needs.

[Featured image]:  A marketing team discusses marketing strategies.

Marketing is the process of attracting customers to your company to generate revenue.  A well-thought-out marketing campaign allows a company to research, promote, distribute products or services, and sell for a profit.

Marketing is a way to promote brand awareness and create leads, which can become sales. Several strategies include digital marketing, where a company markets through Instagram, Facebook, Google, and its website. To generate leads, the company may run quarterly campaigns on these channels.

There are also other marketing techniques, such as content marketing, referral programs, events, and inbound and outbound marketing.

Read more: What Is Lead Generation? And How to Get Started

What is marketing?

You can think of marketing as everything you do to promote your business to get customers and clients to purchase from you. The basis of marketing is understanding your target customer and planning activities and offers that will appeal to and interest them to promote your product.   

These include publicity, advertising, building a social media presence, merchandising, and securing distribution channels.  

Marketing focuses on the study of consumer and market behavior. The purpose is to analyze how businesses can attract, acquire, and keep customers by satisfying their wants and needs.

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Why do companies need marketing?

To gain customers, you need marketing. Marketing is considering every step of delivering a product or service to a customer; this includes deciding which products to sell, where to sell, price points, and managing promotion.

A marketing strategy is specific to the needs of the product or service and the target audience. 

Establishing credibility and building trust in your company is most effective with a good marketing strategy and will help with the following:

1. Inform consumers.

Consumers in a competitive market need to understand why they should choose your business over another. Marketing helps inform customers about what you do and how it solves a problem they have.

It’s important to set your brand apart from others to give customers what they want. Through marketing, provide details about your product, brand, mission, and values and how it will improve the customers’ lives. 

2. Engage consumers.

The idea of marketing is to be memorable to consumers after a transaction. You cultivate relationships with the people who have interacted with your business to turn first-time customers into long-term customers to sustain your business. 

An excellent place to start is social media. Social media followers are more likely to look at a  brand's website or app after following the brand for some time. Social media marketing lets you keep in touch with your clients by retargeting them after purchases and views with social media posts or stories. 

3. Build your brand's reputation.

A marketer should understand the value of reputation since it may impact whether a consumer reaches out to your business. Marketing can strengthen your company’s reputation since it spreads your mission and what you offer. 

4. Effective marketing sells

A product or service that isn't known tends to be more challenging to sell. You can use different marketing techniques to attract potential customers and expand your target market. Email marketing can be a great way to generate revenue by sending emails highlighting new releases and social media marketing to post updates about upcoming sales. Online listings can also help local consumers find you and can build awareness.

5. Help companies grow.

Effective strategic marketing typically increases revenue for your business. A successful business educates customers, keeps them engaged, establishes a good reputation, and strategically sells to them. Marketing is a tool that helps most companies thrive by acquiring new customers.

The Four Ps

E. Jerome McCarthy introduced the four Ps of marketing in the 1960s: product, price, place, and promotion. These four Ps describe how marketing interacts with each stage of the business process.

Product

If you have a product idea, consider conducting market research to see if your product aligns with your target market and their needs. Use these questions as a guide: 

  • Who are your target customers? 

  • Is this product-market-fit? 

  • What message will increase sales of a product? 

  • What platforms are you using? 

  • How can your product developers increase the likelihood of success of the product? 

  • Is there any hesitation or question focus groups have about the product?

Marketing answers these questions, helping businesses better understand the demand for the product and improve quality.

Read more: Market Analysis: What It Is and How to Conduct One

 

Price

Your marketing research serves to inform your ideal customer's price. If your product or service is expensive for the market, you may lose customers. However, if you don’t charge enough, this may send messages about the quality of what you offer, so it’s important to gauge your ideal price point correctly. 

Place

Marketing helps you know how and where to sell your products based on research and analysis. Consider whether e-commerce works better than a retail store or vice versa. An effective marketing strategy can help you identify the best locations for selling your products nationally or internationally.

Promotion

The promotion process refers to any advertisement, event, or discount your marketing team creates to develop product awareness and interest to make sales. Public relations campaigns, advertising, and social media promotions can be used at this stage.

Read more: The 4 Ps of Marketing: What They Are and How to Use Them

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is a long-term proposal outlining the steps you’ll take to reach your goal by defining how you’ll reach consumers and turn them into customers. A marketing strategy provides a plan to follow, so objectives are aligned and steps are clear, allowing for the most effective marketing methods and practices to be implemented. 

Traditional marketing strategies

Traditional marketing refers to offline marketing methods, including direct sales, television, radio, and mail. This option may still be suitable for some businesses and audiences.  

Print marketing

Advertising in newspapers, magazines, billboards and local publications are examples of print marketing.  You can make these ads to look very appealing and get the brand's message across to a target audience. 

Events

Event marketing allows you to create advertising materials to showcase at industry events, such as seminars, conventions, and conferences. Creating booths and materials such as banners and signs can help attract attendees to learn more about your company and its products. 

To gain local attention, set up similar booths at other local events, such as fairs or festivals. Your brand can increase awareness and recognition by participating in sponsorships, like sporting events.

Telephone marketing

Telemarketing, also known as telephone marketing, is a way to sell products or services via the telephone. Businesses-to-business (B2B) and businesses-to-consumers (B2C) use cold calling or warm leads where a personal connection has been made and trust has been built. A telemarketing strategy allows you to interact with prospective customers and explain how your product can address their challenges. 

Digital marketing strategies

Your digital marketing strategy outlines how you will market your business online and through social media channels. This strategy will outline the online channels and marketing tactics you plan to use to promote your brand and will incorporate how much you plan to invest in each channel and tactic. Here are a few examples of digital marketing strategies:

Email marketing

Email marketing may yield a high return on investment (ROI). It keeps your customers informed about any upcoming promotions and more.

Email marketing is beneficial for its scalability because you can implement it on a large scale to target a larger audience.

Content marketing

Content marketing involves producing, creating, and disseminating content targeted at a specific market. The content could be videos, blog posts, social media posts, guest articles, or podcasts. 

Content marketing can convert visitors into loyal followers. Although keeping your followers interested may require regular uploads so, consider planning your content to achieve maximum results.

Social media marketing

A social media marketing strategy uses platforms like a company blog, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter to interact with customers, increase sales, and drive traffic to a website.

Influencer marketing 

Influencer marketing involves using people with a platform or audience to promote brand messaging.

Influencer marketing relies on celebrities, content creators, advocates, and even employees to get the word out on behalf of the brand.

Viral marketing

A viral marketing campaign facilitates and encourages people to share a message.

Content is considered viral when it’s shared and spreads to new audiences. 

Keyword marketing (SEO)

A keyword marketing campaign targets users based on the specific keywords and phrases they used to search. An advantage of keyword marketing is connecting marketers to their target audience with the right advertisement at the right time. 

Examples of good marketing campaigns

A marketing campaign is a roadmap to accomplish marketing goals. A well-planned marketing campaign helps:

1. Improve business performance 

2. Better control the outcome of marketing efforts

3. Build leads and brand awareness 

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A good marketing strategy can set your business for success. Whether you're a seasoned professional in marketing or a new entrepreneur, you can work toward mastering your marketing skills with Introduction to Marketing on Coursera from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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