Offstage Opinions

Getting Marketing Right

posted Sep 6, 2017, 2:58 AM by Arnab Ghosh   [ updated Sep 6, 2017, 2:59 AM ]

So many organizations get it wrong! So many (more) individuals get it wrong! Maybe because they interpret the term quite literally. A popular dictionary defines marketing (the noun) as "the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising". While this is not entirely incorrect, it is incomplete.
Many people (I use the term loosely to incorporate individuals, companies, and all other entities this may apply to) focus only on the business of promoting and selling products part; and the advertising part. Undoubtedly, these are all parts of the whole. But to be able to get Marketing right, it is important to get a holistic understanding of what it is.

It Starts with an Idea

The Marketing journey begins as soon as the idea of the product (or service or organization - I will use product as the generic term) begins to take shape. The first two questions that come to mind form the foundation of marketing research. These are:
Who is this product for?
How will it be useful to them?
What else exists in the market that could satisfy a similar need?
The answers will define two things: (1) the competitive environment; and (2) the prospective target market(s). Delving deeper into this research will provide the basis for determining, first and foremost, whether or not the product should take life at all. Assuming the product is a good idea, this research and its offshoots will also pave the way for positioning, market segmentation and consumer behaviour.

Why is Consumer Behaviour Important?

In order to create awareness of the product within the target market and develop a favourable perception of the product amongst them, it is important to gain an insight into their decision making process. What prompts them to buy, where they get their information from, how they consume media, the impact pricing will have on them, and so on will determine the overall marketing mix.

Based on this information, the most appropriate media will be chosen to communicate with the target market and deliver key messages to them. How much advertising to do and where, traditional and digital marketing, social media interaction, email blasts, branding and other such decisions will impact optimal levels and frequency of communication.

Leads vs Revenue

An effective marketing campaign will: (1) get the word out and create brand awareness; (2) shape perceptions and drive brand recall; (3) engage the target audience with a call to action. All this will create a buzz and start generating leads. And then what?

The last piece of the marketing pie is… sales. After all the work is done in bringing the horse to water; a professional, compelling and non-intrusive sales process is the only thing that will make it drink! A perfectly good marketing endeavour can be ruined by bad salesmanship at this last stage. 

So getting sales right is equally important. That is what will turn all that marketing investment into revenue. Following that, a satisfied customer opens up an entirely new marketing channel. 

Marketing does not end there, though. Even satisfied customers need to be nurtured to ensure that satisfaction is converted to loyalty, and this (comparatively) new channel is continuously nourished and not allowed to dry up.

Every Step is Important

 From start to finish, every step in the marketing process is important. Without the initial groundwork, it will be hard to determine the feasibility of a product. Unless the product is properly positioned, the right target market identified, and their behaviour understood, even the best product might fail because the right people did not know about it. Even after the right people get to know of the right product, bad personal interaction with the customer can turn them away; sometimes forever. Finally, even after a successful campaign and a profitable deal, it is important to continue the after-sales marketing process to maintain customer loyalty.

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