The term marketing means a lot of things to a lot of people. It is a broad term and encapsulates so many elements.
If I delve back into my Marketing subjects at uni I seem to firmly remember the 4Ps – Product, Price, Place and Promotion. And I think this is a very good start to understanding what marketing is and how it is so important to any business.
Product obviously is about what product or service you sell, and price refers to the cost at which your products or services are for sale. Place is where your consumers can buy or access said products and services, and promotion is how you promote them to your target market.
Easy! Anyone can be a marketer, right?
Often people think marketing is all about the final P – promotions. And, while largely this is the marketing that is seen and practiced by JAM Media, there is a lot that goes on with the other three Ps, that is worthy of a mention.
Large organisations have massive marketing machines (i.e. a team!) who live and breathe all things product, price and placement. They conduct market research, find out what products and services people want, how much they are prepared to pay and where they want to be able to buy the product or service. This is how products come onto the market and why old ones are refreshed and updated.
But it's all this marketing research that helps put together a strong promotional campaign. At its essence, promotions includes marketing, advertising, and public relations. There is that pesky P-word again, making everyone confused! Let's break it down further.
Promotional activities that fall under the marketing umbrella are things like email and direct mail, social media, websites and even promotional items like pens, caps etc.
Advertising is easy, oh so easy to define – print, radio, television, outdoor and online advertisements and commercials fall under advertising.
Public Relations is about building trusting and mutually beneficial relationships with your stakeholders – some of which will not be your direct customers or even potential customers, but people or groups who may be impacted by your business, products or services, or are a critical component to the success of your business. Think, 'I'm an allied health provider, I rely on Doctor's for referrals,' or 'I'm a construction company building next door to a school – I need to keep schools informed of potential disruptions like noise, road closures to be a good neighbour,' for example.
So what does all this mean for me and my business?
It means you need an integrated approach to promoting your business that encapsulates all its elements – marketing, advertising and public relations. Look for ways to build relationships with your customers and other stakeholders that opens up dialogue and information sharing – social media is a terrific platform to use. Look for ways to promote your product in the traditional mediums – especially if it's the best way to reach your target market. Build a website that's interactive – one that encourages social sharing, feedback, relevant information that is updated regularly – blogs are perfect for this and an added benefit is that they help build your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Google rankings.
At the end of the day, marketing is all about branding your business, building relationships and trust with your current, potential customers and other stakeholders, promoting your products and services and doing all this with consistent messaging across all of your marketing collateral.
To set your business up with a strong marketing plan, we strongly encourage you take some time to get thinking about your business. What is your product or service? Who is the target market? How can you communicate with the target market? What marketing do you already have in place? Who are your competitors and what are they doing in the market place? What are your short, medium and long term business objectives?
And, to help you along even more, downlioad your very own JAM Marketing Workbook below and get started on your marketing plan now! There's no obligation and it's free!