The fact is, whether you’re an oil and gas company, retail business, electrical contractor or any other business, marketing is always changing and always evolving. Starting with these four basics will help get you on the right track.
You’ve heard about marketing, right? I mean, people have told you that you need to market your business, market your products, market your services. They’ve told you it’s crucial—without it you’re sunk.
And technically, they’re right.
But have you every stopped to wonder “What exactly is marketing?”
Okay, let’s start out with a definition of sorts. According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Let me guess. You just said “blah, blah, blah…” didn’t you? Don’t worry—I did, too. So let’s talk realities.
Marketing is essentially this: everything that makes your target audience want to buy your product or service, and ultimately makes them feel satisfied about what they purchased. Oh—and makes you money along the way.
The next question then is, what makes good marketing, and where do you start when you’re looking to start—or build—your business?
1. Know your audience. If you don’t know what your potential customers want, there’s no way to give it to them. You need to know their problems before you can give them a solution. Is budget a concern? Are time constraints an issue? What do they like (or not like)? Find out what they need and why. Need an example? Check out this article about why you have to think differently when marketing to women, or this one about the unique aspects of marketing to the Amish.
2. Evaluate what you offer. You might think that what you bring to the table is the best thing since sliced bread, but there are a lot of other businesses out there who are thinking exactly the same thing. Part of good marketing is knowing what makes you different, and what makes you better. If you can’t see a difference between you and your competitor, then your customer won’t either.
3. Have a plan. Good marketing requires a good strategy. Where is the right place to sell your product or service? Who is the right person to talk to? What’s the right story to tell? What’s your budget? Who in your company is going to execute which component of your marketing plan? These are all questions you need to be asking yourself. (What shouldn’t your marketing plan be? This article tells you.)
4. Execute well. If you’re asking someone to buy what you’re selling, then you’d better look like you’re worth investing in. Start with basic tools: a decent website with good content and functionality, proper sales materials and a professional email address. And unless you’re in IT, a haircut.
The fact is, marketing is always changing and always evolving, but starting with these four basics will help get you on the right track.
Targeting consumers? Check out this great Fast Company article: Marketing From The Other End of the Funnel.