What is marketing?
Marketing is the answer to the question of how to get a product or service to a customer. But what is marketing exactly?
At its core, marketing encompasses a vast array of strategies and techniques aimed at understanding and satisfying the needs of consumers. It is the art of building brand awareness, creating impactful messaging, and forging connections that resonate with your target audience. Through careful analysis and adaptation, marketing paves the way for businesses to thrive in competitive landscapes, driving growth and fostering customer loyalty.
By continually asking, “What is marketing?” we unlock the key to unlocking business success and making a meaningful impact in the lives of our customers.
Since the 1970s, there have been many debates about the term ‘Marketing’. A modern definition of marketing according to Wikipedia is: “the whole of the theories and techniques for marketing products and services optimally, by taking the needs and specific wishes of the (potential) buyers into account as much as possible when offering them. ”
Identifying consumer needs has become central to marketing. It is no longer sufficient for a marketing department to have knowledge of advertising, commercials, and sales. Psychology, sociology, economics and the creative arts also play a role in the field of marketing.
Consumer needs are the focus of priority #1.
What is the purpose of marketing?
The goal of marketing is to get people’s attention to a product or service through high-quality messaging. So if you want to bring a new product to the market, you need marketing. Also to promote a website, a service or a video, you’ll need marketing.
Marketing activities aim to deliver value to potential customers and consumers through a message, with the long-term goal of:
- demonstrating the value of the product
- strengthening loyalty to the company or brand
- increasing sales
Research is an important task of online marketers. In order to be able to answer the question: “Where, when and how do our (potential) customers want to communicate with our company?”, continuous research has to be done. This research should include analysing:
- the visitors of the website or webshop;
- the use of the website;
- the process of purchasing or making contact;
- the reviews and social media posts;
- how do visitors get to your website or webshop;
- what are people looking for?
By unraveling the answer to “what is marketing?”, we uncover a dynamic field that shapes industries, influences buying behaviors, and plays a vital role in the success of organizations worldwide:
Marketing is: Where, when and how do our (potential) customers want to communicate with our company?
The marketing mix: the 4 Ps
To get people interested in your product or service of your company, you need insight into the interests of your ideal customer. According to the old definition of marketing, it was mainly focused on sales. Therefore, marketing focused on the following 4 Ps:
1. Product (development)
Who is your target audience? Is there any interest in this product? Is the product suitable for the market (and which market)? Which messages will increase product sales, and on which platforms? How should product developers adapt the product to increase the chance of success? What do your target groups think of the product and what questions or hesitations do they have?
2. Price (and discount policy)
What are competitors asking for the product? How much is the customer willing to pay for the product?
3. Place (where is the product sold and the distribution channel)
How and where can you best sell the product: in a physical store, via a website or a combination of these? Which locations are best suited to sell the product through a physical store? Is international sales feasible and if so, to which countries?
4. Promotion (advertising, in-store sales promotions, publicity and personal selling)
What will the PR campaigns, advertisements or promotions on social networks look like to increase awareness and interest in the product and which should lead to more sales?
These four Ps are also called the marketing mix and form the basis for a marketing plan. A criticism of this model is that it does not take into account the purchasing behavior and wishes of the consumer and customer retention. In particular, the long-term relationship between supplier and buyer is lacking in this model.
The 7 P’s of Service Marketing (marketing of services)
For service marketing (also called customer marketing), the marketing mix consists of 7 Ps. In addition to the 4 Ps mentioned above, 3 Ps have been added for marketing services:
5. People (staff and customers)
With the right people in the right places in the company, you have more production, more customers and more profit. Without the right people in the right place, you run the risk of damaging your company image, getting unsatisfied customers, or not getting any customers at all. It is therefore important that you take a good look at your occupancy and whether they are suitable to meet the needs of your customers.
6. Physical Evidence (presentation of the company, such as company clothing, logo, letterhead, website, business cards, etc.)
What is the image that your company radiates? How do you differentiate yourself from your competition? Are you attracting the right customers? Does the packaging of your products suit your company?
7. Process (the process of providing services from customer to organisation and back again)
How can you provide a service that meets or exceeds your customer’s expectations? A task of your company management could be to record the operational tasks in (work) processes. This ensures that you and your staff are not faced with unpleasant surprises because you do not have enough people or that a staff member gives wrong information to the customer.
Types of Marketing
Marketing is a broad area, each with its own expertise. Below we list a few areas where marketing activities are applied that have their own specialty in the field of website promotion.
Internet marketing is an umbrella term for online marketing of products and services. Digital marketing includes marketing methods and platforms to communicate with customers, such as website, email, social media and online advertising.
Business to Business Marketing (B2B)
Business to Business marketing (also called B2B marketing or trade marketing) is aimed at other companies.
Business to Customer Marketing (B2C)
Business to Customer marketing (B2C marketing) is aimed at an individual or a group of individuals.
Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing can be disruptive to your target audience by offering them content they don’t always want, inbound marketing provides the information they are looking for. With inbound marketing you strategically ensure that you generate customers from the visitors of your website. Learn more about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing and the pros and cons of these marketing strategies.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization, or “SEO”, is the process of optimising content on web pages so that it appears in search engine results. SEO also ensures that your visitors find the information they are looking for (that is, if the content on your website meets it).
Search Engine Marketing (SEA or SEM)
Search Engine Marketing (also called Search Engine Advertising (SEA) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM)) is advertising on search engines, such as “Pay Per Click” (PPC). With this form of marketing, you pay search engines to be seen with advertising on pages that are relevant to your target audience. See the advertising opportunities that Google offers.
Writing content for your website or webshop falls under content marketing. This concerns high-quality texts that attract visitors and are optimised for search engines.
Social Media Marketing (SMO)
Social media marketing is also known as Social Media Optimization (SMO). The goal is to place optimal messages on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. This way you can reach your target audience, increase the number of followers, share messages, communicate with your followers and get more visitors to your website, which ideally leads to more customers and more sales.
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy for sending emails to prospects and customers. Effective email marketing with a newsletter, for example, can convert potential customers into customers and you can ensure that one-time buyers become loyal, enthusiastic fans of your product or service.
In addition to written content, video marketing has become an indispensable part of the marketing world. If you want publicity, you can start a vlog or podcast or record a video and post it on Youtube and/or Vimeo. You can then discuss topics related to your products or services and help your visitors.
Despite the fact that internet use has increased enormously, there are plenty of people reading newspapers and magazines that are coming off the printing press. The printed form can also be important for companies to place advertisements or sponsor articles, so that they are seen by their (potential) customers and increase their brand awareness.
Which type of marketing is best?
Which form of marketing is right for your company or product depends a lot on your customers, your target group and the business opportunities you have. Where can they be found? What media platforms do they spend time on? Do they read newspapers or magazines in print or do they binge-watch videos on YouTube? Are they informed by reading blogs?
By answering these questions, you can choose to use one or more marketing tools to reach your customers, build your brand awareness and increase sales.
The Essence of Marketing: What Is Marketing and Why Does It Matter?
Marketing, at its very essence, is the lifeblood of any organization. It is the strategic process of identifying, anticipating, and satisfying the needs and desires of a target market.
But why does marketing matter? The answer lies in its ability to drive growth, cultivate brand loyalty, and influence consumer behavior. By understanding the wants and needs of consumers, marketers can craft compelling messages and tailor offerings that resonate deeply. Effective marketing not only builds awareness but also establishes emotional connections, establishing trust and loyalty that extends beyond individual transactions.
Moreover, marketing is the driving force behind innovation and competition. It fuels creativity, encouraging businesses to continuously refine their products, services, and customer experiences. In a crowded marketplace, marketing helps companies differentiate themselves, stand out, and establish a competitive advantage.
In today’s digital age, marketing has transcended traditional boundaries, leveraging technological advancements to reach and engage consumers on a global scale. Social media, content marketing, influencer marketing, and personalized advertising have revolutionized the way businesses connect with their target audience. Marketing has become an ever-evolving landscape, demanding adaptability and agility to keep up with the shifting trends and consumer preferences.
Ultimately, marketing is more than just a business function; it is a strategic mindset that permeates every aspect of an organization. It aligns product development, branding, pricing, distribution, and communication to create a cohesive and impactful customer experience.
In conclusion, the answer on the question “What is Marketing” is that marketing is a captivating blend of creativity, strategy, and analysis. It is a dynamic field that demands innovation, empathy, and an unwavering commitment to understanding and fulfilling the needs of consumers.
Through its power to shape perceptions, influence decisions, and drive growth, marketing has become an indispensable force in today’s business landscape. So, remember to keep asking: “What is marketing?” to unlock the key to business success and making a meaningful impact in the lives of our customers.
SEO, Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing for B2B
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Margreet Nannenberg of MarsConnects is an certified Inbound Marketer.