What is marketing? Marketing is all around us. In our everyday lives we encounter many instances without even realising. On the way to work, browsing online, on the products we buy and the services we use, thousands of hours and millions of pounds have been invested into the marketing process, all with a singular goal in mind.
Marketing is defined as “the study and management of exchange relationships” simply meaning the company has a product to sell and want everyone, including you, to buy it.
The world of marketing is a fascinating place and bridges the gap between psychology and consumerism, allowing companies to tap into the psyche of the general public in the hopes that their products will be chosen over the competitor’s. The great deal of competition means that teams of experts are an integral part of every brand in order to help make smart decisions throughout the entire lifespan of the company and products.
In recent years, marketing has grown and developed as social media took over as the main source of information for most people. Television ads were once prime real-estate for companies to advertise their products, but viewership has dropped significantly with the rise of online streaming services and social websites are now considered royalty for advertising and marketing.
Let’s get into the specifics. There are many aspects of marketing and any structured campaign will be thoroughly researched and calculated in order to achieve the goals set out in the first stage.
Understanding the target audience should be the first task of any marketing strategy. Knowing who you want to sell to gives valuable information in order to make decisions about branding and advertising.
Let’s say your company makes Health Supplements. Knowing your target audience will help you to name the product, select colours for branding and write relevant product features in order to help make sales.
Next time you are at the supermarket, take a look at the medications on the shelf. Branded Paracetamol is significantly more expensive than store brand Paracetamol when both products are actually identical. It’s the branding and marketing that allow companies to increase their prices and encourage consumers to buy - simply because of flashy packaging and inflated claims about what the product will achieve. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to be aware of if you want to understand marketing.
After deciding upon the perfect name, branding and packaging for your product, it’s time to start selling. As I mentioned before, social media has become one of the most lucrative places for companies to market their products. The Digital Marketing Industry has exploded over the last 20 years and requires an entirely new skill set in order to be successful online.
Understanding your target audience is even more important now as the advertising and marketing tools available are a lot more specific than traditional methods. In the past, you would brand your product with a specific audience in mind and then show advertisements to everyone in the hopes that you will reach your target audience. Nowadays, the guesswork is removed and you can use the data collected by social media platforms to target only your specific audience. Understanding where and when to display these ads is a skill in itself and can potentially take months depending on the size of the company and scale of the budget.
Digital Marketing also requires a level of understanding of the way websites are structured and how this impacts where your company is positioned within a search engine. Using various techniques, Digital Marketers attempt to increase the exposure of a clients website using SEO, SMO and PPC - leading to brand awareness and an increase in website traffic and lead generation.
Marketing has changed dramatically from what it once was. Traditional marketing is still prevalent today and will continue to be, however another specialist set of skills are required if you want to succeed in a world where everyone is online. If you want to build a successful product or service, investing in a good marketing strategy early on will be extremely valuable for the future of your company. If you lay the groundwork, you will have a stable base in which to build the rest of your brand upon - and a strong brand is a persistent brand, keeping you in the industry for many years to come.