What is marketing anyway?

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We’re in business. We want to sell stuff. And if we’re a small business, we usually have to hustle with a small budget to do it. But we all get frustrated when we’re not selling enough, growing our client bases or winning more deals.  Sound familiar?

The perceived solution is that we just need to “market our business more” and our stuff will fly off the shelf.  And that is where the confusion lies.  What we are talking about is marketing communications and advertising – which is only one part of a big matrix of activities called marketing.  So what is marketing exactly, and are you doing it? Read on and find out.

I’m a big fan of Philip Kotler – he is (still) one of the greatest marketing minds and he sums up for me, what marketing is beautifully:

“Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value”.

– Philip Kotler.

So let’s think about that in the context of small business. Marketing is the process of working out what your target audience wants, and delivering it to them better than your competition. If you can work that out, then selling your stuff becomes a WHOLE lot easier. And then when you decide to communicate with your target audience about it, you have a better shot at making a real connection with them and solving their problem better than anyone else can.

So what does marketing look like if you’re all about creating customer value? For me, marketing is the processes and activities you undertake as a business to deliver value in every interaction.  So you’ve got to have the following ingredients sorted:

  1. Why your business exists – your vision and mission.
  2. A defined target audience, and a solid understanding of their needs.
  3. A product or service that adds value (a product your customer wants – not just what you want to sell).
  4. The ways you are going to deliver an experience across all customer touch points that adds value.
  5. Pricing and distribution that positions you where you want to be in the market.
  6. Marketing tactics (yes, this is where the advertising comes in) designed to reach your audience and convince them that you offer them value that no one else does.

So where are you at? How many of the six points above have you got sorted?



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