If there is any term or concept any business owner (or potential business owner) should understand deeply, then, that`s marketing.
(This tutorial will seek to explain in detail, what marketing is. If you want to know about marketing strategies to grow your business that is treated here)
Marketing is the blood of any business (or any organization or association) because it`s through marketing any business, organization, or even political party convinces the general public (customers) to patronize its offers or embrace its ideology.
So, what is marketing?
Marketing is the process of identifying consumers` needs, creating products/services to meet those needs and communicating effectively with the target market in order to sell the products or services at profit
The above definition is by no means academic. I expressed it above in a simple term, so as to let my fellow African entrepreneurs understand what marketing is.
If you need a “formal” definition of marketing, then, here you have some of them:
“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”… The Chartered Institute of Marketing
“Marketing is communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service” Wikipedia
Without wasting more time on definitions, permit me to explain in simple language what marketing is.
Whenever anyone gets a business idea, he/she will have to do three important things.
First, identify the kind of people who may fall in love with his/her product or service. This step is very important because there is no product/service that can get everybody excited… some people will not just love what you`re selling or doing.
Second, create such product/service in exact way as your target market will love.
Third, promote your product/service to your market whether through advertising, word-of-mouth or sample giving.
Now let me emphasis that many experts try to define marketing by excluding the first two steps (i.e., Wikipedia above). I will not want to agree this is right. The reason is because if you fail to identify your target market, how do you want to know what kind of product, package, distribution, etc. that will be appropriate for them?
If you don`t know this, how do you want to create your product or service in such a way as your customers will admire.
In fact, there is no way you can effectively advertise or promote your idea if you don`t have a deep understanding of who you`re promoting to. The reason is simple. Advert that will work for people in the Northern Nigeria may not work for people in Southern Nigeria.
Promotion that will succeed in South Africa may fail in Ghana… that`s the reason why I am of the opinion that marketing starts even before a product or service gets to the market.
Listen to what the management guru, Peter Drucker has to say, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”
Now you see, the first process in your marketing effort is to identify and understand (very deeply) who your customers are. If this stage is carried out with all diligence, the other two steps (creating product/service and promoting it) will be lot easier.
Let me also share with you what marketing genius, Seth Godin has to say about marketing…
“Marketing is a contest for people`s attention”
Whenever you walk out and see billboards, whenever you sit down and watch television, whenever you pick up a newspaper to read, you`ll find a whole lot of advertising. These advertising are from companies, organizations, political parties, etc. What are they doing? Contesting for your attention. That`s marketing.
Since your product/service is going to a market where there are tens (or hundreds) other similar products/services, getting people attention is very important.
5 secrets of great marketing
1. Great marketing is directed at specific
You want to create a product, service, political organization etc. that everybody will love? Go and sleep, maybe you`ll have a dream of what that could look like. Lol.
I read a book written by Frank Kern (titled Convert…). Kern writes about how he released some “offensive” advertisement. Why offensive?
Well, offensive to people who are out of his target market. While trying to sell your product/service, there will be this temptation to structure your promotion in such a way as to appeal to everybody. Great marketing don`t do that.
Identify who and who are your target market and structure your business and marketing appropriately.
2. Great marketing promotes wants not needs.
Hummm, I learned this lesson in a little hard way. I once wasted about nine months of my life trying to sell my service to certain group of people who “need” it.
Maybe you don`t know, people don`t buy what they need. They buy what they want or what they must Insurance industry is selling what people need to buy, hospital is selling what people must buy. You can see why one industry is struggling and the other is prospering. People in fashion business understand this principle.
That`s why you see that 90% of fashion business is directed at ladies/women. Men buy clothes when they need them, ladies buy clothes because they want them. if you understand this, you will structure your marketing in order to meet people`s want, not need.
3. Great marketing doesn`t sell product/service, it sells solution.
Who cares about what you`re selling? Only you and your mum. What people care about is the solution to their problems or wants. Your marketing messages must “talk” more about how your target customer gets his wants met by buying your product and not about you or your organization
4. Great marketing communicates to emotion, not reasoning.
Do you remember what our psychology teacher taught us? Human beings take decisions with their emotion and then justify with their brain.
The meaning of this is that, most people will not patronize your business (even if it`s the best in the country), if it`s not appealing to them emotionally.
Yes, most men will not approach the best lady in town (no matter what your own definition of best is) if she`s not physically attractive (if you`re a lady, be warned, revealing clothes isn`t what I mean here).
Most people will not be attracted to your marketing, if it`s not emotional appealing.
5. Great marketing promotes great product.
Marketing is only a channel (though very important channel) to sell your product, service or ideology.
The best marketing in the world will fail if you`re using it to promote a poor service, product or ideology. Marketing is so important to a business that without it, no business venture can be successful and in the other side of the game, the best marketers in the world will fail if they try and promote a substandard service or product.
The reason is because they will not have repeated nor loyal customers who can tell others about their products or services.
Without repeated customers and loyal, unpaid ambassadors for your idea or product, you cannot go far.
This tutorial was written to explain what marketing is. To know about marketing strategies to grow your business, click here