4 Marketing Functions that Benefit Your Business
Marketing is one of the most misunderstood aspects within a business. With the advent of a more globalized marketplace, new demands and difficulties surface everyday.
Indeed, in this day and age, carrying out a successful campaign requires you to design even more complex strategies. Still, your business can benefit from even the most basic marketing functions.
Now you know that your brand encompasses the fundamental goals of your business. With a business plan in hand, you have a definition of exactly what your customers will get from you. However, your business strategy will remain incomplete without an equally definite marketing plan.
A marketing plan is the outline of how you will proceed to fulfill your business goals. For that to happen, your marketing activities should always aim to clearly communicate your brand values to your customers. Do they get what your brand promises to deliver? Does your company offer consistent quality service? Effective marketing ensures these things to go well.
Incorporating a marketing strategy will help your overall business intentions. When planning your marketing activities and events, make sure both your internal and external operations align with your company’s mission and vision. This automatically forces you to narrow your focus and maintain a good grip of your company values.
But how do you deliver your message to potential clients? How will you get your values across first-time buyers? How can you encourage regular customers to keep coming back to you? It all comes down to how you market your business.
Here, we break down the ways your business can benefit from the 4 basic functions of marketing.
1. TO SELL.
Marketing and sales go hand in hand. Effective marketing ultimately creates a relevant market for driving the sales of your product or service. Likewise, there is no way to sale your stocks without a consistent brand image. Affordability may temporarily cause sales to spike, but in the long run, it all boils down to how your brand gets through in the back of the consumers’ mind.
Any good marketing strategy creates a brand image and delivers its values beyond the point of sale. To make sure you have a positive impact in the prospects’ and regulars’ buying experience, you must first concentrate on your market segment – what are their unique wants and needs? How can your offering cater to these unique expectations?
You’re more likely to sell to a niche market than trying to sell to the mass market. By knowing the complete details of your demographic, you can easily differentiate yourself with your specialized product or service. Tailor your product or service to these needs and highlight these key features in your marketing activities.
It is also important to know how your competitors are holding up in the market. Selling your product or service involves interacting directly with the customer and closing the sale, so it’s essential to study the many different ways other businesses are marketing their items. Inevitably you must also calculate the standard price of competing items.
This is where your brand equity can really help you: When you have a good reputation established in the market, consumers are more likely to reach over to your item along the aisle. They’re also willing to pay more.
So yes, successful marketing efforts do increase your company’s profits. But more important than that, marketing functions to give your company long-term value and brand loyalty.
2. TO PROMOTE AND DISTRIBUTE.
Following the midst of this changing times, traditional marketing needs to evolve. Just as with rebranding a business, you’re not going to attract new customers by putting up ads in the same old places and saying the same old message.
This is why having a targeted market segment is a good place to start. Your market segment includes both old customers and potential clients. You must understand the buying behaviors of your demographic – What are their favorite TV shows and radio channels? What blogs and magazines do they read? Where do they go for shopping and recreation?
Get to know your leads and prospects, as they can guide you through what’s right and what’s wrong about existing products or services in your industry. This also goes back to the previous function: Your overall marketing strategy should aim to generate leads for the sales team to close a deal. The more you get to know them, the easier it gets for you to reach out to them, and consequently the higher your chances of providing them with superior customer value.
The Internet is an excellent place to build brand awareness. Websites are highly user-centric, so it’s easier for you to target a specific group of audience while communicating your brand values to attract new prospects. Social media sites have repeatedly shown to help businesses gain a competitive advantage by focusing on online activities that build word-of-the-mouth, including posting “shareable” contents, introducing engaging discussions, and linking to other websites to build referrals.
Pinterest’s success owes it all to the rising popularity of the visual social media platform. In July, the web site observes more than 23 million unique visitors, a sharp increase since it was founded last year. Consumers use it as a virtual pin board where they can promote images of their favorite products and services for free. Graphic artists and designers are able to showcase their works that viewers can share frequently and immediately.
With this advantage, plenty of businesses have increased both traffic and sales from using the platform to market effectively. Take Carl Christensen, Pennsylvania-based artist and photographer, who mainly works for his online shop on Etsy, an e-commerce platform for arts and crafts. Carl uses Pinterest as a form of catalog for his body of works. Pinners can share his art to the Pinterest community with every repin, or are redirected to the respective items on Carl’s Etsy store just by clicking the picture. This quick-and-easy process makes sales much more convenient for customers. As for Carl’s benefit, Pinterest has helped turning browsers into buyers. He tells Entrepreneur magazine that both Pinterest and Etsy adds up to an average of $60,000 revenue per year.
Speaking of e-commerce, the market witnesses diminishing channels for product or service distribution. With the rise of online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores are disappearing. However, it all depends again on your niche market: How can you best deliver your goods to these customers? That’s the concept of distribution.
Even if you manage a thriving online store for your product or service, regardless of your industry, it doesn’t hurt to base retail stores the traditional way. Carefully plan a set of coherent channels where you know your target market will easily find your goods. By doing this, you’re positioning yourself as a bona fide business against your competitors that are strictly online-based. As you penetrate deeper into the local market, invest in advertising, sales promotions, and public relations to give additional credibility to your brand.
3. TO MANAGE PRODUCT OR SERVICE.
The most lasting businesses, big and small, devote their marketing efforts to niche audiences. Corporations begin with a focus group of audience to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing programs. Small businesses benefit from an increased exposure of their specialized product or service against its competitors. On the other hand, as new technology emerges and innovation arises, these businesses can only change their marketing approach in order to keep growing.
How did they do it?
Well, it’s not so much as keeping up with business trends, but more toward understanding exactly when your business needs to evolve. However, both are equally important for maintaining the life cycles of your products or service. As evolution is inevitable, a solid marketing plan functions to guide you through the maintenance of every life cycle in your business.
Every market has a life cycle. It comes in many forms, but generally a life cycle is characterized by stages of competitive conditions.
If you are a pioneer in your industry, others may start imitating your product or service. They could be featuring more advanced technology than your business does. As customers become more knowledgeable, their expectations keep increasing over time. Nobody see it coming, but frozen yogurts have been replacing ice creams for some time, thanks for the pervasive marketing used everywhere to identify it as a healthier dessert. Because of this trend, people start flocking to fro-yo vendors, leaving gelato bars and creamery parlors ice-cold empty.
Instead of predicting trends in the economic climate, let’s focus on what’s reliable instead: Modeling your marketing strategy at every stage, from the introduction, the growth, its maturity, and eventually its decline.
In general, the introduction stage of your market life cycle requires your campaigns to address the customers’ needs and educate them about how your new product or service promises to fulfill those needs. Aside from building your brand value in the customers’ mind, you must also explain how your product or service is better than what’s already out there in the market. As long as your strategy remains customer-centric, your business will grow rapidly. By continuously developing and evolving your product or service, you also maintain the differentiation of your brand against your competitors.
When you’ve reached the maturity stage, it becomes much harder to change the perceived value of your product or service. Customers are more demanding, whereas competitors use more aggressive strategies to penetrate the market. During this time, making just a little bit of difference to your product or service, such as lowering prices with deals and discounts, may produce a large impact in the market.
At one point, you have to realize when you’ve reached the decline stage. Your product or service may not fail at meeting your customers’ needs, but other new goods in the market may be more effective than yours. Take notes about all the things that affect your sales performance, and reposition your business accordingly to stay relevant in the market. Keep evolving your overall business strategy to adapt to the new demands. It’s imperative to manage your brand effectively throughout your market life cycle in order to retain customer loyalty.
4. TO MANAGE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS.
Aside from adding values to your brand, keep in mind that you also want to generate profits that can also benefit your shareholders.
This means your business has to enhance its return of investment, and the best way to do that is to ensure existing customers have a consistent and satisfying experience of your product or service. Marketers termed this function as customer relationship management, or simply CRM.
Because your goal is to build long-term relationships with your customers, the goal of CRM is to build lifetime value of your brand promise through facilitating ongoing communications and rewards. You can do this through designing a special program for your best customers, just as Sephora did with their VIB Status program.
Earning VIB (Very Important Beauty Insiders) Status requires regular purchasers to spend $350 at any Sephora store within a year. VIB members regularly receives premium offers to private party invitations, exclusive product rewards, and other privileges, which keeps these customers coming back to the store for more.
If you don’t already have one, find a CRM application to manage your internal communications. Even if you have to use traditional tools, you must ensure that everyone in your team, from your sales force to the accounts receivable, work together to put the best face forward for your customers.
It’s about an organizational commitment – Cultivate open and honest communications with your staff, and they will do the same to your customers. Aside from building trust, this ensures that your employees are able to provide the necessary information needed when they come in direct contact with a customer or a prospect.
Now it’s your turn to shine: What do you want your brand to communicate to your potential clients? Start with Sribu.com! We offer a host of crowdsourced designs for all the marketing tools you need: Logos, Flyers, Banners, Brochures, and many more!