"The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably"
Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
Marketing in its broadest sense is defined as above, however with technologies and business methods progressing each day, the term 'marketing' is becoming a more evolved phrase.
What do we mean by marketing?
In this context we are talking about marketing in the CIM definition and we will be posting information soon about the more exciting areas of marketing!
To break this down;
We need to identify the needs of our potential customers and this can be achieved in a number of ways. Firstly and this is really a different conversation but do we know who our customers are? Do we have a sound knowledge of them in order to define their needs? Assuming that we do, our next task is to conduct 'market research' - we must collect information relating to the potential needs of our customers.
This maybe through cold calling, surveys, e-marketing campaigns which require a response or talking to other businesses, friends and family - now of course, your market research is again a different conversation because in order for it to be effective and accurate it must be targeted! Purchasing databases, compiling your own or tapping into an existing client base are all ways to achieve this accuracy.
So, we have gathered our market research, we are assuming that it is relevant to our target audience, we now know what their needs are. The next stage is to anticipate their want for your products/services. How do we achieve this? Through our 'marketing campaign' - again overlapping into future or existing posts - we must use the information we already have about our target audience and the results of our market research to tailor our marketing campaign.
We have mentioned 'marketing campaign' many people have just clicked off the page as they saw £ signs floating infront of their eyes - the term 'marketing campaign' often conjures images of having to spend lots of money - this is not the case!
Your marketing campaign, providing that it is targeted towards your target audience can be on a shoe-string (with the understanding that this needs to be inline with your industry aswell).
A marketing campaign consists of different elements; firstly you must have a clear understanding of why you are forming the campaign for example; brand awareness or launching a new product. Your use of various mediums (methods of marketing) to promote your products/services must relate to your target audience. Using a range of mediums usually works well, as this provides a consist message about your business and the products/services you offer.
Mediums include; radio, tv, press and online marketing. These can be mixed with promotional materials (flyers etc.) in order to maintain the interest of your target audience (this relates to understanding your target audience!).
Often overlooked when implementing a marketing campaign is the method in which you can monitor activity, for example; how successful the campaign and mediums used were. This can be made simple if your campaign is targeted and relevant, as there should be less waste (ie: missed (potential customers) and simply asking customers when they contact you, how they found out about you is also a great way!
At this point in your marketing overhaul, you have identified your target audience, discovered their needs and wants and have hopefully anticipated their interest through your marketing campaign. The next stage is to satisfy those needs and wants which have been identified through market research and which have brought customers to your door through a targeted marketing campaign.
This is where marketing and branding collide and you must uphold the promises which you have made in your brand image and marketing campaign. Ensure that within your campaign, phrases used for example; "FREE Installation" or "1st Class Customer Service" can be witheld, do not make promises that you cannot keep, as this is where the 'satisfaction' element of your marketing campaign will fall down.
Be aware that once your marketing campaign is launched, providing it is successful, a flood of customers will be coming to you for those products/services promised; do you have enough staff available, can you get the stock from suppliers quick enough and is everyone in the company aware that there is going to be a marketing campaign (this again overlaps into branding however you do not want a customer to arrive and say 'I saw xxx in the press, can you tell me if its available?' and a staff member to say ' not sure ... uuummm...' - its all about the customer service!)
Essentially we have covered the three main areas listed in the CIM definition of marketing, we aim to provide a basic over view of the steps needed to create a successful marketing campaign and to be able to manage all processes from start to finish.
We hope that this blog has been useful for you and please keep your eyes peeled for future blogs talking about a few points mentioned here ....