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What Is Marketing? How to Achieve Your Business & Brand Goals

marketing 1

Marketing is perhaps the most important function of any business organization. It is often considered as a function of only business units but that is merely a misconception. Any organization can and should be marketed as long as there is a message involved for a positive cause. Hence Non-governmental organizations, charities, social enterprises, small business, startups and so forth all need integrated and strategic marketing plans to carry out their mission and achieve their vision. Marketing is a key driver of key stakeholder relationships which includes customers, employees, suppliers, and other partners involved in the business or organizational model. 

This article will take a comprehensive look at marketing, what it is, its various applications and types as well as its importance. A lot about what lies in between these main sections will be covered. The aim of this article is to equip you with the bird’s eye view of what you can achieve with good marketing.

You would be able to understand the core concept and purpose for marketing and how you can begin to realign your brand to a better marketing plane.

What is marketing?

Perhaps the biggest misconception about marketing is that it is often mistaken for sales. Marketing isn’t sales. In fact, sales is an aspect in the grand scheme of all things marketing. Great marketing fuels sales.

A company may choose to build a school for a community as a way of giving back and taking up social responsibility. This may in turn create a feeling of loyalty among the community since they feel cared for by the organization. This will then increase the organizational revenue or sales. Good marketing creates a ripple effect that increases sales. But that isn’t the whole story. Marketing is bigger than corporate social responsibility.

So, what then is marketing? Many academics and institutions alike have tried to come up with definitions for what marketing is. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing “The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (Approved 2017). The keyword in this definition is Value. Without the existence of value, no communication can be able to convince customers to buy what isn’t good for them, at least as a long-term strategy. You may earn short term traction, but in the end, the market responds to value.

Marketing basically involves value creation and any other activities, institutions or processes that it takes to get that value to the target audience.

Enoch W. Kabange

Each and every organization or brand has a core audience to which they ideally appeal to. A bad product may prevail for the short but customers will soon decipher its shortfalls and move to an alternative. In this age of massive and fierce competition, it is likely there is another competitor who is at the top of their game and you can easily be replaced with them. It is therefore a good marketing strategy to have a very strong value proposition. Most good products are a very good starting point for value communication. Subsequent sections will delve into exactly how to achieve this.

What Can Marketing Do for your Brand/Business?

Answering this question as an organization is probably one of the first steps you need to take before venturing into any marketing efforts. Knowing what marketing can do for you will help you determine a lot of factors and also know what types of marketing will help you achieve your goals and objectives. Marketing can be useful and a great tool for growth and impact for any brand, business or organization. It doesn’t matter the nature of what you do. Marketing can help you achieve your goals and objectives.

Charities can use marketing to raise more funds to continue the good works they do. Businesses can drive sales and increase revenue and profits. Brands can create and build awareness, build relationships, generate a following and build a core loyalty among its key stakeholders such as customers and supplier. Basically, whatever your goals and nature of your organization, marketing can be a very useful aide.

Types of Marketing

Marketing is under constant change, new platforms and channels cropping up, new techniques, technologies, strategies and tactics are being created making marketing a field characterized by massive change. This works to the extent that any person who would become a good marketer must be good at adapting to all the constant change happening. This has resulted in several types of marketing, channels and strategies. This section will take a brief look at 15 of the types of marketing. This includes traditional and digital or electronic marketing.

  • Influencer Marketing

What is a better way to communicate to customers than through people they already trust and love? Influencer marketing is a great way to reach the hearts of your core audience through industry influencers who have already captured the trust and attention of the masses of your target audience.

For instance, a beauty line may achieve great results by working with a YouTuber with a highly engaged subscriber base which is also highly interested in beauty. Influencers typically are left with the freedom to create content based on their experience concerning what the audience enjoys.

  • Viral Marketing

With the advent of web 2.0, the rise of the internet and social media, the phenomenon of viral content has fascinated marketers. Marketers are constantly experimenting with new technologies and tactics to extend their marketing reach.

Viral marketing is based on the virality that content can achieve on the various internet platforms including those running on web 2.0 and above technologies. It involves tinkering and creating content that attracts shares to create a viral effect.

It isn’t as simple as it seems. A lot of work goes into finding, testing and executing content ideas that go viral even though a majority achieve this by coincidence. Media organizations such as Goalcast have built virality into how they make content. This is proof that virality can be created, it is up to the marketer to figure that out.

  • Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is much like recruiting agents to sell your product, service or any value offering you have based on commissions.

Affiliate marketers are the agents in this sense. If you have an offering and you are willing to pay people to sell it for you, affiliate marketing should be in your consideration list. Once you decide to engage affiliate marketers, you would need to sign up to an affiliate network which serves as a market for both brands and affiliate marketers.

Other systems will have to be set up to enable tracking, etc. of who is to be paid what. Affiliate marketers are rea good and you would often achieve great growth when you sign up for an affiliate network or decide to implement the strategy on your own. One reason this doesn’t work for companies is that their website isn’t designed and optimized to convert leads and visitors.

So, it should be a checkpoint for you if you aren’t seeing the anticipated results. Much of it takes testing and observation to arrive at something that works well. Don’t give up.

  • Relationship Marketing

Remember marketing has got to do with relationships? This type of marketing takes a holistic look at managing relationships between an organization or brand and key stakeholders, clients and customers. It is sometimes called RM.

RM deals with the activities, tactics and strategies involved in creating, building, fostering and strengthening key relationships for the exchange of value. A key and perhaps most important aspect of RM is its long-term view of relationships. It is less concerned about the short-term transactional gains compared to the lifetime value of the relationship to the organization, business or brand.

And every business unit must value long term value while trying to achieve short term traction and profitability to stay afloat. It takes time and resources to build brand loyalty and build high

  • Green Marketing

Global warming is a world threat, caused by several environmental factors and how we treat the earth. Green marketing is at the Centre of corporate responsibility with regards to protecting the environment.

Green marketing is when a company either has products that are eco-friendly or products packaged in eco-friendly material. It starts with the organization taking action toward a better environment.

It must be noted that the public is often sceptical of claims of green compliance whatsoever, so care must be taken as to how this strategy is executed and subsequently communicated not just through press releases but through new products. New products must not contradict previous claims.

Greenwashing is when a company falsely declares any sort of green compliance. It is obviously a bad situation for any organization to be in. The best is to use this strategy in all honesty, transparency and great marketing communication.

  • Guerilla Marketing

Have you ever spotted something and you couldn’t take your eyes off it because it seemed so awesomely odd? Guerilla marketing has that same effect on people.

The key feature is guerilla marketing is its unconventional nature such as hiring a clown dressed in a customer with your brand colours to stand in front of your shop. It sounds crazy but it actually works. Many brands have done this and many other similar strategies.

The practice of guerilla marketing is a great short-term strategy for garnering mass attention for your brand. It is much of a brand awareness strategy at best and less of advertisement. The best way to understand guerilla marketing is to see it – that way you can fully appreciate its creativity and the amount of attention is can actually grab for your brand. And guess? Mostly at a relatively low cost when compared to another branding, advertising and marketing strategies.

A perfect example of guerilla marketing is Tesla’s $0 marketing strategy. On February 6th, 2018, Elon Musk and Tesla launched Elon’s Tesla Roadster into space in the Falcon Heavy Rocket. Even though it was a SpaceX event; Tesla found a grand and daring way to add a bit of free marketing to it as the myriad of media houses flocked to report the event and the bizarre detail of sending a Tesla Roadster into outer space. As for Aliens, we love Elon and the Tesla team for this. Kudos, Elon!

One main characteristic of guerilla marketing is that it is always grand, big, visible and daringly unconventional. Try it for your brand.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Have you ever wondered how your Google and for that matter, all other search engines search results come about? This happens through search engines travelling through the entire web using their algorithms to find relevant and potentially useful content for you, be it video content, podcasts, articles etc.

You could even request for image results related to your search query. Search Engine Optimization (Popularly referred to as SEO) all happens behind the scenes but is probably one of the best marketing strategies any business or brand can master in the digital and online space.

SEO is a creative and sometimes capital-intensive method but with consistency and determination, you’d find out it works perfectly. SEO is a set of tactics used in making your content appealing to readers and Google to the extent that google considers your article great for a certain set of keywords.

Therefore, when anyone types in any of those keywords or a combination of those keywords, they immediately popup. All of this is entirely organic, you don’t have to pay Google or any search engine when using a search engine optimization strategy. It involves a process optimizing your website, content, keyword research, backlinks, etc. If you got lost with some of those terms, check this out for detailed explanation.  The basic takeaway is the activities surrounding optimizing your content for search engines. Sounds cool? It is.

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

If Search Engine Marketing sounds similar to SEO, that’s because it is. However, there is a little detail worth noting. Search Engine Marketing (Also, SEM), includes most of the activity around doing SEO however it involves paying the Search Engine to show your content when a search query related to, exactly as, or similar to your chosen keywords which you would arrive at after doing keyword research.

Heck! It could even show your content, offers, discounts, etc. to the opposite keywords of the chosen keyword or set of keywords. Yes, it gets that complex. But don’t let that scare you away so soon. SEM is a great away to advertise your brand, reach potential customers with your content, discounts, promotions etc. You name it, Google et al have got you covered.

  • Keyword Marketing

Keyword marketing is the hidden art of digital or internet marketing, the driving force for both SEM and SEO. Without understanding which keywords matter to your customers, clients or patrons, your SEO and SEM efforts will be unfruitful and full of frustrations.

How can you hit a target which you cannot identify? Exactly! You can’t. Please don’t try it. Let Alien Media Help optimize and supercharge your brand and business through these powerful strategies of SEO, SEM and keyword marketing.  Well, that was weird, what a cheesy ad. Anyhoo, back to business. Keyword marketing involves figuring out the keywords which are of interest to your audience and using strategies such as banner ads, SEM and SEM. Well, we have already mentioned keyword marketing plays a big role in SEM and SEO. But what we haven’t mentioned is that you can use it to run your digital ads through ad networks such as Google AdWords. Your keywords will determine a large portion of your copywriting and other creative works used in your advertising and marketing at large.

PRO Tip: Use fewer generic terms and keywords as they may be already saturated, expensive and less valuable in terms of ROI and those other important Key Performance Indicators you may set up for your campaigns.

  • Internet Marketing/Electronic Marketing / Digital Marketing

As Aliens, we love digital marketing because it is our primary domain. You may be confused about those 3 terms. Don’t be. We are about to demystify them.

For the average person, these terms might as well mean the same thing, but not for us marketing nerds. They are slightly different and often overlap. As you may have guessed, electronic marketing has to do with electronic technologies, digital has to do with digital technologies and internet marketing has to do with the internet. But to what extent do these differ, what do they actually mean anyway and how helpful can they be?

Internet marketing is any form of marketing done via the internet or online. Easy peasy huh? Digital marketing has to do with marketing via any technology that operates using digital technologies. Common ones are your smartphone on which you are probably reading this. A typical example is SMS. This also includes SMS you receive on your “Yam” phone (A term used in Ghana for feature phones derived from their brick nature compared to yams…ha-ha).

Electronic marketing is the father of both the internet and digital marketing. The internet and digital technologies run on electronic technologies. Enough of this theory. Much of real-life marketing would consist of a mix of all these three (3) in different proportions depending on your strategy, budget, business model and marketing objectives. However, no need to sweat the small stuff. Don’t overthink what type you are doing as far as you know how well to use it and how that can help you achieve your goals and objectives.

  • Video Marketing

Video is officially the most demanded content type over the entire web. Have you wondered why video-centric companies such as TikTok are making it big? Have you considered why Facebook has rolled out more video features such as Watch? Have you seen the literal Hundreds of millions of views on YouTube videos? Well, you probably have so all these are rhetorical questions.

In 2017, HubSpot found that 54% of respondents prefer video content and the presence of videos on a landing page could increase conversion as high as 80%. On top of that, videos in your emails increased open rates by 19%. Videos are a gold mine but this gold mine takes creativity, consistency and a little bit (Okay, we agree it may actually be more. Ha!) of time.

But is it totally worth it? You got it, Yes. Video marketing basically involves infusing videos into your marketing in the form of tutorials, product videos, demos, expert interviews, documentaries, live videos, event mashup videos, etc. You get the point, Videos.

  • Social Media Marketing

We bet you’ve waited long for social media marketing to come up. Well, here it is. You probably know all the big ones and even some of the other small ones so that won’t be our focal point here.  

Can you literally imagine a crowd of 1 Billion people? How about 2? Well, there are 3.5 Billion users on social media with Facebook alone attracting 2.4 Billion users. Social media is a platform built on the web 2.0 technology, allows users to sign in, create and share content freely. In fact, that same content is what keeps the platform running. Social media platforms have evolved to take advantage of web 3.0 and above technologies. These are terms for other capabilities of social media such as analytics. Web 2.0 allows content to be created and shared freely by any user of the platform.

Using social media for marketing be it advertising, product launches, brand awareness creation etc. is called social media marketing. Most small businesses actually do this form of marketing without knowing it. Advertising your brand or products on your WhatsApp status is a form of social media marketing as much as creating an ad on twitter is.

The huge advantage of social media is the ability to interact with and reach literally millions of people for or through paid ads. There is no budget required and at the same time, there is no budget limit. It is literally a free world for your exploration creatively, experimentally, and any other alien ideas you may have.

  • Print Marketing

Print (Media) Marketing involves physical print advertisement in newspapers, magazines, direct mail (includes letters and postcards) (Less commonly used in Ghana), billboards, posters, and the physical medium used for advertising in print format. Advertising is deliberately used since a vast majority of print marketing efforts are geared towards ads.

Print media advertising is probably the oldest form of advertising known dating back thousands of centuries back when Egyptians used Papyrus to write sales ads on posters. Digital marketing has dwarfed most of these strategies but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. The downside is they almost always involved cost – the cost of printing or cost of showing ads on the platform.

A typical example is a cost of showing ads on newspapers. The pricing is often too much for small businesses to afford hence the bias toward the digital. However, if you have the budget, print media marketing and other forms of traditional marketing are a good thing to add to your marketing and sales efforts.

  • Weblog (Blog) Marketing

To understand what is popularly known as blogging or blog marketing, you would need a little introduction on what a blog is. Weblogs are logs of information spanning lots of content types such as lists, text only, videos, images, etc. which a user.

A weblog or blog is the platform where this information is logged into – the website. Weblogs started to appear in 1998 after the rise of the internet. It is a popular activity used for journaling but has grown to become a marketing tactic as well. There literally exists millions of blogs on the blogosphere attracting millions of views and readers on a daily. Attention is a crude resource for marketers. This is why we couldn’t stay off this new wave of attention.

Weblog or blog marketing is the set of activities centred on advertising, publicizing or marketing brands via the medium of blogs. It could be the brand owning a blog or writing for industry-recognized blogs for various reasons such as product launches, brand awareness creation, sales promotion through banner ads, sponsored articles, the list goes on.  

  • Content Marketing

This very article the Alien Media Team created is a typical example of content marketing. Blogging is a very important part of content marketing with respect to SEO and SEM. It increases web visibility and that means more leads, more people in your funnel, more prospects, more email contacts, more brand engagements and so much more. Content marketing isn’t just about blogging or even the internet.

A type of content marketing which doesn’t depend on the internet or any web technologies is print magazines. One of the oldest forms of content marketing is The Furrow, a magazine about farming created by John Deere. The beauty of it is that John Deere created it as a standalone brand which means it served mainly useful content for farmers and not just another advertising platform for them to sell more of their equipment.

But generosity and thoughtfulness of this kind have a strange (definitely not Alien) way of coming back to your brand in the form of brand awareness, sales and a lot of that juicy stuff businesses want.

The entire theory of content marketing involves free media hence no need for huge budgets. This also means that almost any brand can do content marketing. Content marketing involves creating content creation, a lot. This isn’t just any content but content your audience will be interested delivered in their preferred form such as video, audio or written.

HubSpot is a good example of a brand and relies heavily on its content marketing efforts for sales to the extent they even provide a free version of its Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) platform. Great huh? Time to consider this because the benefits are immense. The success of HubSpot is a great Illustration.

Business to Consumer (B2C) Or Business to Business (B2B)? – The Two (2) Major Segments of Marketing

An important part of marketing is knowing your ideal or target audience. This audience consists of your promoters, customers, etc. Most businesses can be categorized into 2 based on the type of audience on a broad spectrum. Businesses could either have a business to business audience arrangement or a business to consumer audience arrangement or setting. Stick around for what each entail.

  • Business to Consumer (B2C)

Business to Consumer (B2C) business model has the main customer target as the final consumer of the service or product. An example is a clothing company which has people who will actually wear its clothes as a customer and not a middleman or intermediary. This also applies to services. An example is a car wash business where the car owners are the final consumer of the service. The term has become more popular in electronic commerce to refer to businesses directly selling products and services to final consumers through the internet.

  • Business to Business (B2B)

Business to business refers to a relationship between two business units and not between a business and a final consumer of the product or service. This is mostly a business relationship between a manufacturer and a wholesaler or a wholesaler and a retailer. This doesn’t involve the final consumer of the product or service. This is mostly seen in the supply chain and sale of raw materials sectors. However, B2B solutions in the form of software as a service (SaaS Models) and other similar business models now allow for this kind of business to business relationship. Alien Media is an example of a business to a business model where our main clients are also businesses.

NB: There are other business models which include the Consumer to Business model (C2B) which is exemplified by a reverse auction by the business buying goods from the customer on auction basis as well as the Customer to Customer (C2C) Model as seen in the sale of used products.

7Ps Of Marketing (Extended Version of the 4Ps Marketing Model)

If you have been a student (Like us at Alien Media) of marketing, chances are that you have already had some exposure to the 4Ps and probably the 7Ps. Both 4Ps and 7Ps are a framework for a comprehensive marketing strategy. The 4Ps were the first to be created. They came about at a time when businesses were more inclined to sell physical products and not services.

This means the framework didn’t leave any room for services. Hence it has heavily been criticized leading to the creation of the 7Ps which covers both businesses that provide physical products and businesses which provide services. The 7Ps simply added a few more Ps to the original 4Ps to accommodate the services industry. Therefore, we will explain all 7Ps. The first 4Ps constitute the 4Ps. Cool? Great!

Here are the 7Ps of Marketing Strategy (4Ps Inclusive)

  • Product

The product is the physical product or in the case of a service company the service being offered. It entails both single products and a line of products. It equally applies to services, their features, etc.

  • Price

The Price is the pricing strategy for the product or service. The average person weighs price over the value they are getting from the product or service. Is the service quality? Then you can probably charge more. Pricing can be tricky. However, if well done, it could be a strong marketing strategy in your arsenals for proposing your value to a customer, client or stakeholder.

  • Promotion

How will your target client or audience get to know about your product or service and its value? This is where promotion comes in. Promotion involves advertising, social media campaigns and presence, sales and promotions (discounts, cashback guarantees), PR, Personal selling and several others. One good thing to note in your promotion strategy is to maintain consistency in your message and to communicate your value the right way, at the time platform and time. Promotion platforms don’t vary much between physical products and services.

  • Placement/Location

Location is key! Whether you are a service business or a product business, location is an important aspect of your marketing strategy. From your physical office to where you offer your product or service, raw material sourcing, etc. All of these will help determine your location strategy. If you operate a retail outlet, the location should be accessible to your core audience. Service companies, based on the model, could also have a physical office place or operation venue. Hospitals are service providers but they need a physical location where they operate from. Other models such as Software as a Service (SaaS) Model would benefit from a website location (Even though it is highly recommended that any modern business should have a fully functional and mobile website).

  • Processes

Processes are the point of departure from 4Ps to 7Ps. Processes entail the processes involved in accessing your service. Do they visit your office to make an order? What happens afterwards? How will the service be delivered to them? In service marketing, it is highly important that customers or clients know the exact processes involved in accessing your offerings. It should feature in your advertising, promotions and marketing.

  • Physical Evidence

This involves the tangible aspects of service delivery such a mechanic having to work on your car – the entire value transfer is intangible but the physical interaction between the engineer and your car then forms a piece of physical evidence. A similar situation is where a saloon has to work on your hair. It is a service but needs a physical interaction in order to happen. SaaS models and other new models don’t have much of any physical contact but some form of evidence is still possible such as receipt which can be printed out. Physical evidence makes your outfit more trustworthy especially if your offering can be transferred entirely online including ordering, fulfilment and delivery.

  • People

No matter whether you deal in a product or a service, people will be involved in making sure the client or customer benefits from it. This includes various teams working in the organization. A company’s staff is probably one of the most important determinants of growth and success.

This section is only a brief introduction, a sort of sneak peep (Heck! eye-opener), to the 7Ps. You can read our full article on the 7Ps here. Also, check out the CIM Guide to the 7Ps

The 4Cs Framework for Marketing

The 4Cs is highly appraised above the 7Ps and the 4Pswhen it comes to marketing communications. The 4Cs are a great complement to the 7Ps. They both have their strengths and should be used appropriately. The 4Cs framework for marketing strategy involves customer, cost, convenience and communication.

  • Client (Or Consumer)

When it comes to the customer or client, what matters is that they receive value with respect to the brand promises, their expectations and their satisfaction. All this is aimed at obtaining customer loyalty and lifetime value. When it comes to customers, a company can be customer-centric or customer-focused. These two seem to be the same on the surface level but they actually in basic approach and how they seek to help the customer.

  • Cost

The sense of price here isn’t just about the monetary price associated with the product or service but rather other costs such as opportunity cost, cost of time, conscience, convenience and other intangible costs involved.

  • Convenience

Place or Location may have been catered for in the 4Ps but the 4Cs take it to the next level. Convenience here goes beyond just location. Convenience means carefully studying the customers and the market to determine the strategic placements of your product or service to fully meet the needs and requirements of your customers and clients.

  • Communication

The proponent of the 4Cs framework made it clear that “Promotion” seems more salesy, more one way and less of a conversation. His words could qualify for a prophesy today. He believed marketing communications should be a two-way affair between the brand and the customers and key stakeholder. In our world of social media, review websites and apps, etc. it is a great strategy to employ since neglecting what your customers have to say, in a ubiquitous and real-time manner, can have real-time massive consequences.

The Marketing Environment

Know this: No business operates in a vacuum. Talk less of a marketing department or team. They both operate within a system of both internal and external factors which form the environments any organization and business faces. External factors consist of two broad and equally important parts. Thus, the external factors are formed by both the micro and macro environment. Each has several factors which come to form.

Market Research

Any marketing team is inherently a research team. Without a good understanding of competitors, customers, suppliers, the market and any other influencer of your business, you would be simply operating in a sandbox and that could fast become a bad thing. You’d base decisions on assumptions which are far from the truth, spend funds on irrelevant projects, promotions, etc. It helps to conduct research as part of your marketing whether you are launching a new business, brand, product line and anything that comes in between all those. I mean, you get the point here.

The Product Life Cycle

Did you know just as humans are born products and services are also born? Heck! They die too. Cool or Crazy? Well, it is just an analogy you’d get to understand and appreciate if you are just getting to know about it for the first time.

The product life cycle consists of the stages a product goes through from inception until it gets out of the market or shelves for that market. The cycle starts with the birth or inception of the product idea. If you’ve watched the Leonardo DiCaprio movie titled Inception, its sort of that kind of inception just that it doesn’t take a team of dreamers to incept the idea.

The whole process takes 4 stages. After inception (Introduction), there is a period of growth – Hopefully. It soon reaches maturity (Probably A Green Extraterrestrial Alien Being with a Long Tail…haha) and then declines (Sometimes to death). The best you can aim for is to sustain growth as long as you can take it.

However, a clever strategy is probably to keep innovating new products and services off the success of the product to create a franchise of sorts. It keeps the cycle longer and creates a ripple effect on new products based on what customers already know and love. Sounds awesome, huh? Try it out. We’d like to help.

The Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA) Model

At this point, you have probably given up on plenty of reading. Don’t worry. Practising these would be a great experience for you. We promise. Another excellent model for marketing practitioners, junkies and businesses owners who have to do everything on their own is the AIDA model. Like most of the others, it is also an abbreviation.

AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. It is a good framework to build your marketing plan on, your advertising campaigns, your stories and other content, etc. The key is to maintain each of the components at the right time to create the desired end effect of probably getting a sale, lead, or whatever the objective is for the moment.

Awareness

The first mission of your marketing should be to capture attention through awareness. Guerilla marketing is good for awareness and attention-grabbing. Creating an awareness allows customers to know what value you stand to give them. Communication as seen in the 4Cs needs to be on point through explainer videos, product demos and other strategies which will help you to simply create awareness.

The goal isn’t to sell. To sell is the long-term goal and the “longer-term” Goal or lifetime goal is to capture and captivate the client to earn their trust and loyalty as a lifetime customer or client.

Interest

Next is to create interest. Awareness makes them more open to your message especially when they are the ideal audience. Great communication can greatly attract them to your message and value proposition. Creating an interest in your product or service is the perfect way to lead any customer to the next stage which is creating the desire for your offering.

Desire

Interest isn’t enough to drive a sale. Neither is awareness. There are numerous toothpaste brands you know of but you don’t buy them. There are lots of saloons you could visit but it took desire in one to be willing to forfeit the other. Desire is an emotion so much of the communication should be geared toward feelings and suggestive strategies. Creating the desire then leads to what your objective has been all along; Action.

Action

An action could be to schedule a call to your service company, call a certain number, visit a website or anything other direct action. Action is often called the Call to Action (CTA). The CTA I must be simple, easy to execute readily, clear and above be based on all that the previous steps built up. You can’t make an ad about your new toothpaste and finally, ask them to use a promo code to buy a bench at a certain unknown shop. That’s bad and speaks volumes about your brand – in a bad way. Consistency is key.

All these can be applied on a grand scale such as a marketing plan for a year, a small product launch campaign, a 30 seconds TV or radio ad, ad copy, website copy – it is basically limitless. This framework can work wonders if used in a creatively thoughtful way for your customers or clients. Remember, it is all about them.

How Does All This Translate Into Your Marketing Plan?

Most of what has already been shared will contribute greatly to creating your marketing plan. However, it isn’t all you need to create a solid marketing plan. No sweat though. We will dive into that right here.

All that we have covered was actually leading to this. The Marketing Plan is where it all comes to bear. It is when you can actually put all of that information into a central attack plan for your brand. Knowing what marketing is, the key types of marketing, the 4Ps and the 7Ps, the 4Cs, Marketing environment, marketing research, the AIDA model have all got a role to play and it is up to you to determine which to use or the right mix for your brand, business and your objectives.

Key Components of a Solid Marketing Plan

  • Executive Summary

The executive summary is a standard one-page summary of the entire plan and written at the end of the plan. It encompasses all aspects of the plan and paints a clear picture of the direction the plan is taking the brand, key resources, KPIs and budgetary data. This aspect is prepared for high-level CEOs, Managers and other key interest people. It helps them catch up pretty quickly without having to read the whole section.

  • Target Customers and Buyer Personas

A lot has been said (Yes, we know it’s written…ha-ha) about customers. Being customer-focused Vs being customer-centric have all been elaborated here. A buyer persona is a brainstorming based on research and data to create the perfect customer figure for your product or brand. It basically creates all of the ideal customers’ characteristics from age, to location, to their name, their psychological makeup and other basic information that will help you to make key marketing decision such as ad strategy, communications and other pertinent aspects of the marketing plan.

  • Company Analysis, Objectives and SWOT Analysis

 These will help you align the company vision, objectives, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, vision and mission with the plan and the customer.

  • Market Research

The case for Market Research has already been built. It is key to informing what goes into product design, core marketing strategies such as promotions and advertising. Without it, you’d probably be shooting in the dark.

  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Value is the only thing that sells highly in the market. The rest are quickly exposed and get a short product life cycle. Value. Now that’s timeless. People will always be in need of something. Your mission is to find out what it is and provide it in the best way possible (Only Aliens are capable of Perfection). Your proposition must be unique as well else you give customers no reason to choose you over close competitors.

  • Marketing, Pricing and Brand Positioning Strategy

Positioning is literally how you want to be positioned in your customer’s mind. You can be in the left or right side of the brain either appealing to logic, emotions or both depending on which side of the brain. On a less physical and weird level, your pricing can determine the placement you earn on a customers list. Your quality levels, etc. form a perception, a lens with which they use to see your brand. You could be viewed as luxurious, expensive, trustworthy, etc. A key thing to do is to focus on what matters in your industry, your brand and your objectives to craft a great positioning strategy. Apple is considered a rebel, luxurious and at the same time expensive. This communicates their industry leader role, constant innovation and their high-end pricing model. Right.

  • Distribution Plan

Placement. Processes, Location and convenience as already expounded in previous sections all fall under distribution.

  • Partnerships

Who needs to be brought on board to make this all happen? Suppliers, distributors, other B2B businesses, etc. all go into this section. It involves all the needed partnerships the company needs to work well and to execute its marketing goals in an awesome and fun manner. Don’t blame us or adding fun. That’s what business is supposed to be. Cheers!

  • Budget

You need money to make all these big marketing ideas and strategies come true. Marketing is the most expensive expenditure most companies make with some others having it as the second most expensive. Budgets are good so that you can stay in check, know what to cut when the budget allocation isn’t enough for everything. This aspect also includes revenue projections. Yes, you aren’t just spending. You are required to make more than to spend to enable the business to run efficiently.

Obviously, you’d require more information and work to build that great marketing plan. But still no sweat. You can do it. The various section outlined above aren’t exhaustive and neither are they to be used in any strict format. Much of it is subjective.

Is Advertising The Same As Marketing?

In short, NO. Advertising and marketing aren’t exactly the same thing. However, they overlap since advertising is actually a part of marketing.  This is perhaps the biggest difference between them. Another key difference is that advertising is usually the single most expensive aspect of a business. Advertising involves creative ads strategically placed online such as on websites/blogs, paid ads, etc. or through traditional media such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.

Characteristics of Great Marketing (& Branding)

  1. Empathetic
  2. Marketing Must be Two (2) Way – Conversational
  3. Great Messaging
  4. An Actual Product or Service That Humans (Sorry Aliens) Actually Want
  5. Consistency

Importance of Marketing

Marketing has immense and you probably know this. Marketing is one of the most important aspects of any business or brand. It makes sure revenue inflow is constant and enough to make profits to sustain and grow the company. It also helps a business to attract, build and maintain healthy relationships with customers, clients and key stakeholders. Great marketing makes a company look good in the face of the world. It is a good tool for building a reputation. Marketing helps you figure out the best way to communicate with and reach your target audience through profiling, research and other marketing practices. The fruits of great marketing can be seen in great companies.

Conclusion

It has been a long way coming. You are officially more educated on marketing than the average SME owner. Great Job. If you prefer to review the document later, you can bookmark this page or simply download our already prepared eBook.

My Greatest Desire is to Help as Many Brands To Achieve their Goals. That's what Puts me to Sleep at the end of the day.

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