“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.“ Peter Drucker
Throughout my career in marketing, it’s always been shocking to see that most general and senior managers don’t even understand marketing. And funnily enough, the saga continues almost anywhere I go.
However, what’s even more shocking is realizing that people whose actual profession is marketing, whether they studied it or just do it as a job, don’t even have a basic understanding of it. All the ads they run on social media and through billboards and TVs are nothing but a small part of what marketing is all about.
First and foremost, it’s about a thorough understanding of your products, the consumers who will end up buying it, and the world around them.
In my experience, I’ve noticed that the best senior managers in any department have that deep understanding embedded in their belief systems (whether they know it or not), which is exemplified through the way they plan and operate.
Having said that, I still believe that a formal understanding of what marketing is needs to be amplified and made accessible to everyone. I will outline what I consider to be the essential aspects of marketing.
Consumer Insights (Global or Local)
You could potentially have the most valuable product or service available on the market, but that won’t do you much good if you cannot accurately present it to your consumers. And to know how to present it, you need to be aware of who your consumers are, what they want, what they certainly don’t want, and what they need.
Consumer research is the primary step you need to take to see your marketing efforts pay off. Your marketing strategy should depend heavily on your target audience and whether it’s global or local. After all, you cannot expect the same strategies to attract an elderly lady in Taiwan and a hip gen Z boy in LA.
That’s why personalization through customer research is key. Over 71% of customers feel frustrated when their shopping experiences are impersonal, so focus your efforts on making your marketing efforts and approach to individual consumers more personalized and more relevant.
Fortunately, due to the new technological solutions, this is much easier than it ever was before. Countless tools are available at your disposal that can help you gather information on your consumers’ likes and dislikes, product preferences, habits, general online behavior, and more. This information is invaluable if you’re to use marketing to push your business forward.
Macro and Micro Trends
Suddenly, and out of nowhere, the world was put on hold. The turning wheel of the economy halted! At this moment, many have been face-to-face with a macro trend for the first time. It was a global pandemic; usually, most macro and micro trends are not as severe as that.
And its effect usually takes the form of a long-term effect, such as the effect of urbanization, digitalization, and even the aging population that today hunts most industrialized nations.
The concept of long-term strategic planning is embedded in most multinational organizations, and that is a good thing. But, such an important exercise needs to be placed at the heart of every company and department, large or small.
When the current pandemic struck, companies that have planned and embraced digitalization have managed to stay afloat. They couldn’t sell to their customers in stores, but they managed to still generate revenues online. Warehouse automation was a savior to companies that were able to still fulfill orders with minimum human interaction and availability.
Seasonality in marketing is all about what’s going on in the world around the consumers. We see businesses benefiting from the current events all the time – just think about Holiday advertising, Valentine’s Day advertising, and more.
It becomes the most obvious in the aviation and travel industries. Summer is the peak season for both of them, bringing in the highest profits and generating the most interest. So, you’ll see them make greater marketing efforts during the summer, an increased number of social media ads for airlines and travel companies, more commercials, marketed discounts, and the like.
But seasonality isn’t solely related to the calendar and the time of year; it’s much broader than that.
It can be about events in the customers’ lives, buying a home for the first time, getting married, having a baby. Marketing seasonality is in all of that.
So, it’s evident that understanding the global, local, even personal events and happenings is crucial if you’re to improve your marketing and take your business to the next level.
Naturally, few things are as important in marketing as the pricing of the products and services. Pricing is very delicate, and it could make or break your business.
On the one hand, if your products or services are too cheap, they’d be regarded as if they were of lower quality and affect the profitability, so your consumers wouldn’t be interested in investing in them. On the other hand, if they’re too expensive, your target audience might not be able to afford them and would turn to your competitors for similar offers.
Pricing is a delicate balance of displaying the worth of your products/services and meeting the consumers’ budgets.
All companies need to keep a very close eye on their pricing. They need to adapt and keep changing it, even daily, if necessary. Pay attention to market trends, consumer demands, and competitor performance to gauge the ideal price range and increase profits.
Again, the matter of pricing becomes apparent with airlines. Consumer demand for seat booking is higher on Sundays, for example, so tickets are normally more expensive at that time. The demand is lower in the middle of the week, so you can get cheaper tickets on a Wednesday.
Online retailers need to be especially careful with their pricing as consumers can easily compare and contrast the prices of the competitors at a single click of the mouse.
And finally, competitor analysis is a crucial aspect of successful marketing. Keeping an eye on what the competitors are doing (and how) will provide you with essential information on how to improve your marketing and business strategies.
You stand to gain a lot by analyzing the competition:
- Learn more about your target audience
- Understand why competitor’s strategies are effective or not
- Improve market forecasting
- Predict changing trends
- Differentiate your brand from the competition
- Track economic climate
- Improve customer acquisition
Those who want to outperform the competition and stand out from it can only do so through detailed competitor analysis and monitoring.
The Bottom Line
It’s obvious that marketing is much more than coming up with a clever ad. It involves thorough research and understanding of everything from the individual product to the global economy. And for marketing to be successful, the entire organization must apply the knowledge gained from market research.
Your product team, your logistics team, even your accounting team needs to have insight into this information.