Vital Marketing Concepts

Marketing is nowadays a vital aspect of every business. The price of an item increases on account of marketing, but reliance on it has attained an inevitable aspect of buying/selling behavior of consumers/producers due to multiple reasons such as competitive market structures (e.g., monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and niche markets), economical communication technology, information revolution, MNCs, globalization, battle for competitive edge, and Brand Identity phenomenon. Marketing is the managerial effort through which goods/services move from producer to the consumer. The Effective Marketing is “The right product/service with right way, in the right place, at the right time, at the right price and making a profit in the process”. The American Marketing Association offers the following formal definition: “Marketing is 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.” Encyclopedia Britannica defines, “Marketing is the sum of activities involved in directing the flow of goods and services from producers to consumers.” According to Kotler, the shortest definition of marketing is “meeting needs profitably”.

Marketing is required for increasing sales and achieving a sustainable market segment for product or service. Customer gets satisfaction from the product or service, entrepreneur gets profit on sale, and business achieves reputation or goodwill. Effective Marketing materializes reputed business, profitable sale, and satisfied customer. The investigation of demand behavior is focal area of marketing. Consequently, marketing has two parents, economics and psychology. Economic considerations of demand behavior are pull or visible factors while psychological leanings are push/invisible factors behind any demand behavior. A marketing effort concentrates on customers’ propensities for psychological satisfaction and designs multiple incentives of economic benefits for customers. An effective marketing approach accommodates economic rules of selling/buying and psychological tendencies of sellers/buyers. There are seven major reasons of marketing:

  • To inform about new product/service or product awareness
  • To introduce a new business or business awareness
  • To motivate/persuade someone for buying or demand creation
  • To create stable customer account or achieving customer loyalty
  • To attain Sustainable Competitive Advantage
  • To achieve reputation or Goodwill,
  • To realize Brand Equity

Marketing vs. Selling: – The aforesaid concept of effective marketing covers the full experience of a business deal between seller and buyer; however, there are two distinct aspects of effective marketing, i.e., selling and marketing. Perceptually, Sellers and Marketers are two different groups in a marketing activity. They have distinct views towards the customers. Harvard’s Theodore Levitt drew a perceptive contrast between the selling and marketing concepts: “Selling focuses on the needs of the seller; marketing on the needs of the buyer. Selling is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the whole cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it.” The strategic alignment between marketing and selling is vital for better results. “A study from App Data Room and Marketo found that sales and marketing alignment can make an organization 67% better at closing deals, reduce friction by 108%, and generate 209% more value from marketing.”

Marketing vs. Branding:-Branding is the marketing process by which a marketer or brand manager reduces a company’s reputation to a single word or phrase or design. The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.” There is a well-known rule in marketing: “Sell what people are buying.” Similarly, the well-performing rule in branding: “Brand the attributes that people love.” An established brand creates consumer trust and emotional attachments; as a result, brands foster relationships among consumers, products and business that lead to the valuable benefits to a producer such as premium pricing, low promotion cost, loyal customer and constantly growing market share. In a nutshell, a branding effort enhances Brand Equity for sellers. Brand Equity is the brand’s power derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time, which translates into higher sales volume and better profit margins against competing brands in the market. The vital strategic aspect of Brand Equity creation is internal branding. “Internal branding consists of managerial activities and processes that help, inform and inspire employees about brands.” In a branding effort, a marketer or an entrepreneur adopts four perspectives for an effective branding – Consumer Perspective (to ascertain desirability of product/service by multiple consumers), Company Perspective (to improve, technically and aesthetically, presentation and delivery process of product/service), Competitive Perspective (to understand and exploit differentiability/parity content of products/services with respect to competitors), and Brand Perspective (to work on creation of possible brand equity). It is noteworthy that, in branding, you create a perception of product/business while, during marketing, you motivate or persuade someone for actual buying. Branding is who you are while marketing is how you affect consumers’ decision process. More specifically, “Branding or Brand Management is a communication function in marketing that includes analysis and planning on how that brand is positioned in the market, which target public the brand is targeted at, and maintaining a desired reputation of the brand.”

Marketing vs. Advertising: – Marketing deals with multiple business efforts to realize ‘Profitable Sale’ such as market research, pricing & distribution of product/service, branding, selling and public relations. Advertising is just one component of marketing. In advertising, an entrepreneur or business communicates to the potential buyers about his/her products or services. Advertising is defined as:”Any form of communication in the paid media”. The prominent advertising mediums are, print media, electronic media and social media. Conceptually, marketing is the way or strategy to convince potential buyers that you have the right product/service for them, while, advertising is conversion of marketing strategy into specific communication media. In advertising, you tell the potential customers about the existence and availability of right product/service for them. The greatest issue of present-day advertising is Cluttering. “An Advertising Clutter refers to the excessive amount of ad messages consumers are exposed to on a daily basis.” It is vital responsibility of a marketer to manage the clutter. The clutter management means to find the right time and place to connect with target customers and to send impeccable messages to them about your business or offerings.

Marketing vs. Networking: – Networking is a systematic human interaction with fellow human beings to exchange information and opportunities. Business Networking is dynamically linked with effective marketing. Business networking is an outcome of socio-economic interactions of an entrepreneur. The networking efforts shape a business circle. It is noteworthy; a business circle is a sub-circle of a big socio-economic circle of an entrepreneur. A business cannot survive or flourish, at least with full potential, without proper interaction among all economic agents/stakeholders. Executives’ presence in a big socio-economic circle and related associations is vital to develop an effective business networking. The business networking, BtoB and BtoC, is the crucial aspect of effective marketing.

Concisely speaking, the effective marketing is combination of networking, branding, marketing, advertising and selling. The networking earmarks areas of targeted customers, branding prepares ground through shaping/reshaping of perceptions/emotions of prospective customers, advertising informs them about product/service through multiple media, marketing motivates them for buying, and selling materializes the actual profitable sale.

How to Find the Best Digital Marketing Agency

In order to find the best digital marketing agency, first, we need to understand “what is digital marketing”, “will digital marketing benefit your business” and answer the question “how do I get more leads for my business?” – which should be the purpose of any marketing.

What is a Digital Marketing Agency?
The dictionary definition of Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. So simple to summarise in one sentence, yet it can be a complicated process to get right and to ensure that all of your digital marketing is working together, not as silo activities. This is where the expertise and experience of the best digital marketing agencies can be hugely beneficial.

Traditional advertising, newspapers and paper directories, such as Yellow Pages, are increasingly less effective for businesses. Whilst a few years ago people would go to a computer to search for a product or service, nowadays people are connected to the internet all day, every day and “live online”. Looking for information, a product or service is as quick and simple as searching on a laptop or computer at work or picking up their mobile telephone or tablet. Digital marketing focuses on getting your information, products and services in front of people when they are looking online. The best digital agencies understand the buying process of your products and services and ensure that your information is prominent to the potential customer at the appropriate time. In the digital marketing world, the various stages of the buying process i.e. research, consideration and purchase are called “micro-moments” and the very best digital marketing agency will present the relevant information, service or product at the targeted time in the buying process.

Whilst some digital marketing agencies will also create and manage traditional advertising or business marketing, such as newspaper advertising, specialist digital marketing agencies will concentrate on online marketing as opposed to “marketing companies” who commonly concentrate on TV, radio and print marketing.

Regardless if your business is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), digital marketing can be a fast, often instant, and reliable way of getting leads into your business and driving up revenue. The very best digital marketing agencies will manage all of the digital advertising based on return on investment (ROI) ensuring the leads generated are at a cost that makes business sense and increases profit levels. Digital marketing will benefit your business and answers the question “how do I get more leads for my business”?

Digital marketing, sometimes referred to as website marketing, can be broken down into a number of important features and services:

SEO Services
Search engine optimisation, most commonly abbreviated to “SEO”, is the process of getting your website found on search engines like Google when people make a search relevant to your business, services or products.

Regardless if your website is e-Commerce or selling services it will drive leads and sales into your business if it is found for the search terms people use (often referred to as “keywords”) to look for them in Google.

SEO requires experience and understanding of how Google reads your website. What messages and information you want Google to read for a webpage or website and knowing where to place that information so search engines can find it. A good SEO company will have a proven track record of ranking websites high in the search results.

SEO works best when the proven methods of obtaining rankings are applied in conjunction with latest trends that are driving traffic. An example of this is the “near me” phenomenon, which has seen a 150% growth in the last 12 months, where mobile phone users are adding “near me” to their search query i.e. “SEO Company near me”. These customers are looking to buy and buy from a local service or product supplier.

Although SEO can be a stand-alone service, it is most effective when combined with PPC, social media and reputation marketing. SEO is also the cornerstone of effective PPC, social media and reputation management campaigns.

Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click (PPC) often referred to as “Google Advertising” or “online advertising” is where you position adverts at the top of the search results for specific search terms. These search terms can be the words people use when in the “research” phase of making a purchase or targeted at the “buying keywords” when potential customers are looking to buy.

Although your advert, depending on your budget, can be shown every time a search is made, you only pay when an internet user clicks on your advert and is taken to your website or calls you direct from the search results page meaning you only pay when you get a click from a potential customer hence the name for this form of marketing of Pay Per Click (often abbreviated to PPC).

How much you pay for each click is determined by a few factors. The “cost per click” (abbreviated to CPC) is determined by the quality and relevancy of the advert to the search term being used and the relevancy of the page on your website that the potential customer land on. These factors contribute to your overall “quality score”. The higher your quality score, the less you pay per click and less you pay per lead into your business.

In the UK, Google has the vast majority of search traffic and most of your budget should be placed their, however, you will not want to miss the smaller, yet still considerable potential for customers from search engines like Microsoft’s Bing platform, and a small part of the budget should be allocated to other search engines. Also, the very best PPC management companies will also discuss spreading your PPC budget over a number of campaigns aimed at different parts of the customer journey. A small part of the budget should be allocated to the research stage of the buying process when people are using broad search terms to find information, a small part of the budget when people are searching for yours, your competitors or market leaders company name. The majority of the budget when potential customers are using search terms directly related to making a purchase and lastly, a small part of the budget to re-market (show your advertising to people who have shown an interest in your services or products by visiting your website) to capture and drive up conversions from the customers previously advertised too.

The best PPC Agency will be a Google Premier Partner. A Google Premier Partner status indicates that the company has a proven track record in delivering high-quality campaigns, which generate good competitive/low CPC’s and deliver high and positive ROI’s. The very best PPC agency will have a robust PPC management process in place to quickly react and capitalise on changes in the PPC campaigns of your competitors.

Unlike SEO, that can take some time to be fully effective, Pay Per Click is instant in the fact that as soon as your campaigns are live they can be generating leads for your business.

PPC is highly effective when carried out in unison with SEO. A well-optimised website will improve the quality score of your Google advertising campaigns resulting in a reduced “cost per click” meaning you get more leads for your budget.

Social Media Marketing
Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are now legitimate places for a business to attract leads. Facebook has over 38 MILLION active and regular users in the UK and the number is anticipated to rise to over 42 MILLION by 2020. Regardless if your business sells to consumers or other businesses, your potential customers are on Facebook and using it often.

Facebook is excellent at raising awareness during the customers “research” stage, reminding them of your services or products during the “consideration” stage and putting your specific products in front of potential customers at the “buying” stage. With such a large audience and the flexibility to target customers throughout the buying process, Facebook can be a good avenue to generate leads and sales and to deliver a great return on investment.

A good digital marketing agency will have a proven track record in delivering highly effective Facebook advertising campaigns. The very best digital marketing agencies will be able to demonstrate the conversion rate and cost per lead of your social media marketing.

Again, social media marketing and specifically Facebook marketing can be carried out as a stand-alone activity however it works so much better when combined with SEO and/or PPC. When a potential customer visits your website their computer is marked as having visited. This then allows you to target the user of that computer, who has shown an interest in your products or services.

Reputation Management
When considering making a purchase, a potential customer will scour the internet to find feedback and reviews from previous customers. Your online marketing and sales can live or die by the reviews for your business, services or products. Ensuring that positive reviews are easy to find and that any negative feedback is managed well, can be a huge benefit to your conversion rate.

Digital marketing companies call this “reputation management” or “online reputation management” however, in reality, it is creating systems to generate customer reviews and customer feedback ensuing positive customer satisfaction is captured and easy to find for potential customers.

Many businesses are concerned with allowing the public the ability to openly provide feedback. You cannot please all of the people all of the time, and companies worry that a bad review will have a negative impact on their business. Firstly, if someone is determined to leave a bad review for your business they will find a platform to do so and there are 1000’s of platforms to choose from. It is better to have control of where customers are encouraged to leave a review. Secondly, a poor or bad review, if managed well, can be a positive for your business. Engaging with a bad review highlights that you care about feedback and subsequently, you care about your customers. One well managed bad review can be as good for your business ten good reviews.

A good digital marketing company will use one of the handful of recognised review platform and provide the tools and means of allowing you to capture, manage and respond to customer reviews.

Small And Midsized Company Marketing And Marketing Communications – Actionable Forecasts For 2018

You’ve probably been inundated recently with macro forecasts on the growth of digital media, artificial intelligence, mobile communications, videos, drones and more. But, as a small or midsize B2B, B2C or nonprofit marketer, what forecasts should you actually pay attention to, and which might be used to improve your profitability and ROI?

I believe 2018 will be a bumpy ride and hope that my forecasts will smooth out the journey for you. Here goes:

Improving Marketing And Marketing Communications By Paying Attention to These

1. Considerable thought and time will be spent creating new website language to meet the explosive use of voice activated Internet searches. Voice activated searches, using “personal assistants”, accounted for twenty percent of searches in 2016 (ComScore) and are projected to reach fifty percent in 2020. Your website pages need to understand and reflect how people actually speak.

2. Greater attention to brand transparency, complete truth and face-to-face interaction with customers and prospects will take center stage. Cybersecurity breaches, as well as eroding trust in media and institutions, has led to a significant and wide spread quest for truth. Events and interactions at the point-of-purchase provide opportunities to build (or re-build) brand trust.

3. Reducing merchandise returns by e-commerce consumers will receive increased focus and require new strategies. While online sales are growing at about three times the rate of those for brick and mortar stores (in part, because of free shipping), almost one-third of e-purchases are sent back (versus nine percent for stores). As shipping is twenty to sixty-five percent of an e-retailers cost of goods (UPS), it’s all hands on deck to reduce this cost.

4. While digital marketing will continue to grow, there will have to be significant improvements made for its continued development. Consider the following:

– P&G has challenged Google, Facebook, YouTube and others to adapt safeguards against the existing fraudulent traffic reporting and inappropriate content by the end of 2017 or they will stop advertising with them; P&G has already pulled $140 million from them in 2017.

– Walmart is also no longer advertising on YouTube.

– Facebook claims it can potentially reach 101 million 18 to 34-year olds, but the Census Bureau counts only 76 million of this demographic.

– The ANA is attempting to start a six-month, $50 million pilot study with 35 marketers in a test of 30 premium online publishers to determine their actual value.

– Added to these, there have been accusations of social media kickbacks, while over 600 million consumers worldwide have ad blockers installed.

It is clear dramatic improvements must be made and made quickly.

5. As another outgrowth of the mistrust in the marketplace, employees, reps and distributors will become the new marketing communications “influencers”. Of necessity, these people will become “the brand”, and management will recognize the importance of an engaged workforce. In their quest to develop brand champions at every level, savvy leaders will foster authentic and open internal communications.

6. Although it might seem to be a throwback, direct mail will receive renewed emphasis. According to Compu-Mail, average response rates for direct mail (5.1%) is far higher than for email (0.6%), paid searches (0.6%), social media (0.4%), or online display ads (0.2%). In fact, direct mail is even stronger among millennials, with response rates of 12.4% among those aged 18 – 24. Data also suggests that direct mail is better than email for generating longer term customer engagement.

7. Bloggers will continue to be a factor, but writing longer posts, spending more time crafting them, and publishing less frequently (Orbit Media). Specifically, posts went from 808 words in 2014 to 1,142 words in 2017, with the average post taking nearly 3 ½ hours to create. The current regimen shows 3 percent posing daily, 22 percent posting weekly and the majority posting only several times a month or less often.

Changing Your Strategy, Planning And Tactics

1. Marketers will recognize that – in the face of a changing marketplace – the most important aspect of profitable growth and improved ROI is developing a meaningful marketing and marketing communications strategy. Having experimented in recent years with a vast variety of tactical resources (in large part because they’re easy to grasp), marketers have learned that, without any realistic measurement of their worth, these efforts may have been counterproductive. Putting tactics before strategy never works… “ready, fire, aim” comes to mind.

2. Marketers, in fact, will spend much more time determining whether their marketing communications tactics are working. Admitting that clicks don’t inherently lead to increased profitable revenue, they will establish strict measurement and ROI of digital marketing the same way they do with traditional marketing.

3. Beyond a focus on the efficiency of an advertising medium, considerably more thought will be built into selecting a specific medium based on consumer trust of the medium. A recent study of 1,030 consumers by Clutch showed television/broadcast video as the advertising medium most trusted (61%) and social media and online mediums as the least trusted (38% and 41%, respectively). Trust of all mediums is strongest among millennials and weakest among baby boomers.

4. There will be a focus on transitioning from a marketing specialist environment, to generalists who can integrate and lead these specialists into an ROI driven team (Korn Ferry). This will be challenging as there is a shortage of marketing talent with broad experience, leadership and capability that can gain the trust of specialists who work together for the brand and not their specialty.

Using Consultants For Improving Marketing And Marketing Communications ROI

Most probably you’ve already put a lot of hard work into developing your 2018 plan. But perhaps these forecasts have raised some questions and concerns that you may not have thought of, and perhaps you don’t have the experience, time or staff to address them. If you’re concerned about marketing, you’re not alone. In fact, Infusionsoft surveyed 1,000 small business owners and found that nearly two-thirds feel that they “don’t know if their marketing strategies work” or “know that their strategies aren’t working”. So, what can you do?

Consider tapping into an established, media neutral consultancy or person, with broad experience across industries, companies and nonprofits, both large and small, who are also willing to “tell it like it is”. Don’t settle for someone selling you one particular marketing discipline or experience in just your niche or industry. What is needed in these complicated times is not a “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality, but rather a broad view of your business and opportunities.

Like trained accountants and lawyers, a marketing professional will bring you fresh eyes, apolitical candor and a disciplined approach to today’s uncertain and untrusting marketing environment. Trust is the new black, and a knowledgeable consultant can help you build a meaningful and profitable business.

But remember, “Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who put them into action are priceless.”