Digital marketing is more popular now than ever as we live in a digital era of limited resources and unlimited possibilities. Modern entrepreneurs aiming to succeed in this era are faced both with significant challenges and great opportunities.
Great marketing determines whether a business grows or not. Here is what marketing is and how it makes the difference between a business’s success or failure.
Definition of Marketing
The latest definition for the term, given by the American Marketing Association (as from 2007), reads:
“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.”
But let’s put it in simpler terms.
Marketing is bringing buyers and sellers together. It means meeting the unsolved needs with the offer in a way that allows (1) customers to access the values they need and (2) businesses to monetize their ability to provide these values.
Therefore, marketing itself is a win-win exchange. Without it, our economy would collapse as trade would grind to a halt. It activates the economic engine and makes win-win transactions possible, making all of us richer.
The Marketing mindset
The times when people viewed marketing as a brainwashing practice are behind us. So are the times when it was supposed to sell things solely. Nowadays, it is a genuine growth engine. In a constantly expanding economy, with increasing standards and forever changing needs, WE DO NEED marketing. Selling is just a tiny part of marketing activity – merely the last step of it! The significant effort is bringing the right product in front of the right eyes.
Therefore, we must shift our perception from marketing as just a selling tool in charge of driving consumerism to one where marketing is responsible for understanding people, what they value, and then providing it to them. People don’t need to be convinced to buy – they are already willing to buy! And they want to buy because they want to live better, more comfortable lives.
Therefore, marketing’s role is to link these needs with their products.
Our resources are limited and our needs infinite, yet business has the potential to bring absolute value. And here comes the very meaning of veritable marketing: understanding, identifying, and redirecting peoples’ needs. Ultimately, we can reach this only by listening to what the market says.
Listening to customers
People are very complex beings with even more complex needs. Sometimes, people may not thoroughly understand their own needs.
Therefore, it is our mission as marketers and entrepreneurs to help people identify & name their needs. Only then can we help them fulfill them through our products or services. By understanding our actual (or potential!) customers’ needs, we are serving our societies.
If you’re an entrepreneur, there is little to no chance for you to invent a need: tons of needs & desires are already out there. You’re better off if you sit & engage & listen to your customers. What do they lack? What makes them tick?
Your mission is to identify these and direct them towards your product in a way that highlights your competitive advantage.
That’s a mistake many entrepreneurs make: they think they must invent and give birth to desires. It is a very costly process, and it’s almost impossible to turn a profit with it. Changing people’s desires is better left to education, not to marketing.
As a marketer, you want to identify needs and then help people fulfill them by redirecting their desire towards your product. If you’re interested in finding out your buyer’s needs, a great technique you can look into is Strategic Needs Analysis. You can read more about it here.
You don’t want to spend thousands on your marketing efforts with no ensured, tangible outcomes.
To make the most of your business, you’ve got to know the rules of the game.
Firstly, understand people’s deep, real needs;
Secondly, position your product to fulfill these needs as closely as possible. Then, aim to design your product according to the values identified. Incorporating them in your product is the golden ticket in marketing.
Thirdly, network, network, network! Take the time to meet your customers and engage with them. And here is a real thing: knowing your customers at a niche level is not enough; you must carefully analyze them as individuals. The easiest way to do that is to engage with communities where your target segment concentrates: forums, Facebook, Linkedin groups. The thing is to get your marketing insights directly from the source.
Fourth, competitors. Be mindful of competitors and substitutes. Make a list of them, do your research, and find practical ways to gain a competitive advantage. Talk to your consumers and identify what makes them tick about specific features of products covering the same need and what they’re lacking.
And the most important: believe in your own product. Make sure you don’t doubt the value you provide, and others won’t doubt either.
Now you know what marketing is. You know you’ve got all the resources you need to succeed out there. It’s just a matter of business intelligence to put them at work for you.
That’s why you’re here, to learn; that’s why we’re here, to share. And here in short form is a strategy for you to keep in mind in your endeavors to become truly GREAT at selling your business:
1. Marketing is about bringing buyers and sellers together. It’s what makes our economy work, and exchanges take place.
2. Understand people’s needs & values.
3. Incorporate these needs & values into your product.
4. Engage with your target customers & adjust your product to their expectations.
5. Understand your competitors and gain a competitive advantage.
6. Believe wholeheartedly in your product and get the world to do the same!