What Is Marketing? Why do so many businesspeople today confuse marketing with sales? I feel sorry for people who mix up marketing and sales when trying to generate new business. Closing a sale is hard enough with marketing support, let alone without it. Have you ever tried to sell someone a product without marketing it first? That’s the essence of cold calling: generate a list, pick up the phone, or go visit and sell to them. Good marketing makes the sales process easier by informing a prospective buyer about a value exchange before the sale begins. An abbreviated definition of marketing is “the process by which a business communicates the value of an offering in exchange for currency.” Marketing also generates awareness in the mind of the prospective buyer. Good marketing paves the way for selling and leaves behind a path through which a transaction can occur naturally. Why Stay Up-to-Date with Marketing Methods? Most of us want to generate new customers. And even for the fortunate few who don’t need new customers right now, you probably will in the future. But keep in mind that prospective customers gradually stop responding to existing marketing methods. The market shifts, or your prospective customers simply start buying in new ways. To stay current with new trends in marketing to customers, pay attention to new ways customers might buy. For example, is electronic commerce becoming a preferred pattern? Does your customer want to try before they buy? Continually testing new marketing methods on a small scale helps a business remain up-to-date with customer buying trends. After all, the best time to develop a new marketing campaign is before you need it. Common Reasons Why Marketing Fails
- The product does not meet the needs and wants of the target audience.
- The wrong people being marketed to—are they interested in the product?
- The customer prefers to buy through other sales methods.
- No follow-up sales from leads generated by marketing.
- The marketer is uncomfortable with the chosen marketing method(s).
- Bad timing.
- Focusing on features instead of benefits.
- Marketing inconsistently.
Maybe sales have leveled off. Perhaps your marketing does not support sales in the right ways. Maybe you feel the need to stay ahead of your competition by better understanding how your industry attracts customers. Where do you go from here? You need to do something different. Common Marketing Methods In my book The One-Hour Business Plan, various public relations, advertising, marketing and sales methods are listed to help you think in new ways. Here I will focus on marketing methods, and share my list of great marketing methods. Let me know in the comments section if you have used or tested other marketing methods for your business.
- Printed materials: brochure, catalog, business card, product sell sheets.
- Electronic media: website, email, CD, Internet, video presentations, search engines.
- Reference resources: directories, associations, phone books, lists, electronic, and non-electronic.
- Trade shows.
- Direct mail: letters with collateral material, proposal writing.
- Association activities.
- Social networking.
- Mobile marketing.
- Referral marketing.
You know that your marketing could perform better. Why not try a new marketing method? Simply choose one of the marketing methods above, or another one of your own. Remember to try the new method by testing it on a small scale first. Why test the method first? If it doesn’t work, then you don’t lose as much money or time waiting for sales leads. For example, conducting a direct-mail campaign to a hundred people will cost less than mailing to a thousand people. Just test the methods on as small a scale as possible at first. Eventually, a qualified market will respond to a valuable marketing offering by generating people who are interested in your product. It just takes some thoughtfulness to market to the right people in need, some patience for results, and a certain level of tolerance for marketing failures. Keep trying. The results of your efforts will generate a marketing plan that better supports your sales efforts. When sales are supported by marketing, the rewards come to fruition and the sales journey becomes much more enjoyable. Let us know what you think in the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might need it.