In this article…
- What Is Marketing?
- What Are the Types of Marketing?
- Who Is Your Target Audience?
- Psychographic Data for Target Audiences
- When Is a Marketing Strategy Effective?
- Where Do Customers See Marketing in Their Lives?
- Why Do Companies Use Marketing?
- How to Generate a Marketing Strategy
Marketing is a critical function that you must perform to sustain and expand your enterprise. Marketing describes how your company promotes a product or service and its value to your target audience. Therefore, taking the time to outline and streamline your marketing efforts may provide an increase in return on investment (ROI). You can reinvest the additional revenue and profit earned from the purchase of your product to bolster future marketing campaigns.
This guide will cover the definition of marketing and take deep dives that can amplify the performance of your company’s promotional campaigns.
What Is Marketing?
Marketing is the act of studying and managing the exchange of your relationships. When you’re marketing, you’re working with a lead generation process, which can turn a lead into a potential buyer with interest in becoming a consistent buyer of your product or service. Your company may have businesses (business to business, B2B) or consumers (business to consumer, B2C) as customers who purchase your company’s product online or in a brick-and-mortar location. Again, the key here is there must be an exchange between you and the customer you work with to have the result end in a sale.
What Are the Types of Marketing?
Understanding the different types of marketing can show you where you need to expand your reach and engagement during your campaign. By listing the types of marketing, you’ll know the best way to track your performance and find out where you need to conduct more market research to improve results in certain areas. You should know the types of marketing to expand your brand and earn credibility from your target audiences, along with other influencers in your market.
The most common types of marketing consist of:
Internet marketing, referred to as digital marketing, is a process of promoting your company’s brand to customers via the internet. Customers can use devices like their laptop, smartphone, or tablet to gain access to the internet and potentially purchase an item they’re interested in.
Your company needs to have a robust internet marketing campaign that includes the use of various social media platforms and emails to get feedback from your target audience about their experience with your brand. You’ll know more about their perception of your company and the way they engage with you online.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the method of enhancing the value of your content so potential customers can find your company on search engine result pages (SERPs). Create a quality SEO strategy by using effective keywords and internal linking to entice customers to visit your website, browse your products, and get feedback about where they are in the buying process.
Blog marketing is when you or a hired writer create article content about topics your customers are interested in. Your company can write about its latest products, developments in their interests, or other engaging subjects that relate to your business. Blog content should engage with your target audience and be SEO-friendly so customers can find it when they’re browsing the web. For example, a company that specializes in content marketing can produce a post about tips to write engaging content for social media.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is an approach to maximize the engagement of customers who follow your brands on social media platforms. A social media team can create content to generate brand loyalty and help increase the following of your company’s social media channels. Your company can use a variety of content types to share information with leads and customers, like infographics, images, stories, quotes, and GIFs. Once you post content, track the number of impressions and interactions and use them as a key performance indicators (KPIs) of success when reaching out to specific audiences.
Print marketing helps businesses grow their brand awareness by using print deliverables. Public relations employees can work alongside your marketing team to build your company’s reputation. Provide print deliverables to customers such as business cards, flyers, calendars, and newsletters to increase the amount of exposure for your product. Using graphics and photos in advertisements can increase the visual appeal of your product’s features.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing allows your company to leverage your search engine results and advertising efforts to deliver promotional content to your target audience. Try to find keywords that help you connect with your target audience and increase conversions for your company’s marketing campaign.
Companies bid on relevant keywords to bring extra traffic to their website, and they pay the company that runs the search engine if they win the bid. Once you win a bid for a keyword, you can target ads at the cost you won the bid for and place the ad on searches for content related to your company’s products.
Video marketing is the function of increasing consumer engagement by using a combination of audio and visual elements to inspire customers to buy from your company. You can measure the success of video by viewing the amount of engagement you receive when it’s posted on social media channels. Depending where you plan to use your video content, you can shoot video using a smartphone or high-quality production equipment.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
The people involved in marketing include your company’s employees and the people you’re selling to. Potential customers have a wide range of characteristics, so it’s important to create a marketing plan based on a user persona to help visualize the audience you’re marketing to.
For instance, you may create a user persona for a man named Brad. Brad is a 32-year-old from Santa Monica, California, who works for a technology company and is a freelance writer in his spare time. You can use user persona information to provide content that resonates with your target audience or amplify their experience when browsing your website.
Searching the demographics of your target audience’s population is the first step toward initiating your company’s marketing plan because you’re gathering more data on a potential customer’s behavior and buying habits. Studying populations can assist you in knowing more about how you’ll market to them and the types of platforms you’ll use to improve engagement.
Let’s look at different demographics:
Finding out your company’s target age group helps you determine which one is most likely to buy your product. You can study the buying habits of different age groups and perform product tests on these age groups to find out which group likes to interact with your product.
The location of your target audience is in a country, city, state, or zip code. Localizing your marketing campaigns helps grow your target audience’s experience with your brand and increases your potential to reach new audiences. Conduct research and work with influencers in areas where they can promote your company to your target audience and bolster sales.
A company traditionally looks at two gender groups to market their products: male and female. The consumer behavior of each group dictates who you’ll use in promotional videos, testimonials, and other facets of your marketing strategy. Stay away from stereotypes and look at market research to ensure that you’re targeting each group effectively.
The amount of income an individual makes shows how much disposable income they have after the deduction taxes and expenses from their paycheck. If consumers within your target audience have a higher income, increase the price of your product since their rise in income correlates with a higher demand to buy your products. Compare your target audience’s annual income to the current state of the economy to measure if consumers have an interest in buying your product.
Education level describes how far someone progressed in school. Researching the areas where the population had a college degree or not is a savvy way to target your company’s outreach. Education can affect a target audience’s buying habits. For instance, an executive might buy different clothes than an entry-level employee.
The job status of your target audience can show the number of people employed within a particular area. Understanding the number of people employed within your target audience determines if customers have buying power in a particular market. Check the unemployment rate to see how many people are not working. This number can fluctuate based on the state of the economy.
Use this information to learn if your target audience still has buying power to purchase your company’s products and services. Make adjustments to your marketing strategy and your target audience if you believe another demographic can make your organization more profitable.
Family status is another way to find out a population’s marital status. You can separate the consumer behavior of married people and single people and make calculations about their responses to your marketing messages. For example, you may market a vacation package for two to someone who’s married.
Psychographic Data for Target Audiences
Psychographic data monitors a target audience’s behavior and show customers’ viewpoints that may influence them to buy your product. Psychographic data is useful for companies when determining features to add to a product. This data can classify which media outlets they watch or listen to give you ideas for implementing your content marketing strategy.
Here is a list of psychographic data that you should look out for:
A customer’s personality describes their thought patterns when they’re thinking and feeling. The way they think and feel affects the way they behave. Highlight how your company’s marketing efforts urge them to buy your product and improve their chances of becoming repeat customers. A car commercial is a friendly reminder to a customer that they need to buy a car soon if the one they own is old.
An attitude is the perception of a company’s product or service. Attitudes can form from a consumer’s experience with your brand. Marketing your product focuses on altering preexisting attitudes consumers may have had before. Marketing and public relations need to unite to elevate the credibility of your business if you need to change the attitudes of your target audience.
Core values link to the central beliefs a customer holds about your company. If your company’s marketing campaign resonates with a customer’s core values, the customer may have an increased chance of purchasing your company’s products because their central beliefs align with your brand. The challenge is that core values vary between each individual. Survey your target audience to find out their core values and which ones they want a company to have.
Interest is when you divert your attention to an object, occurrence, or procedure. Customers may buy from a company’s store that sells their favorite product. interests can spark the ideation process when compiling a marketing strategy or creating content that matches your target audience’s interests.
A lifestyle is how an individual lives their life. The lifestyle of your target audience is an important metric because it reveals their motivations for buying your products and how much they want to spend on them. If your customers live a lavish lifestyle, they might have a higher tendency to spend money on high-end products.
If the average income of a 24-year-old living in a certain city is $50,000, you might be able to estimate the lifestyle they can afford. Research the cities with a high cost-of-living to see if you can get an accurate estimate of how much income consumers have to spend on your products.
Behavior is how a person acts whether if they’re in public or in private. Your company finds more information on consumer behavior when you look at market research data. It’s difficult to predict behavior, but a customer relationship management (CRM) software helps your company analyze the intention of customers to buy, their brand loyalty, and intentions of referring your company to their friends and family members. Send surveys to your customers to acquire more knowledge about their behavior since they began their relationship with your company.
Image via Flickr by Rick B
When Is a Marketing Strategy Effective?
Every company gathers its own KPIs when they’re measuring the success of their marketing campaign. It might take time to analyze marketing data and figure if you received positive results.
Review this list of KPIs to find out if you have an effective marketing strategy:
Revenue is what your company earns from the sales of your product to customers. The number of sales made and the revenue earned from sales demonstrates the value of your company’s inbound marketing strategy. Subtract the total sales that your company made over a year by the total revenue customers earned through your inbound marketing efforts. Check the reporting results for your company’s social media pages. See if your company’s engagement rates on your company’s social media accounts have the same trajectory as your revenue to measure the success of your marketing strategy.
Customer Acquisition Costs
Customer acquisition costs outline if your company spends more on customers through inbound or outbound marketing. Receiving this figure helps you know where you allocate resources to scale your marketing campaign and reduce the cost per lead. Factor in the cost of your workforce in addition to overhead costs for inbound and outbound marketing. Note other calculations for costs including technology, advertising, and distribution of marketing materials.
Customer Lifetime Value
Collecting customer lifetime value statistics measure the satisfaction of current customers and leads. Include leads when you calculate the customer lifetime value to ensure the efficiency and sustainability of your sales process. Receiving feedback and calculating metrics on customer satisfaction is paramount to building a sustainable relationship with them in the future. The higher the customer lifetime value, the more chances your company can expose them to new products before they’re sold to customers.
Calculate the customer’s lifetime value by multiplying the average cost of a customer’s sale by the number of annual purchases they’ve made and by the customer’s average retention time. Measure the retention time in months or years.
Inbound Marketing ROI
Inbound marketing points to your company’s ability to attract customers through content marketing, social media, SEO, and branding. Calculate this metric on a monthly and annual basis to depict the company’s performance. The ROI your company receives assists you when coming up with an inbound marketing budget for the following year. Subtract your company’s sales growth by the amount you’ve invested in marketing. Divide this total by your marketing investment to get your total ROI.
New Contact Rate
Your company’s new contact rates allude to the traffic-to-lead ratio. It shows how many people gain interest in your company once they review the content that you’ve published. Consider changing your website if the number of targeted leads doesn’t match with the traffic you’re getting from it.
Your company’s lead-to-customer ratio tracks if you’re converting leads into sales. This is an important figure to recognize the performance of your sales team and if their contributions line up with marketing efforts. Be sure to check your sales qualified leads and your sales accepted leads to come up with the correct ratio.
Sales qualified leads usually include companies who filled out a contact form, which indicates that they’re ready to speak with you further about purchasing a product. Accepted leads reference leads who’ve scheduled a call with you. Sales representatives classify them as prospects that you can sell to.
Social Media Conversion Rates
Review your company’s social channels to increase your understanding regarding the outcome of published content. A social media audit notes the results your company receives from each social media platform your content gets published on. You’ll find out more about the percentage of traffic you’ve received from each platform and the number of customers you’ve gained.
Organic traffic determines if customers go to your company’s website without being directed from another source. Look at the organic traffic results for your company’s website. You may note that customers visit your website multiple times and have a vested interest in your brand. Make alterations to your SEO strategy by improving your company website’s page loading speed and the quality of content so customers can find it when browsing search engines.
Mobile Traffic and Leads
Track mobile traffic and leads if customers can access your company on a mobile device. Your company should know this metric to identify the amount of success you’re having in expanding your business on smartphone devices. A/B split testing helps you determine which versions of a smartphone app perform better with your target audience. The success of promoting your product to your target audience on smartphone devices can lead to more sales for your company.
Where Do Customers See Marketing in Their Lives?
You’re exposed to marketing wherever you go. You’ll find marketing when looking at a website or when you’re out in public.
Here is a list of circumstances where a customer encounters marketing directly or indirectly:
Taking Part in a Focus Group
An individual may take part in a focus group if your company or another company selects them to do so. A focus group allows them to provide feedback related to a certain product or service. Responses give your company valuable information to use when marketing your product. Potential customers might see your advertising or view your landing page to see how your company markets to them. You might change the design of your landing page and logo to appeal to a certain demographic.
Attending a Networking Event
A networking event is an affordable way to speak about your brand and what it offers to customers. Your company’s employees may engage with other companies at an online seminar or an employee may speak at an event in your area. A trade show is another way to build your company’s brand and cultivate relationships with leaders from other companies. You can address additional inquiries about the functionality of your product and the service it provides.
Reading Their Mail
A customer might see your company’s marketing efforts through your direct mail campaign. A direct mail campaign is the distribution of print marketing materials. A customer might receive coupons in the mail about an event hosted in their area. Your company may use direct mail if you only have a lead’s physical address in your CRM software. List your company’s contact information on the mail you send to them so they know how to contact you.
Reading or Listening to a Television or Radio Ad
A television or a radio ad is one of the most traditional ways to market and have a customer find your product. Even with the rise of the internet, it’s practical to market through TV and radio ads since these mediums reach both older and younger audiences.
An older audience is used to seeing or listening to these ads because it dominated marketing when they grew up. Radio ads can air on radio apps on a smartphone, but you’ll still hear them when listening to a radio station. Streaming platforms showcase ads on recently viewed content, such as music and TV shows, to help their target audience expand the content they view on their platform.
Be aware of the cost to advertise in a specific market so you can attract the proper audience and work within your budget.
Reading a Print Ad in a Newspaper or Magazine
Customers find your product on a print ad or a magazine, which allows them to consume information presented in visual and written form. Getting your product in front of potential customers can interest them in moving forward in the buying process. Create actionable content by stating the purpose of why a customer should buy your company’s product.
Reading Ads Online
It might take a little time for a customer to locate your company’s ad when they’re online. The internet is becoming saturated with ads and marketing outside of SERPs. Your company should consider where a customer is discovering ads and if they’re leading to conversions. Perform market research on where your company can get the most conversions from these campaigns. Social media is another place where targeted ads focus on the pages visited by a user. It’s one of the most cost-effective options to target users, but the call-to-action should still direct them back to your company’s landing page.
Receiving Emails From Companies
A customer might get an email from your company if they are on your email list. Customers can subscribe to your company’s email lists to receive promotional material, but they can unsubscribe whenever they want. Your company must create email content for emails that enhance customers’ interest and provide the valuable insight they may not have found when searching online. Click-through rates monitor how many times customers click on a link within the content of your email. More clicks lead to increased customer interest in your company.
Taking a Survey
A customer may click on a link to your company’s survey in an email or on the company’s landing page. They could take time to leave feedback based on the questions your company asked on the survey. Customers might answer multiple-choice or open-ended questions that display their feelings about your company and their plans for interacting with you going forward. Make sure your company asks questions tied to the product you offer or a customer’s experience on your website.
Listening to a Podcast
Marketing on a notable podcast gives your company positive name recognition and visibility to a larger audience. Start by building relationships with industry leaders to get these opportunities. You’ll have a good chance to create fruitful relationships with listeners, especially if the podcast is in the beginning stages.
Why Do Companies Use Marketing?
Marketing is one of the key functions to maintain and grow your business. Marketing is an important part of your sales strategy to drive maximum exposure to your product. The promotion of your company’s products tells customers why they should buy from your company and trust your brand.
You need to use the four P’s of marketing to follow through on your unique selling proposition (USP) and execute your company’s marketing goals. The four Ps of marketing include:
Product is what your company is selling to your target audience because it meets their needs. The quality of your company’s products boosts your chances of profiting from sales, and it can create a long-term bond with your target audience. Define what the product’s differentiator is in comparison to others in their market for it to sell.
Price is the cost of your company’s product. Pricing can impact the demand customers have for your product. Pricing too low means that your company must prepare to make a lot of units on top of selling and shipping them to customers. Decreasing the price of your company’s product can bring in more customers into your store because customers can afford your product compared to your competitor.
Pricing too high can increase your company’s profit, but you need to spend more time positioning your brand. Position your company as one who sells a high-quality product if you’re elevating its price to accumulate sales. Positioning your company’s brand presents the message to your target audience that they’re purchasing a product from an industry leader.
Promotion highlights the communication of your marketing strategy. Your company can use many types of marketing to generate interest from your target audience. Your company can leverage relationships to market your product and determine the ROI you’re expected to earn from the work put in to promote the service you provide.
Place describes the stocking of your company’s products in stores or the avenue in which you’re distributing it directly to customers. Successful companies choose from selling products only in stores, online, or a hybrid between the two options. Your company’s call-to-action should tempt customers to buy in-store or from an online marketplace so they have multiple places to access information on products and purchases.
How to Generate a Marketing Strategy
Each company starts its marketing strategy differently. Your company’s marketing strategy is a live document that details the decisions you’ve made and where you need to make changes. The steps your company proceeds with should match up with the goals you’re aiming to reach throughout the duration of your campaign.
Review these steps to plan your marketing strategy:
1. Write Your Company’s Mission Statement
Writing your company’s mission statement gives you clarity about the purpose of your organization. Your mission statement should explain how your company’s services help the customers you’re targeting. It should detail the public perception you’re trying to receive, and it can serve as motivation for other employees. You should work with other members of your company’s leadership team to make sure your statement is clear.
2. Analyze the Current State of the Company
A situation analysis monitors your company’s current situation. You’ll look for what elements may impact the future of your business, get a better look at the resources you have, and determine how long you think your marketing campaign can last. Two methods that identify the state of your company are a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis and a PEST (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) analysis.
First, these are the elements of a SWOT analysis:
- Strengths: Evaluating your company’s strengths describes what your company is doing well right now. You’ll know more about what components of your marketing strategy you can control and the differentiators that make your product appealing to the public. Assembling focus groups can give your company more data about what attracts customers to your product and what entices them to make repeat purchases.
- Weaknesses: Weaknesses feature what your company needs to improve on. Analyze where your company is underperforming and what roadblocks are impeding your success. Check the resources you have to launch your marketing campaign to see if you need to make more investments in a certain area of your company.
- Opportunities: An overview of your company’s opportunities exhibits the potential for growth. Create a shortlist of target audiences to find out if you need to expand the buying potential of your product. Conducting market research should help you pinpoint market trends and where you can capitalize on new business opportunities.
- Threats: Threats contain the obstacles that inhibit your company’s progress when marketing your product or service. External factors can range from the competition in your industry to a technological threat tied to intellectual property. Look at which threats pose the most risk to your company’s marketing strategy and uncover the best way to enhance your ROI.
Next, these are the parts of a PEST analysis:
- Political: This is an external factor that’s associated with the government’s role in your business. You need to look out for trade regulations if you’re shipping your product overseas. You must abide by federal regulations, follow legal guidelines for trade laws, and account for the taxes your company pays.
- Economic: Economic factors outline the current state of the economy for the country your company works in. Interest rates and taxes may affect the clients you work with outside of your country. The performance of the stock market and economic growth in your region may have a large impact on your company’s success.
- Social: Social factors tie into an evaluation of demographic and psychographic data that monitors the attitudes and characteristics of your company’s target audience. Use the results from your market research to decide if these attitudes change among each demographic and how often.
- Technological: Technological factors influence your company’s marketing strategy, especially for product creation, development, and protection. Intellectual property protections like patents make you the legal owner of your product for a set period. Adjust to technological trends to improve productivity and decrease costs.
3. Define your company’s target audience, goals, and budget
Your company’s target audience, goals, and budget represent the core of your marketing strategy. You must work inside your budget to accomplish your goals and target the customers you’re aiming to reach. Set attainable and measurable goals to execute your marketing strategy. Your company might need to make some hard choices for what services you need to include in your budget, but it’s key to create a budget you’ll stick to.
4. Identify the Product
You must take steps to define your company’s product features, packaging and support methods, and warranties before it’s sold to customers. Product features communicate what a product looks like, identify the product’s components, and describe how a product works. Post the product’s description online so customers have the same information to use the product you’re selling to them.
Product packaging needs to be safe to transport to avoid damage en-route to the customer. Determine the best way for a customer to contact your company’s customer support line about questions they may have. You can provide a warranty so that a customer can return the product if it breaks.
5. Implement Your Company’s Marketing Strategy
Work with your company’s product marketing team to decide how you want to launch the product. Perform outreach on social media to gauge your target audience’s interest. Your company can hype up the product’s launch with videos to increase your audience’s anticipation. Discuss persuasive tactics that your sales team can use when speaking to leads and customers.
Create a timeline for the completion of each step of the campaign’s implementation. Hold your company’s project manager accountable for weekly action items and meetings with employees regarding questions and the execution of certain tasks. They’re in charge of finalizing the strategy’s adjustments to improve its results.
Use these tips to launch your next B2B market strategy. The results you receive indicates where you need to allocate more resources to expand your company’s promotional efforts.