As a Start Up Business Consultant, I am often asked the question: “What is marketing and how do I employ the marketing mix in my small business start up strategy?” In answer to this frequently asked question, I would like to begin by explaining what marketing is – and what it isn’t.
What is Marketing Anyway?
To understand marketing, you need to grasp the “big picture” of what marketing really is. Here goes. Marketing encompasses the entire planning process (from conception to delivery) of taking your product, service or idea to a targeted audience — ready, willing and able to make a buying decision. This exchange between buyer and seller satisfies the mutual needs of both parties, and therefore defines the ultimate purpose and goal of marketing — your product or service for my hard earned cash.
What is the Marketing Mix?
The combination of your product or service, pricing structure, the delivery system for getting your product or service into the hands of potential buyers, and the promotional activities required to satisfy your target are essentially the marketing mix.
What Isn’t Marketing?
Now that we’ve discussed what marketing is, let’s take a look at what it’s NOT. Many of us have heard the term marketing used to describe a number of activities related to promoting your small business start up. The most common piece of misinformation is, that marketing is advertising or promoting your small business start up’s products or services. This explanation is far too limiting and does not give you the full picture of what marketing really is. You owe it to yourself to learn all that you can about marketing, because every business decision you’ll ever make will have a direct impact on some form of your overall marketing activities.
Marketing Terms that Every Small Business Start Up Should Know…
marketing concept: The business philosophy of your company’s management team that expresses your sole purpose for being in business and achieving your sales goals. Satisfying customers and meeting their needs is at the heart of the successful marketing concept.
marketing strategy: Your goals for satisfying the needs of your target market through the planning and implementation of the marketing mix.
marketing mix: The combination of your product or service, pricing structure, the delivery system for getting your product or service into the hands of potential buyers, and the promotional activities required to satisfy your target.
target market: A segment of the market that a company selects in which to direct its marketing efforts.
marketing campaign: A coordinated plan of action for promoting your product or service to a targeted market, which ties in all aspects of the marketing concept, your marketing strategy and marketing mix.
Employing the Marketing Mix in Your Small Business Start Up Strategy
Now that we’ve successfully answered the “what is marketing?” question, let’s move on to looking at the development of a marketing mix, based on your start up’s goals and objectives, for satisfying the needs of your target market.
Employing the marketing mix in your small business start up strategy requires a recipe of four ingredients, which are necessary to satisfy your intended target.
These ingredients are:
(1) your product or service,
(2) your pricing structure,
(3) your delivery system for getting the product or service to its intended target; and
(4) all of the promotional activities involved in attracting new customers, such as advertising, publicity, sales promotions and personal selling.
Coupled together, your target market and marketing mix are what make up the marketing strategy for your small business startup.
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