Marketing – Fundamentals
In today’s post, we are going to look at different Marketing fundamentals for promoting your product. Before we delve into the topic, let’s understand the basics of marketing your product. It takes a multitudinous amount of efforts to develop a product/service. To make sure that the product/service reaches its desired audience it is hence an essential process to add to the product lifecycle. Here comes Marketing in the picture. Marketing is inherently a technique of business used to sell or promote products/services.
Once the product is ready to deploy, Marketing and its fundamentals play a very important role in ensuring it reaches the desired results. A marketer may choose the most favorable technique for their brands from an array of different services available. For this blog post, we will be looking at the most common services that marketer’s uses to promote their products both online and offline which include Advertising, Sales Promotion, Direct Marketing, Public Relations, Digital Marketing. The marketing mix can be classified into presale, during sale and post-sale. Let’s get started and try to understand each and every aspect of the most commonly used Marketing fundamentals and techniques.
Advertising is the probably the most primitive known form of marketing. It also has the most impact on a consumer’s purchasing behavior. While the tools used for the promotion can be classified into Above the Line (ATL) or mainline advertising and below the line (BTL) or online advertising. Advertising started majorly with Print ads and leaflets, which later on were joined by Radio, audio-visual ads and most recently being OOH. Advertising is utilized for either selling the products/services or it may be even used to reassure a sense of faith and trust amongst its stakeholders and shareholders. Advertising comes in multiple forms and formats. It is classified mainly into Traditional media and new media.
Traditional medium comprises of Newspaper adverts, wall paintings, billboards, street furniture components, printed flyers, radio, cinema and television adverts, web banners, mobile telephone screens, shopping carts, web popups, bus stop benches, billboards, magazines, sides of buses, musical stage shows, trains, the opening section of streaming audio and video, posters, and the backs of event tickets and supermarket receipts. New media is mainly comprised of digital and social media advertising, which I will be speaking about in later part of the post.
However, with growing mediums to advertise, the line between traditional and new medium has slowly diminished. It is preposterous to leave out a particular media. It’s all about being a 360-degree campaign. In holistic view, it is very important for brands to convey their proposition in a unique and creative way. The more impact the message is, the more connect a consumer has with the brand.
Sales promotion is basically known as a form of marketing that involves various discounts to the end users and schemes to the retailers and distributors. Sales promotion includes discounts, contests, product samples, the point of purchase displays, coupons, exchange offers, freebies. Few classic examples of sales promotion include schemes like ‘Buy 1 product and get another Free’, ‘product displays at the cash counters in shopping malls’, ‘Cashback vouchers’ etc.
With the rapid digital penetration, a lot of e-commerce portals, have started using sales promotion extensively to engage with users and create an urge to buy products from their portals. While we interact with sales promotion each and every day, knowingly or unknowingly, its effectiveness completely depends on the sector of your products. For e.g.: discounts have a lot of importance in e-commerce sector whereas one plus one free scheme has a more importance in retail stores.
Direct marketing is the form of marketing which involves the organization and the consumers directly. There is mostly no ‘middle-man’ involved in this form of marketing. Tools exercised for this marketing activity are product catalogs, client visits, flyers and mailers. Direct marketing usually involves the consumer to take immediate action. Like filling up the inquiry form, clicking on the mailer, making a purchase decision with the visiting salesperson of the company, callback the toll-free number to name a few. Along with Advertising, direct marketing is the most primitive form of marketing. Its inception dates back to as long as the beginning of 18th century.
Direct marketing works with companies who have lesser marketing budgets, as it removes the middle-man and also it’s not as costly as television advertisements. Direct Marketing mostly works with a targeted database and target audience. For e.g.: for a new launch of a retail store, it is advisable to send flyers to potential users within a certain vicinity. There is no point in sending the flyers to someone who is hundreds of miles away. Also with the case of Emailers, there is a strong possibility that multiple Emailers can be labeled as spam if they don’t initiate action for certain duration.
Public relations (PR) are the most self-defining tool of the marketing mix. Public relations simply mean have a good image of the organization/person/governing body in the eyes of its public. Public relations is aimed at keeping the public informed about the organization, its product, leadership, upcoming events, or any many changes in the organizations. Furthermore, PR is bifurcated to Product PR, Corporate PR, Finance PR, Employee PR etc. Public relations form a very important part of the communications mix. It is very important for brands to keep positive relations with all the shareholders and stakeholders involved. More recently, organizations have incorporated CSR activities as a part of PR initiative.
CSR helps in building an image of the organization in the eyes of their shareholders and stakeholders alike. Public relations are handled by PR executives who work for a dedicated PR agency or in the marketing department of the organizations. Many times, PR is used to promulgate a product launch/upcoming event amongst the media. PR examples include featuring newspaper releases (articles, classified advertising), website articles (blogs, newsletters), having press conferences, issuing statements, announcing product release date, more recently Social media etc. PR releases usually are earned media but there are instances of paid media as well.
Digital marketing is essentially advertising your products/services using digital technologies, mainly Internet. However, it also includes other channels, like mobile phones, display advertising and other devices. Since early 1990’s digital marketing has grown leaps and bounds with brands understanding the value of technology in consumer purchase cycle. Consumers prefer visiting a brands website rather than a shop to gather more information about the products.
In the last couple of years, Digital marketing has taken a quantum leap. In fact, as of end quarter of 2017, Digital Marketing had more spends than mainline advertising. Digital marketing practices include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search engine marketing (SEM), Content Marketing, e-mailers, digital banners (on affiliate websites), display advertising, social media marketing, re-marketing to name a few. It also supplements to non-internet services, like SMS, Callback and mobile ringtones. Digital marketing mainly works because of three major reasons namely: Ease of use, Competitive advantage and effectiveness. The benefits of Digital marketing are indisputable because businesses of any size and shape can benefit from the medium.
The digital medium is very cost effective and hence even larger brands make it a conscious point to include the medium in their marketing plan. Also, a key point to take into consideration is that Digital Marketing makes a privy association with the consumers. Be it social media, emails, SMS’s, phone calls, you name it and the brand can associate with the consumer. We will be discussing Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Emailers, Display advertising, remarketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search engine marketing (SEM) in depth in my forthcoming blog posts.
To summarize, these are the most common tools utilized by the brands to interact with their target groups. In the next post, we will be focusing on the 5 W’s of the product cycle. Going forward the core focus will be on Digital Marketing and its tools.