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What Is Marketing And Why Is It So Important?

Marketing? You know what it is don’t you?

It’s advertising. Having a website. Doing some social media.

Well perhaps when it gets down to it, you’re not so sure what marketing is.

The experts can’t even agree amongst themselves.

What Is Marketing?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing says ” Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”

Top selling author, Jay Conrad Levinson defines marketing as “every bit of contact your company has with anyone in the outside world.”

Professor David Jobber defines marketing as “the achievement of corporate goals through meeting and exceeding customer needs.”

My MBA Marketing course was organised into four modules based on customer focus and providing value to those targeted customers:

  1. Understanding customer value
  2. Creating customer value
  3. Communicating customer value
  4. Delivering customer value

So you can see that marketing is everything you do that impacts a customer in any way. It is much more than advertising and sales promotion which is how many owners of small businesses look at it.

Why Is Marketing So Important?

Surveys show that when owners of small businesses are asked to assess their skills across the various management disciplines, three areas or weakness usually come up:

  1. Accounting & tax – it is so technical (and not very exciting for many small business owners).
  2. Employee legislation and management – again there are many rules to hiring, employing and terminating employment. Leading the team and getting high quality work is also a common issue.
  3. Marketing – from finding a unique market position through to maximising the value created in the ongoing customer relationships.

But it is marketing that keeps people awake at night most with about two thirds worrying about attracting and retaining customers.

Marketing becomes a problem when a business is designed from the inside-out. It is the “build a better mousetrap” syndrome and if people don’t want a better mousetrap or see any need for it, they won’t buy, no matter how extensively the product is advertised.

If instead you design your business from the outside-in, you identify the customer need or want that isn’t being satisfied and design your business to meet that need efficiently.

The Difference Between Efficiency and Effectiveness

Business owners and managers can easily become confused on the difference between efficiency and effectiveness where efficiency is doing getting things right and effectiveness is doing the right things.

  • If you are effective and efficient – your business thrives.
  • If you are effective but inefficient – your business survives.
  • If you are efficient but ineffective – your business dies slowly.
  • If you are ineffective and inefficient – you go out of business quickly.

Marketing is all about being effective and doing the right things.

By understanding what it is that customers want and the areas where current solutions force customers to make compromises, you can

  1. Design a product or service that better matches their buying criteria.
  2. Design your communications to help prospective customers understand the extra benefits you offer.
  3. Design your business to deliver your promise consistently and at a low cost.

If there are mismatches between what you offer and what the customer wants, there are two consequences:

  1. Your product or service doesn’t meet the customer’s requirements and is rejected.
  2. Your product does much more than a customer wants, but because of all the costs associated with the extra features and benefits, there is a mismatch between the price you want to charge and the price the customer will pay. Effectively you are incurring costs that the customer won’t pay for.

The first causes an opportunity to be lost and a potential sale to be missed. The second means you are squeezed between low prices and high costs.

Because it is this important, marketing is not something that business owners should remain uncertain about.

Marketing is a major feature of my Eight Pillars Of Business Prosperity coaching model and it features in pillars 3 your market positioning, 4 how you generate leads, 5 how you convert leads to customers and 6 how you turn one time customers into frequent buyers.

Marketing is about communicating with your customers and potential customers but that is such a narrow definition and it explains why many small businesses have marketing problems. Those who do struggle focus on the impact marketing has on pillar 4 generating customers leads (and won’t do that well) and miss the benefits from pillars 3, 5 and 6.

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