Although marketing works the same for everybody, but there’s a way it can be well explained for beginners. That takes away the seeming complexity that most people associate with marketing. Even if you are an MBA student, this simple explanation about marketing will help you understand it much better.
As a startup entrepreneur, your understanding about how marketing works will give you an edge over the competition. Most times, startups see marketing as a subset of advertising. But marketing is the embodiment of sales. Sales happen as an effect of marketing.
In this post, we are going to look at what makes up marketing, by exploring the simple details of how marketing works, especially for beginners who know little about marketing.
Who’s A Marketer?
By understanding who a marketer is, will help you grasp the Know-how of marketing. After all, the sole purpose of learning how marketing works is so that you too can become a good marketer.
So, the primary duty of a marketer is to present a product or service before a target audience, to win their interest and patronage, with strategic messages that raises brand awareness with the intent to drive sales.
However that duty includes finding the best distribution channels to market the product or service. Finding the finances required to run the enterprise. Also, conducting market research about the potential of the market for your product or service. While also managing the product or service, and utilizing all promotional channels available in the target market.
Note: You don’t necessarily need to become a member of National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria to perform marketing functions in your business. But membership of the Institute is compulsory for only practitioners of the marketing profession.
Understanding How Marketing Works?
Marketing is not sales. Know what makes the difference. This must be clear to you. There’s a difference between marketing and sales. That’s because marketing deals with what makes people interested in the product or service being sold. While sales addresses only the activities that lead to the selling of the product or service. So, when you understand and able to differentiate these two, then you can properly articulate how marketing works.
That brings us to the functions of marketing, which includes:
- Market research
- Setting prices
- Product management
- Promotional channels
- Matching products to consumers
Marketing involves every aspect of a product life, till it gets to the final consumer. So, the main goals of marketing, which is to research, promote the product to increase target audience engagement that would lead to the selling of the product or service can be defined as:
- Customer Service
- Lead Nurturing
- Lead Conversion
- Brand Awareness
A professor once gave a simple and educative illustration about marketing to his MBA students. This simple illustration will form the basis for explaining marketing in this article. I will start first by using it to explain advertising, and then the rest of the sub heads under how marketing works.
The professor began with the idea of how you with your friends being in a party, and you spotted a gorgeous looking lady. This scenario will form the platform for every of the illustration, with different reactions or statement to accompany each of the explanation.
Now, if one of your friends go up to our gorgeous lady and pointed at you saying, “he’s very rich. Marry him”. That simple illustration is what advertising means. You are the product, your friend is the medium, while the lady is the target audience.
Also, your friend in his words expressed a proposition to the lady, while prompting her on a course of action. His message was clear: he’s very rich. And what he wants her to do is also very clear: marry him.
This simple illustration explains advertising in a way that everyone can understand. Now, from the concept of marketing, which advertising is a part of, you can understand the role of advertising in marketing. The concept of advertising is to influence consumer purchasing behavior. This influence is induced by emotional force.
What’s Direct Marketing?
Using the same illustration of our gorgeous lady by the professor, let’s define direct marketing in simple terms. But this time, it’s different from how advertising work. Imagine you walk up to her and say, “I’m very rich. Marry me”.
Notice the difference between advertising and direct marketing. In direct marketing, you don’t need someone to do it for you as an intermediary. You are not using any medium or channel of distribution. You are selling directly to the target audience.
Examples of Direct Marketing
There are many ways you can engage in direct marketing. The following examples of a direct marketing would help you find what will work best for you. The most common forms of direct marketing are:
- Internet marketing
- Face-to-face selling
- Direct mail
- Direct-response advertising
- Kiosk marketing
- Phone text messaging
- Promotional letters
- Outdoor advertising
- Magazine adverts
The next important aspect of marketing is the competition. It’s one of the major reason marketing exist in the first place. If there are no competitors, customers would readily find you when they need you.
Marketing is a way of maintaining your market share in a competition. But to explain market competition, let’s resort to professors illustration with our gorgeous lady at the party. But this time, as you got to the lady to say anything, another person got to her first to tell her: “I’m rich. Will you marry me?’ And she goes with him. That other person is the competition.
What’s Brand Recognition?
Branding is one of the biggest part of marketing because of what it seeks to deliver. It builds a long lasting relationship between the product or service and the target audience. A brand gives a product or service a lifeline.
And here’s how the professor illustrates brand recognition using our gorgeous lady at the party. This time, she walks up to you and says, “you are very rich. Can you marry me?”
She’s the one that spotted you. Also, by herself knew that you are very rich. And without hesitation requested to be married. That’s brand recognition. You are recognizable as very rich, to the intent of your target requesting marriage with you.
Any brand that can achieve this kind of recognition is powerful and cannot be easily defeated by the competition. Think of brands like OMO that has replaced the real name of detergents with its brand name – OMO.
What’s Market Restriction?
Moreover, markets can also have restrictions. And that’s our next topic on how marketing works. You need to know what are the restrictions in your market. Some business permits are there to restrict those who can’t meet those requirements from entering the business.
Let’s use the same professors illustration of our gorgeous lady to understand what market restrictions are like. Think of of it as you going up to her, but before you say, “I’m rich. Mary me,” your wife arrives on the scene. That’s like a restriction of entering new markets.
Restrictions exists to stop you. But it’s up to you to know what’s stopping you and how you can overcome those challenges to gain your place in the market.
What’s Demand And Supply Gap?
When you succeed in overcoming the restrictions to get into the market, then prepare yourself also for what could come next. The right thing to do at this stage is to supply your target market what you promised to deliver. And while your supply chain moves in, your marketing should as well address the demand side.
Things can get ugly when demand doesn’t seem to match with supply. There could be demand and supply gap.
In the professors illustration with our gorgeous lady, he made it very simple to grasp. It’s like you going up to the lady to say, “I’m very rich. Marry me”. But she turns and introduces you to her husband. That’s a typical demand and supply gap.
The competition is already present in the market. And your target audience are already in bed with them.
So, what can you do about your situation? Let’s consider telemarketing to understand how it works in marketing. The role telemarketing plays in how marketing works is essential in dealing with issues of demand and supply gap. It offers you direct marketing advantage that could help you woe customers to your product or service.
How would our professor describe telemarketing, using the illustration of our gorgeous lady? Imagine, you go up to her and got her telephone number. The next day, you call her and say, “Hi, I’m very rich. Marry me”. That’s telemarketing.
You are marketing to her directly through access to her phone. You could also use text messaging to do that. But the idea here is that you got her number for the purpose of reaching her with marketing.
Understanding Customers Feedback
Now that you have access to your customers and they are convinced about your product or service, it’s your job with marketing to know what the consumers think about your product or service. It’s a great way to measure how marketing works.
You will love what the professor thinks about customers feedback, in our illustration using the gorgeous lady. It’s like you going up to her to say, “I’m very rich. Marry me!” But she gives you a nice hard slap on your face. That’s what’s called customers feedback.
Also, it doesn’t matter if she just smiled at you and kissed you. Whatever reaction you got from customers feedback is for your advantage. Use what you got to address your product deficiencies or shortsightedness. The customers feedback is there to always point you in the right direction of what could keep your relationship with your target audience sweet with merriment.
You can understand better now from our professors point of view how marketing works. By following the professors illustration we have explained in simple terms how marketing works for beginners. However, one thing is clear, marketing has several parts to it. And if you need to make marketing work for you, then learn all about the things that makeup marketing.
The concept of marketing reveals how marketing works is to satisfy customers needs, increase sales, maximize profits and beat the hell out of the competition. As a marketer, your job in the management of the business is to design best strategies that will create profitable relationships with target customers. And if you do that successful, you have marketing working for you.
Finally, the problem with a lot of marketing strategies by beginner startups is their lack of understand of the difference between marketing and sales. Their ignorance, often times caused by the lack of knowledge of how marketing works, is the reason they never get it right with marketing. So, emphasis is placed on sales as though it covers marketing. Yet, you can only succeed with sales if you make marketing work first.