According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Did any of that sink in?! This is quite a vague and abstract way of explaining what marketing is and, by extension, what a marketer does.
An insight from Rita Duarte, Marketing Executive at Me Learning
When someone asks me what my job is, I tell that I am a marketer. However, most people don’t seem to understand what that means. This is typically the point where I attempt to explain what I do but I met with funny comments implying that I’m ‘one of those people who try to sell combs to the bald’.
Maybe it’s my fault; perhaps I’m not explaining myself very well and should employ the analogy I use when explaining it to my grandmother.
Simply put, in the same way that doctors try to help their patients understand their symptoms and ways to treat the problem, we – marketers – try to understand the customer’s needs and solve their problems. We do this by communicating the features and benefits (whether they’re tangible or intangible) and how they will take advantage of these.
So, how does that work?
Traditionally, the marketing formula is comprised of ‘the 4P’s’ – that’s product, price, place and promotion. In an ideal world, Marketing has responsibility for determining what to offer and how to offer it. It is a discipline that has a far-reaching impact on a company and is a fundamental consideration for any corporate strategy.
What should we offer?
After understanding the market needs, a marketing department must work hard to identify a set of product features to fulfil the market’s expectations. After that, the marketing department must understand how much money the customer is willing to pay, whilst ensuring that the company remains financially sustainable.
How should we offer it?
Finding distribution channels is another marketing job. It is important to find an accessible place for potential buyers. This might be online, in stores, or both. Once this has been considered, the last area to cover off is ‘promotion’. This is the most visible and understandable element of the marketing discipline. There are plenty of ways to communicate with prospects and customers, such as: adverts, sales promotion, emails, social media posts or blog content, events, public relations and marketing collateral. But certain channels and certain formats will be more accessible and receptive to your messaging, and some channels will not be at all appropriate. Finding the right balance of channels and media formats is key to your promotional efforts.
Adapting the present to the future
Nowadays, we live in a highly connected world and as a result, the marketing mix has evolved to accommodate greater customer participation. Today it is important to also explore the ‘4 C’s’ as well – co-creation, currency, communal activations and conversation.
The 4P’s concept is evolving to include these elements, with the customer playing the role of the marketing sun, and everything else orbiting around them. Today we want to deliver the best product or service to our customers, and communicating directly with that customer to do so, is vital.
The customer must be the heart of any marketing strategy
In the marketing world we are very aware of the need for a dynamic process to take place between customers and brands, where products are born through co-creation and where brands involve customers at an early stage of product development, allowing customisation and personalisation.
Pricing is also evolving into a more dynamic format, where brands are offering a unique price for each customer based on their historical purchase patterns.
We live in a world where everything must be delivered immediately. The concept of a distribution channel is also changing. Today, customers can buy not only through physical and online stores but also from resellers and even from other customers. This is the ‘communal activation’ concept at work.
Finally, the P that stands for promotion has also changed. While in traditional marketing, brands have one-to-one communication with customers, today, with the proliferation of social media, review platforms and mobility, customers also have wider conversations with other customers.
In the end, Marketers try to find solutions for customer needs and goals and open conversations to achieve this – it’s all about communication. At Me Learning we are no exception, we have conversations with our customers and prospects every day, with the aim of evolving and adapting our products and processes for the best possible customer experience.
So, how would you like to start your conversation with Me Learning? You can head over to our social media channels, email us on email@example.com or call 01273 499100.