There are countless books and courses on marketing and how to do it properly. You’ve probably read or attended some yourself. But, do you feel like you have a good grasp of marketing?
Do you fully understand all the processes involved and how to best apply them to your company? When all the cards are on the table, most small-to-medium businesses don’t. Or at the very least, they understand these concepts.
What Is Business Marketing?
Everything a business does, everything you do to sell products and services – is marketing. Every decision you make, if it’s about how to put your products or services in the hands of consumers, is business marketing.
The foundations of marketing are relatively easy to explain and understand. But mastering these essential concepts can mean the difference between success and failure.
You don’t have to micromanage all marketing that your business does. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to hire a professional. However, that doesn’t replace the need to have a solid knowledge of marketing strategy. Business owners should always have a proactive role in their company’s marketing tactics.
Essential Components of a Good Marketing Strategy
Not all marketing concepts will apply to every business. Some will be more relevant than others, but as an entrepreneur you should be familiar with all of them.
Think of inbound marketing as your workhorse.
It’s a set of marketing tactics designed to maintain a steady influx of customers into your sales process. This isn’t about pushing your brand to generate leads or direct conversion.
Inbound marketing uses various channels in creative ways to reach as many people as possible. Tools such as SEO optimization and social media channels are ideal for this type of marketing. The goal is to drive high volumes of quality traffic that can convert through brand engagement in the long run.
If inbound marketing is your workhorse, think of direct marketing as your racehorse.
Direct marketing includes sales tactics designed to produce an instant response. Things like calls to action in online or broadcast media fall into this category.
Regardless of what else you do, direct marketing is an important part of any marketing strategy. It allows you to instantly measure success or failure based on response rates.
Knowing how people are responding to one offering versus another is crucial.
This is where the rubber really meets the road.
In outbound marketing, you’re reaching out to prospects and basically saying “buy from me.” This is typically what people think of when they hear the word marketing.
Outbound marketing includes sales calls, print ads, broadcast ads, door-to-door sales and much more. Any activity in which you’re reaching out to potential customers with an offering figures into this definition.
Though a staple in countless marketing strategies, it’s not very effective. It’s hard to figure out if it’s really working and people are getting savvier and blocking the majority of this type of marketing.
This is the new-old way to market.
Most smart businesses realize that people are OK with marketing, as long as they get something in return. For example, if you create great content, consumers will be happy to hear from you.
Therefore, every channel you have should start by giving value in return for your customers’ attention.
Social Media Marketing
It is inescapable, omnipresent, and pervasive.
Marketing is about getting attention. If you can’t get people’s attention, you have no one to market to.
The biggest attention vacuums nowadays are social media platforms. It goes without saying that any marketing strategy that doesn’t include social media, is off to a bad start.
Start with Solid Foundations
Each of these components has its own place in the puzzle. Some may be more important to your business than others. But only by understanding them all can you find your way out of the marketing madness.
Don’t be a passive business owner. Take charge of your marketing strategies and stop wasting resources on marketing that doesn’t deliver.
Pamela Wigglesworth, CSP is an international marketing consultant, speaker and the CEO of Experiential Hands-on Learning based in Asia. She is the author of The 50-60 Something ™ Start-up Entrepreneur and works with organizations across multiple industries to help them increase brand awareness, increase leads and ultimately increase sales.