The term “marketing” is almost always confused with advertising and with good reasons too. Technically speaking, marketing is how you communicate your product to your customers and then encourage them to buy. Marketing strategies are designed to attract consumers to make purchases and consequently, influence others to do the same. Marketing concepts are geared towards every aspect of one’s business – from the conception of the product down to the consumer’s experience. Packaging, promotion, pricing, planning, researching, and even distribution should be covered in every marketing campaign and execution.

Marketing has nine functions – buying, selling, financing, storage, transportation, processing, risk-taking, marketing information, and grading and standardizing. This should be incorporated when developing a marketing plan. However, the six “Ps” are equally important and they should form the framework of an effective marketing plan. The six “Ps” are Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, and Process. Devising a plan based on this framework will help identify key areas that need to be focused on and eventually executed once the marketing plan is approved.

With so many approach that businesses use (relationship marketing, business marketing, social marketing, and internet marketing), digital or search engine marketing is one of the newest forms that has been introduced in the market. Online advertising, as one may call Internet marketing, is everywhere. Little do consumers know that just by posting comments, reviews, and opinions about products they’ve purchased or are yet to purchase, they are already part of the cycle. They have proven the need for Internet marketing and they have also shown sceptics why it is an integral part of a business’ overall marketing strategy.

The power of the Internet cannot be stressed enough, especially today when almost everyone has his or her own Smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. With just a tap or click, a consumer can easily make a purchase. It can be an impulse or it can be something that has been planned for weeks. Those who plan to explore the whole world of Internet marketing should be prepared to think fast and act fast. Every day, new small mom-and-pop stores emerge and they are all hungry for consumers.

One tip here is to be a pop culture enthusiast. Internet memes become viral because they refer to pop culture and consumers can easily relate to them. It makes marketing products or services easier because the product/service speaks to the consumer itself. Be wary of this though. Memes can get old very quickly. Using memes that don’t relate to a certain generation will only be a waste of time and effort because the product/service won’t be able to communicate with its reader.

Following that line of thought, marketing is also achieved by communicating with the consumer through a personal and approachable manner. Be informal. Talk about the company in the first person form. Say “I” or “we” instead of not using any personal pronouns at all. It makes the consumer feel a part of the corporation, as if everyone is part of one big family.

Corporations who listen to their consumers will definitely be a priority for consumers because these are the people who purchase spend their hard-earned dollars on merchandise manufactured or created by these businesses. They are the ones who have the right to dictate the market and a two-way marketing plan is one of the most underrated but certainly most effective means of marketing.

Consult with experts, cook up a marketing strategy that involves the consumers, and show them gratitude by listening to what they have to say. Marketing is no longer about the goods. Today, it’s all about the consumer. The shift towards consumer satisfaction is one of the best strategies in building a loyal customer base.