What is marketing? As defined by the Webster’s Dictionary, marketing is the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market. Marketing is the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.
In our test, marketing is described as “the societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering and freely exchanging products and services of value with others.” (Kotler and Keller, 2009)
A company relies solely on marketing. As the text mentions, you can have a great product, a great customer retention program, but without marketing where would the customers come from? In order to run a successful business, you need to know who your target audience is, what the demand for your product is, and how to make your product known. “Knowing what your clients’ expectations are, exceeding them, and building a reputation based on that is the key to success. Pay attention to your customers, and they will come back time and time again. Ignore them, and they will disappear faster than you can spend your marketing budget to try to bring them back.” (Geld, 2006)
Marketing, to me, is a process in which you identify your prospective customers, and provide a service or good to that set of people. In the marketing process, you not only need to identify who your key audience is, but you need to have the ability to present your product in an appealing format that will draw people to your product.
I work for a transactional tax software company. One of our corporate objectives is to have our entire customer base upgrade to our latest code line of the software. With this corporate objective, we need the participation from our Marketing department as a means to identify our target customers, those still on an older code line, and provide a reason for our customer to “want” to upgrade. In this process we gathered the necessary customer information from our Customer Support database. With this information, we setup Webinars for our customer base to attend where we could display the benefits of moving to the latest version. We sent webinar information to all of our customers needing to upgrade in an effort to “sale” the latest version. We provided two different webinars for the upgrade. The first webinar contained all technical information that is required for the upgrade, answering any questions that the participants may have. The second webinar we provided was the functional changes of latest product, presented by our Director of Product Management. The new features that we presented in our webinar represented to our customer base the innovative changes that we have made with the product that will make their lives easier.
I believe that our marketing strategy was effective at spreading the word with our customers. The webinars were also effective at providing a resource for our customers to get a first hand look at the upgrade process, and a place where they can receive immediate answers.
The use of marketing also provides information to a company to help improve their product. To remain relevant, a company needs to always be changing. The marketing process helps to direct a company in their plans for change. Identifying how you can change your product to not only retain your current customer base, but to continually draw in new customers, is the reason for growth within a company.
Apple has done a great job at changing up their products and providing new services to capture the market audience. With the release of the iPod, Apple provided a sleeker, more innovative way to listening to and purchasing music. With the ever increasing digital world, Apple keyed on the technologic aspect of the music player allowing consumers to download music directly to their iPod, from their own download platform, iTunes. When Apple extended the functionality of the iPod to the cell phone, creating the iPhone, they took advantage of their innovation and their ability to predict what their consumers were after. With the creation of the i-products, they have created a brand that is recognizable. The mention of an i-product immediately alerts a consumer of the Apple brand. This has been very beneficial for Apple as their products, as of late, have been among the most innovative in the industry.
Marketing not only gets your company rolling, but it is essential to keep your company from floundering and eventually being left in the dust by their competitors.