What is marketing?

Welcome to WOI 101 – a series of educational content to help you understand the fundamentals of marketing, communications, public relations, and events and how you can get started with tips and tricks. First in the series, we will look at marketing.

What is marketing?

Marketing includes the activities a company or brand undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. In this article, we will cover the basics and then dive into some easy marketing tips you can apply to your business, large or small.

What marketing is and is not.

As a discipline, marketing is broad and includes all the actions it takes to attract and retain customers. At a basic level, marketing involves understanding your customer and then “matching” them to your product or service via the 4 P’s – Product, Price, Place, Promotion (more on this below).

Marketing is not a catch all, although it is often referred to in those terms. Much of what is deemed marketing actually falls under brand, communications, public relations, or other activities. These areas are all inherently intertwined and should run in parallel with one another. But back to marketing and the 4 P’s.

Product – The product you plan to sell. Also includes services. Many businesses go through extensive research and development before marketing but remember that marketing should take place in parallel with these other activities. Should you wait to have the perfect product before you start marketing? In our opinion, “no” because your product and service should and most likely will continually evolve over time and your marketing can be tweaked accordingly. Given that shoppers expect new products constantly, it makes sense to get started with marketing, even if you don’t think you’re quite ready. You do not need a perfect website to get started, as an example. Get started and improve as you go along, learning more about your demographic and customer’s wants and needs and adjusting as you go.

Price – the price you decide to sell at is linked to several factors. How to price your product? Consider unit cost price, cost of operations, marketing costs, distribution expenses to understand your costs. Pricing is also linked, of course, to competition, but also to your brand and your demographic’s purchasing preferences. Is it always better to be the most competitively priced? In short, “no”, unless your customer’s top priority is purchasing at the lowest possible price. Most purchases are not made from a purely cost perspective. As an example, many consumers want to have an emotional connection to the brands they buy from. Other factors, including company values and sustainability should be considered when pricing your products or services. For example, many consumers are willing to spend a little more to support small, local, women-owned, sustainable businesses, or any business that has values that aligns with their own. Pricing should come from a place of understanding what factors are important to your customer and finding your position in the market amongst your competitors.

Place – Where you plan to sell your product and services. Retail has been irrevocably affected by COVID-19 in many locations, however, storefronts and pop-ups are still popular in cities including Hong Kong and Singapore. Online shopping has boomed and many brands are now improving their digital marketing to make the user experience better and to rank higher on Google.

According to optinmonster.com, In 2019, there were 1.92 billion digital buyers, and eCommerce sales account for 14.1% of retail purchases worldwide. By 2023, eCommerce retail purchases are expected to rise from 14.1% to 22%.

According to Oberlo, 63% of shopping occasions begin online, 50% of consumers shop via mobile, and Chinese platform, Taobao is the biggest online marketplace with a GMV of 515billion U.S. dollars.

If you are selling online, what sort of product placement are you getting? Consider influencer and KOL marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing, and exposure via advertisements and articles.

Did you know that 63% of abandoned carts are due to shipping costs? Consider the entire journey from discovery to purchase, keeping in mind your customer’s wants and needs. Shape your brand experience around this knowledge and data.

Promotion

Promotion – is the integrated marketing communications campaign which is made up of a variety of actions and activities. Promotion includes direct sales, public relations, media relations, direct marketing, inbound marketing, sponsorship, collaborations, and much more.

Whilst there are lots of viewpoints on email marketing (is it dead? Is it making a comeback?), you still need to consider it, even if you choose not to implement it (yet). Here are 5 activities that you should not wait to do:

  • Set up Google My Business
    • This will enable your customers to find you (physically or digitally) and leave reviews, boosting your credibility online.
  • Get clear on your vision
    • This is the desired future position of the company. For example, “To be Hong Kong’s go-to agency for marketing and creative communications”.
  • Get clear on your mission
    • This is your company’s objectives and its approach to reach those objectives. For example, “To enable brands, large and small to Be Heard”.
  • Write your brand guidelines
    • Your brand guidelines explain the rules for using your logo, slogan, images, and so on. Even if you are a small business, get clear on how your logo should and should not be used. As you grow, build on your brand guidelines so that your team and other parties understand how to (and not to) present your brand in print and digital.
  • Get social
    • It is okay to start from the ground up. You do not need a huge following; you do not need hundreds or thousands of likes on your first few posts. What you need is a clean, clear aesthetic, useful messaging, and posts that are of value to your audience. If you are hitting these points, growth will come.
How to use marketing to increase sales?

Marketing should always lead to a return on investment (sales). A careful mix of each of the four 4 P’s combined with brand experience marketing will help your brand to be chosen in a competitive space. This question is a big one and highly nuanced depending on your industry, product, demographic, current positioning, and so on. Get in touch to get some bespoke advice.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy – 3 Reasons Why Sustainability Matters in Marketing and How it Affects Revenue and Small Business Marketing 101.