Billions of dollars are spent on marketing each year, but much of it is wasted. How many of you watch TV commercials? When was the last time a billboard or a newspaper ad caught your attention? How fast do you toss out junk mail? The word “junk” says it all.
Why do you think so much marketing spending is futile? Simply because most companies focus on selling something and not on what the customer wants. Companies need to reverse course.
Marketing is about the customer, meeting his needs and wants. This can only be done, by understanding these needs in depth. You may even have to go further. Today many more people are looking to do business with organizations that share their values and ethos. The mission of Warby Parker or Patagonia may resonate with you. Or perhaps it is the companies that focus on green, organic, Fair Trade or Non GMO products that you feel more deeply about. We buy from people we like and there is a strong social and emotional element to our decisions.
Professor Gretchen Dobie, who has been teaching an introductory marketing class to MBA students at Loyola University for many years, puts it this way: “Effective marketing is recognizing customer needsand devising ways to attract customers to the product.”
Marketing, then, is both a strategy and a variety of tactics. The latter include advertising, promoting, pricing, branding, positioning, segmenting and selling. However, the best place to start is to focus on the basic questions that were raised earlier:
- What is the problem that is being solved? Who is the customer? How much will they pay?
- Who is the competition? Why will customers buy your product over those of the competition?
Professor Dobie gives my students an introduction to marketing, a crash course of sorts, in which we use a modified marketing model that we call “The 3Ps and 3Cs.”
We shall look at what these 3 Ps and 3Cs are, in my next post. Till then, keep thinking of what is the problem your product/ service is solving, and who is your customer and your competition.
Verinder Syal, Author: Discover The Entrepreneur Within