What is Marketing?

According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), marketing is a set of activities that creates and delivers useful information to customers. Below expounds on different aspects of this crucial business activity.

The Traditional Market Mix

This concept refers to the basic ingredients that are used to capture and promote a product’s unique features and a brand’s special selling points. In other words, it’s the key to competitive differentiation. These so called “four Ps” are the basis for all advertising, promotion, branding and even web design activities.

First, product refers to either tangible goods or intangible services that meet the needs or wants of customers. In order to properly sell a product, it’s imperative to know exactly what the product offers, why customers want it and what makes it unique.

Second, price determination impacts strategies, profit margins and supply and demand. Brands must be properly positioned based on varying factors in order to either outsell the competition or dominate the market.

Third, promotion refers to the methods of product differentiation and information dissemination to consumers. Promotional activities include advertising, public relations, social media, email campaigns and search engine optimization.

Fourth, place means that the right product must be at the right place at the right time. Ideal locations must be identified, evaluated and tested.

Online Solutions

More and more consumers shop online and compare products through blogs, websites and social media platforms. Native advertising is a concept that involves adapting and camouflaging ads within content and conversations. It usually appears in the form of sponsored content that offers meaningful and helpful information to consumers. It appears like advice or consumer experiences, so it flows well and feels similar to its editorial pieces. For example, radio DJs talking favorably about a product and a product related article in a news source.

Digital ads come in all shapes and sizes. Display ads are colorful, eye-catching ads that typically appear on web pages. They often appear as small banner or large overlay ads that include promotions, animations and calls to action. Mobile ads are similar to display ads, but they are designed for smaller screens. Video ads appear in online videos before or during the display. These are very popular with sites like Hulu and YouTube.

Important Acronyms

The world of marketing-based solutions is full of important acronyms. To illustrate, AIDA refers to attention, awareness, interest, desire and action. These basic steps make up the digital sales or purchase funnel, where customers land on a page, explore items and hopefully make a purchase. The acronym BANT stands for budget, authority, need and timeline. Sales reps use this process to qualify prospective customers by determining if the prospect has the finances, power and flexibility to buy what they want.

A CMS is a Content Management System, which is a web app designed to make it easy for non-technical people to create, update and manage a website. It helps users make content more searchable and automatically tracks data. A CMS optimizes websites for incoming visitors so they have a highly personalized web experience. PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, is an online advertising technique that pays that creator each time a visitor clicks on the ad. These are very popular through Facebook and Google AdWords.

The goal of modern marketing is to provide interactive and innovative content that builds brand awareness and dedicated product communities.

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