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Marketing 101​


Marketing is all too often misunderstood - with some believing 'marketing' is a sales tactic.  Actually, it's the other way around - sales tactics form part of a marketing strategy.  Successful businesses have marketing at their core; the red thread; the guiding principals.  

An Effective Marketing Strategy helps a company define its market position, establishes superior pricing strategies, anticipates the competitor landscape, defines customer value - and it should influence everything from recruitment and training, key stakeholder engagement, supplier negotiation, brand and reputation management, tone of voice, service standards, investmen​t decisions, product portfolio planning... 

And deployed appropriately, an effective Marketing Strategy can lead to new, profitable and even more efficient sales channels.  Read below to learn more about some key marketing themes. 

Product Portfolio

This term describes the range of different products, or services a business offers. Typically each will vary in their relative profitability, and also their customer demand. The optimum is to find a product which has high customer demand, and high profit.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Increasingly, stakeholders are concerned with the wider impact a business has – including the environment, the local community and the impact on staff. As a result many business develop a CSR policy.

Public Relations

Managing the communications with stakeholders, usually outside the immediate organisation. As well as customers, stakeholders include the media, trade bodies, banks, regulators and the local community.

Competitive advantage

Where a business develops a proposition which has a distinct advantage over its competitors. Sources of competitive advantage can include a reduced cost-base, allowing it to compete on price; or a distinct, unique quality which means a customer is prepared to pay-more.

Innovator

Is a term used to describe a consumer who is quick to adopt a new product, service or technology. These consumers are often willing to pay extra for more experimental products – which often tends to fund a businesses ability to mass-produce.

Marketing Mix

The basic framework of factors which business must vary to develop their unique proposition – these have been developed over time (see 4Ps for products, 7Ps of a service and the 5ps adopted in 2016).

Better

Cheaper

or WIth a twist...

All businesses should consider how they are positioned relative to their competitors - if you're not better, or cheaper - then how are you different?  And is your difference going to be valued? 

Calculating Return on Investment (ROI)

Whenever a business invests in marketing and business development activities, the ROI should be tracked, to ensure the activity has a positive effect on the business profits.

Segmentation

Dividing your target audience into groups, allowing you to reach them in a particular way, or address their specific needs

Read more

“Stuck in the middle”

Businesses who do not have a source of competitive advantage are often described as being “stuck in the middle” – neither the cheapest, nor containing a distinct and unique quality is considered a risky strategy.

Engagement

Describes the communication between a customer and business. Gaining customer’s trust and loyalty can help to ensure repeat purchases, and achieve positive advocacy.

Value

An interesting concept – values are very much personal to the individual. However a value-based proposition is one in which the value provided is ‘perceived to be of greater than the cost of creating it’.  Read more

The 4 P’s

The four elements which a business can tweak to develop their unique proposition – in addition to Product, Price, Place and Promotion - read more


Positioning

Deciding how to position your product or service should be aligned to the business strategy – for example, a low price product could be positioned as coming with an arms length customer service strategy.

Campaigns

A campaign often refers to a range of promotions, activities and special offers to achieve a sale/awareness – campaigns should typically have a start/launch and include an end point.

Innovation

Describes a new solution to an existing customer need; or a product or service which hasn’t previously been identified. Innovation is key for businesses who need to stay ahead of their competitors.

Competitive environment

Describes how active competitors are within an industry, or market. The supermarket sector, for example, is highly competitive which leads to many price promotions.

'End to end customer journey'

Increasingly, companies have to ensure their operational strategy aligns to it's marketing and digital strategies.

Tactics

The tactics are the actions taken to deliver a strategy – the formation of a strategy must come first. Marketing tactics will include everything from sales promotions, advertising campaigns, PR, brochure ware, events, email programmes – all designed to deliver the strategic objective.

Social Media

Becoming more important for inclusion within a business communications strategy. Many customers now expect businesses to have a Facebook page, or Twitter account – both of which allow instant interactions.

Communication

Communication between a business and it’s customers should be consistent, to ensure the company message stays ‘on brand’ – this helps to reinforce the customer’s expectations around the performance of the product or service.

Customer adoption

There are typically five steps an individual goes through before adopting a product or service:  Awareness; Interest; Evaluation; Trial and Adoption.

Research

Research is vital for ensuring a product or service is viable. Research can be primary or secondary; depending on whether the research is completed from scratch; or secondary research where existing information is used.

services

The difference between selling products and services: Services are intangible, so customers can't 'try before they buy'; they're inseparable so they're produced and used at the same time; can be variable; and they're perishable, so can't be stored.  Read more

Ambient media

This is where adverts and promotions are placed in unusual places - for example on the back of a car-park ticket, the nozzle of a petrol pump - even on ashtrays outside bars and restaurants. 

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation involves looking after the technical elements of your website to ensure it performs well in natural search.  Read more here: