The Marketing Process
Play word association with ‘marketing’ and many will respond with ‘advertising’. Others might come up with ‘promoting’, or even offer up ‘Facebook‘ nowadays. Rarely will somebody utter ‘marketing process’.
And yet, as small business owners and marketeers, we should be thinking more about the Marketing Process as a whole rather than simply its exciting promotional element. So bear with me here.
In marketing jargon, there are four elements to the Marketing Process – the steps through which we should go when looking for direction, ideas and actions.
First, there’s Situation Analysis. Here, we look at the marketplace as a whole and what resources we have, how our business, product or service stacks up and what trends are out there that we could be taking advantage of. One part of this step is the good old SWOT Analysis. What are our Strengths and Weaknesses? What Opportunities and Threats are out there?
Second, there’s Marketing Research. Here, we carry out research into what competitors are offering, or what current and potential customers are looking for. Think of it as validation of what we’ve discovered during Situation Analysis, or as a means to answering the questions that will inevitably have popped up.
Third, it’s Target Marketing. Armed with the kind of good information that the first two steps will have furnished us with, we should now have a sound picture of the marketplace. It’s now time to pick and choose between the various market segments and home in on the one or more we feel we can best serve.
Fourth (and only having completed the other steps), it’s time to get to the juicy bit – the Marketing Mix.
Now, having worked methodically through those first three (less appealing) steps, we can make better decisions about product offers, pricing levels, distribution channels and promotional mix. Why? Because we’ve learned so much already.
I like to call these four steps “Now, Check, Aim, Fire”. Note how, along with the fourth, the first three don’t stop. They are not a simple once-off exercise; they are ongoing.
‘Now’ signifies looking around and seeing where you’re at. ‘Check’ is about researching and validating what you believe to be true. ‘Aim’ is for finding your preferred target markets. Finally, you ‘Fire’ your mix of product, price, place and promotion at that or those target markets you’ve identified.
The Marketing Process
Check back over the coming months for more detailed posts about each step.