As you can already see from the headline, I am going to explore the fundamentals of marketing in this article.
But, wait a minute!!
Why even bother to learn about marketing?
To answer this question, we need to take a step back and look into history. When did marketing come into existence? Marketing started in the days of barter system(when instead of using currency the goods and services were directly exchanged), probably the day a person first thought to exchange his goods with someone else’s, may be after a little bargain. Since then marketing has grown and evolved with time, making it an ageless skill to learn and reap its benefits for lifetime.
From another perspective, I can ask you the following questions —
Do you want to learn a skill which won’t let you go hungry or go broke ever again but rather help you live a luxurious lifestyle?
Do you wish to learn that one skill common to all millionaires and billionaires?
If your answer to any of the questions above is yes, then you have to learn this one skill — marketing. And for that you have come to the right place.
Also, marketing is the only limb of a business which gives direct Return on Investment(ROI). No other parts like production, manufacturing, HR,etc. give a direct ROI.
This article is for all those who intend to get started with marketing ranging from but not limited to — bloggers, professionals, freelancers, mentors and entrepreneurs.
Before beginning, it is only fair to give you an idea of what you are going to discover in this article —
- The fundamentals of marketing
- Digital marketing vs. Traditional marketing.
- CATT Marketing Funnel
- Integrated Digital Marketing
- Personal Branding: MassTrust Blueprint
and much more…..
Now, you may already be thinking —
Dude, this is easy. I have heard this word quite a few dozen times. This is what the pestering insurance agent does to me. Right?!
Well, kind of, but not quite fully.
So, what is marketing?
Simply put, marketing is the process of understanding, creating and selling a solution to a problem that already exists in the market.
Now, lets dive a bit into the fundamentals of marketing —
Marketing goes beyond just trying to sell something to someone. It starts much before creating a product and manufacturing it. It begins by understanding customers and their needs to create a specific product which fits their needs and sells itself. It is the art of sending the right message to the right person at the right time.
Contrary to what most sales men and women do, marketing is not just about selling. It is keeping an existing customer happy by communicating with them about the quality of the product, about the user experience and by taking detailed feedback from them; thus making them a happy customer for life.
“ Real marketing begins after you sell your products by making sure that they remain delighted customers for life. ”
Marketing is also a game of perceptions. A product is rooted in reality. It is a means to an end by creating a brand and occupying the “mind space” of the consumers. It is the art of understanding the needs of customers so well that the resultant product fits his need completely and sells itself thus becoming a great product. A great product transforms its customers into brand ambassadors thus leading to extensive marketing by word of mouth(the best channel of marketing indeed).
Efficient marketing also requires a strong understanding of global economics. Every entrepreneur should learn about global economics and make their decisions based on it. Important economic concepts like debt creates money (For Example: If you take a loan of 15 lakhs from the bank A and deposit it in bank B, bank B can again loan that money to another person but amount will be less than 15 lakh. More debt in the economy=more cash(inflation). When people start repaying the debt the money supply shrinks.) should be understood.
“ Recession creates strong companies and drives out the weak ones out of the market. ”
Now, lets take a look at the three main components of marketing — advertising, copywriting and sales. Advertising is the process of sending messages paid for by those who send them and are intended to influence the readers in a certain way. Copywriting is the process of writing text for advertising. And sales is the act of selling the product to the target customers.
None can achieve mastery over the above three components with shaky communication skills. Good communication are the foundation of marketing. You don’t need to know sophisticated english. What you need to know is how to join a conversation already playing in the minds of the consumers and transfer you thoughts effectively.
Here are a few tips to do so —
Think in English.
Write a lot. The more the better.
Watch English films, stand-up comedy shows and sitcoms.
Now, lets take a look at the pros and cons of traditional marketing and digital marketing.
Traditional marketing is done through the most popular mediums like television, radio and newspaper. If a product is generic with a very wide target customer segment, then TV Ads can reach millions of target customers at a very low cost(e.g. — Apple Iphone). In India, TV covers 197 million homes, radio covers 65 percent of the total population and newspapers cover 465 million people.
Downside of Traditional Marketing —
Traditional marketing does not work for products which is not generic and becomes highly expensive if the target customers segment is narrow. Also, traditional marketing does not allow any scope for personalisation of marketing to serve customers better.
It is now that Digital Marketing comes into picture.
In India, digital marketing covers about 100 million people who have access to the Internet and use it regularly. This segment is also the English speaking affluent section of the Indian society. Digital marketing is the future of marketing and allows marketing to become more personalised, customer-oriented and tailor-made for each customer at an individual level.
When talking about digital marketing, it is important for you to know about a related domain of marketing, Direct Response Marketing.
Direct Response Marketing(DRM) is a specific variant of marketing used to elicit an instant response by encouraging prospects to take a specific action. Most people who run ads do not know if they work or not, or till what extent they work. The measurability of most ways of marketing are very vague and it is extremely difficult to figure out how much ROI is one getting back. Here comes DRM. It allows for accuracy and absolute measurability of how much results marketing is generating.
Let us now come to a very important concept of marketing — the CATT Marketing Funnel.
If you have come this far in the article, I can easily assume that you are eagerly waiting for that single secret formula that is basic to great marketing. The formula is —
Wealth = n ^ CATT
Baffled?!!! Don’t worry. I am here to help you understand it.
So, let’s get started…
[n]Niche : Your success and wealth depends on the niche you choose. Niche is the specific area of target customers for which you are designing and manufacturing your product.
[C]Content : As they always say, Content is the King. For any niche, content useful for the regular readers always finds and attracts potential customers. Content should be clear and understandable to the readers so that they builds a good and clear perception about the product or the services sold. Content can be in form of blogs, podcasts, videos, lead magnets,etc.
[A]Attention : Drive Attention to your Content using SEO, Social Media , Paid Ads and Referrals. In this step, you attract more and more traffic to your landing page. If your content is useful to the visitors, they will come repeatedly and visit your website, podcasts, etc. to get value out of them.
[T]Trust : Build trust with your audience with trip wires, marketing automation and retargeting. Trust is the most important aspect of a brand -customer relationship. There are a lot of options for a consumer in a market. So, it should be very clear to him about why he should trust your product and spend his valuable money.
“ Money goes where trust builds. ”
[T]Transaction : Convert your leads into customers with natural sales method.
But often when it comes to digital marketing, a significant part of the digital marketing professionals tend to stick with only one or two ways to drive traffic to their content. This approach frequently results in disappointment for those people and they complain that people don’t read their blogs or listen to their podcasts. But this isn’t the most profitable way to do digital marketing.
This is like using a single limb, a leg or a hand, to move despite having all the limbs available. Though one can still move in that arrangement but it is not the best way to get the job done.
This is where Integrated Digital Marketing comes in.
Integrated Digital Marketing
Integrated Digital marketing is a holistic and wholesome approach towards doing digital marketing and getting results from it. It is the process of creating an eco-system with different types of digital marketing methods, namely — Email Marketing,Content Marketing, Paid Advertising, SEO and Social Media and using them in a complementing fashion to sell and convert the leads into revenue.
For instance, instead of running only Adsense Ads for your blog, you can also consider running Affiliate Marketing, sponsored write-ups, etc. This will both increase the opportunities to generate more revenue and the reduce the over dependency on just one channel.
This approach guarantees inflow of revenue for any business whatsoever (considering that the niche has enough visitors).
Now, I am going to shed some light about personal branding and why it is imperative that you learn about this.
Well, regardless of the popular opinion, the best known company or professional in a certain field of work or a market may not necessarily be the most skilled one. Rather, it might very well be the case that there are others whose skill or product quality exceeds than that of the most well known professional or company.
But, then why does such a person sit at the top?
Because, the best known will always beat the best skilled.
Also, people want to hear from people and not from companies. It kind of feels unrealistic to them.
For example, Elon Musk has a greater following than his companies, SpaceX and Tesla.
But personal branding also has a downside.
A personal brand cannot be invested in by investors and thus may not be sold ever.
But, a personal brand can become a strong influencer which can give rise to multiple companies. And the personal brand can well become their brand ambassador. In long run, these companies may become bigger than the personal brands and turn into an independent existence.
Lastly, I am going to give a brief idea about the MassTrust Blueprint in personal branding.
Personal Branding: MassTrust Blueprint
MassTrust Blueprint describes all the steps in evolution of a personal brand. You can follow this blueprint as a guideline for your career in digital marketing and it will help you decide your direction at any point in your marketing career.
The steps of MassTrust Blueprint are as follows —
- Learn : Learn new skills, concepts, facts and procedures related to it. Remember the facts and practice the procedures repeatedly.
- Work : Use your newly learned skill in real world. Go from practice to implementation. Take up a new job, do some freelancing projects or concentrate on your own one.
- Blog : Write about what you have learned and experienced while working. When you write something you tend to understand and remember it better.
- Consult : Now that you have a personal brand through your own blog, learnt the fundamental concepts and have work experience, you can consult other business instead of working for them.
- Mentor : Mentor other who want to follow the path you have crossed. It will elevate your understanding to a whole new level.
- Startup : Start your own product with the knowledge that you have gained about the market and sell it to the target customers.
Well, I believe this is more than enough to get you started with marketing. Read it again to get a better understanding of the concepts.
If you have enjoyed reading this article, then please comment and let me know how much relevant and informative this article has been to you, and also let me know what you feel about these concepts, tips and tools.
I will be glad to read your comments and be motivated to write more.