FUNDAMENTALS OF MARKETING: THE BIGGER PICTURE

Did you frown the very moment you read the title? Or did you end up confused? In either case, ‘the bigger picture’ is what made you react! Didn’t it?

Well, there’s nothing to worry; you haven’t missed anything. In fact, I’d like to congratulate you since you have got a step closer to your dream. Yes, that’s true. This article is going to give you a whole new perspective of marketing, which will be different from what you have been thinking or implementing all these years.

But before we dive in, let me take a pause and ask you some questions:

a) Are you struggling with marketing your products or services?

b) Are you unable to build your personal brand?

c) Are you afraid of losing your job, considering the current scenario?

If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you need to stay here and read until the answer turns into no. Moreover, you are not the only one with a no. Most businesses are faced with a conundrum. There’s a dire need for increased visibility to improve sales. But to get more visibility, businesses have to spend more money. When the well runs dry, what are they supposed to do? There is no obvious answer to this question but there are things that can be done today, right now, even on a shoestring budget, to reach more customers without breaking the bank. This piece of writing is specifically curated for you to help you unveil some of the most critical aspects of marketing, including:

i) Why learn marketing?

ii) Fundamentals of marketing — what you need to know?

iii) Communication skills — why are they needed to become a good marketer?

iv) Traditional marketing vs. digital marketing — which is better?

v) Niche selection — what role does it play?

vi) CATT marketing funnel — what is it and why it matters?

vii) Integrated Digital Marketing — how to implement?

viii) Personal branding — how to evolve your brand?

Without further ado, let’s get started.

First things first,

WHY SHOULD YOU LEARN AND MASTER MARKETING?

I hate Facebook braggers as much as anyone, but I’ve to admit that the world looks a lot more like a marketplace than it used to. A certain amount of branding and curation goes into our online personas, which informs others of our opinions, ideas, lifestyle, plans, career, and most of all how we see the world. Given that reality, we all are unofficially marketers.

But this is not the only reason to have marketing skills in your professional toolkit. Learning how to think and operate like a marketer is increasingly important, no matter what your personality or career path is. Here’s why.

· Marketing as a topic has existed since the dawn of civilisation.

· Marketing education has a long shelf life because it is rooted in human psychology and understanding the market.

· It is a game of perceptions and perceptions can only be created by humans — no robots, AI or other algorithms can replace marketing.

· It is the most valuable investment in a business because it gives direct returns. Everything else like production, HR or accounting are expenses that don’t give immediate ROI.

· Marketing cannot be completely outsourced to an agency. As a founder, you must create a strategy and hire people to execute it rather than solely relying on the agency to sell your product/service.

· If you know how to market and sell, you have a safe career.

Now that we know how important it is to master marketing, we must be acquainted with the basic fundamentals of marketing.

LAW OF MARKETING — ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Majority of the people around you must have told you to be creative. Well, I differ. I don’t think marketing is based on creativity; it is rather based on science. Let’s see how.

Marketing is based on science, not creativity

Marketing starts even before you create the product. It starts with understanding the customers and their needs and developing a product that fits. Once you have a product that’s based on their needs, there’s no need to market — it will start selling itself. This is why I called it science in the first go.

Philip Kotler, the world-famous marketing author and consultant, says

This couldn’t have been explained better! The purpose is to send the right message to the right person at the right time. Never manipulate your customers to buy your product/service. Let me make it easy for you by bringing up a real-life example. Do you receive credit card calls? And how do you react to those calls?

I am sure you have got the answer. Now consider Apple. The brand has created value in such a way that people buy its products the moment they are launched.

Marketing is a game of perceptions

When I say this, what I mean is that product is rooted in reality. Never let marketing become more important than the product. A good product sells itself. And trust me, this actually works.

What’s rare isn’t quantity but quality. To build trust among your audience, it’s the need of the hour to focus on the quality rather than only focusing on marketing. Marketing and good marketing will accelerate the death of your company in case of bad quality products/services.

“Marketing is a battle of perception, not product, so the mind takes precedence over the marketplace.” — The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

Also, a great product converts your customers into brand ambassadors, irrespective of the category. Say for e.g. you availed Wi-Fi services from XYZ brand who offered you unlimited data with great speed and range. After using it for some time, you will definitely recommend it to your friends, relatives or peers because a) you were happy with the quality and b) everyone needs a good Wi-Fi in the digital age. Thus, word of mouth marketing is the best channel of marketing ever.

“The secret to marketing success is no secret at all: Word of mouth is all that matters.” — Seth Godin, CEO and Founder.

Marketing isn’t just about selling

Have you ever patted your back and considered yourself a good marketer after selling a product? Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong in doing this. But a good marketer doesn’t stop with the sale. It shouldn’t be just about selling but about keeping your existing customer(s) content by communicating with them so that they can trust you for a lifetime. Trust is scarce, build it!

“Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.” — Philip Kotler

Create value; create personalised experiences for your customers because that’s all you have. The purpose of your marketing strategy should be to build a brand and capture a position in the minds of your customers.

Now before you get ready for the flight, make sure you have good communication skills because good marketing is all about good communication.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS — THE TRAIT OF A GOOD MARKETER

First things first, good communication isn’t about good English or vocabulary. Instead, it is about how well you can transfer your thoughts to the other person.

Now, you might be struggling with the question, “How to become a good communicator?” Well, the answer lies in here:

· Write as you talk. Don’t focus on using complex words or flowery language to impress your audience. Use understandable language and a good product that falls in line with their requirements.

· Try joining a conversation in your target audience’s mind. For instance, the subject of your email could be ‘Hey! Do you need assurance?’ However, you need to make sure you know your audience and what’s going in there mind by interacting with them.

· Convey the features, uses and advantages of your products and services in a language they understand and relate the most. Let emotions take the front seat instead of vocab or grammar.

This brings us to another dilemma which might be hovering in your mind for a long time. Well, it’s none other than

TRADITIONAL MARKETING vs. DIGITAL MARKETING

Before I can dive into the comparison, I’d like to highlight the common factor i.e. marketing. So, one thing is clear: whether you opt for digital or traditional, marketing will be there. In other words, you need to be good marketer irrespective of the channel you opt.

Source: LyfeMarketing

Running a successful business is not just about choosing the appropriate market or having a high-quality product. It’s also about leveraging the right kind of marketing techniques to reach your target audience and convert them into leads. Having said this, I would like you to take at some facts/numbers to figure out which technique will work for your brand.

· If a product is generic and has wide targeting, TV ads (traditional marketing) can reach millions at a low cost. E.g. iPhone.

· 197 million households out of 298 million have a TV in their homes. The reach of digital marketing is nowhere close to TV based on numbers alone. (source: Wikipedia)

· Digital marketing is by far the best medium to reach the affluent English speaking population in India with spending power.

· Radio has a reach of 65% of the Indian population. (source: Financial Express)

· By the end of 2020, there will be more than 75 billion devices connected to the internet. (Source: TechCo)

· Spending on social media advertising will outstrip total spending on newspaper ads in 2020 (Source: CNBC)

Which one is better?

The short answer: it depends.

The long answer: When considering which marketing strategy is best for your business, consider your audience, where they get their information from, and use that to make your decision. It’s not necessarily true that one is simply better than the other as they serve different purposes. Furthermore, it substantially depends on the niche you choose.

NICHE SELECTION

Choosing the right niche forms the backbone to your success. If you are developing a product or service, you have to think about how that product or service is going to help your target audience. It is no longer a case of developing something for the whole country or the whole world to use; consumers expect more specifics today.

Choose a niche that isn’t too narrow that you don’t find enough customers or too broad that you get diluted and don’t have any market differentiation.

“The essence of marketing is narrowing the focus. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything.” — The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Also, your niche must be a product of three major factors. Let’s have a look at the below image:

Source: DigitalDeepak

According to the diagram, niche is the result of talent, market and passion. Now, let’s take an example. You are passionate about blogging but you neither have a market to interact nor talent to make it bigger. No matter how much efforts you put, you won’t succeed. Make sure you balance the three well otherwise it is just going to be a hobby!

This brings us to the most productive part i.e.

CATT MARKETING FUNNEL

If you are someone from the marketing block, you must have heard about the widely accepted marketing model AIDA that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. However, since change is the only constant, you must keep upgrading yourself as a marketer and find new ways to evolve. The CATT marketing funnel is all about that change.

Source: DigitalDeepak

Let me get into the deets.

Wealth = n^ CATT, where

n is Niche — Your success and wealth depend on the niche you choose.

C is Content — You need to create useful and valuable content that attracts people from your niche. Be it blogs, webinars or videos, each content you create must engage.

A is Attention — Drive attention i.e. traffic to your content using diverse digital marketing techniques like SEO, referrals, PPC or Social Media — whatever best suits you.

T is Trust — Build trust with your audience using marketing automation and retargeting techniques. Dive in for deep marketing by sending out personalised communication so that your customers feel connected.

T is Transaction — Last but not least, convert your leads into customers with natural sales method. By natural sales I mean not just getting leads and cold calling people to buy but creating trust and targeting the right people so that the product sells itself.

The question that now arises is how to implement it? The answer lies in Integrated DM. Let’s explore the how’s.

INTEGRATED DIGITAL MARKETING

As the name suggests, integrated digital marketing is the integration of multiple marketing strategies to form a cohesive online approach for your business.

Each module of digital marketing such as Content Marketing, SEO, Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing is powerful on its own. However, when combined uniquely, their power goes up exponentially and creates an unstoppable snowball effect. Most importantly, integrated DM is the engine that drives the CATT funnel.

· CATT is the framework of how an individual user goes through different stages whereas integrated DM is how you execute it because you will have people at all the stages if the funnel at all times — there will be people who are still building trust while some are transacting.

· CATT funnel is executed through integrated digital marketing.

Now when we have learnt the fundamentals of marketing and whatever comes in between, it’s time to build your personal brand and find ways to evolve it.

PERSONAL BRANDING — HOW TO EVOLVE YOUR BRAND?

Marketing is the channel to build a strong brand and once you build your brand in a particular category, then people find it easy to remember. Do you agree? If not, think about Google. It has achieved success in a particular category to an extent that it has become a verb.

Let me portray one of the best examples of personal branding before we move forward. Any guesses?

Well, its’ none other than Oprah Winfrey — “America’s Ultimate Brand”.

Oprah knows how to keep her audience close. The way she connects with her audience is awe-inspiring and perhaps one of the reasons behind her inextinguishable fame.

“The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant — and the success will naturally flow.” — Oprah Winfrey

This makes so much sense, doesn’t it? This is what personal branding is all about — becoming significant — Not being the number one but the only one. How?

a) Choose a category and become a leader in it. Deciding where to compete is half your success.

b) If you cannot be a leader in a category, become one in a sub-category. E.g. Mercedes isn’t a leader in automobiles but a leader in luxury vehicles.

c) Pick up a category that doesn’t already have a number one player.

d) In case you want to enter a competitive market, adopt a unique angle to beat the competition so that your customers perceive you as a better alternative.

Evolution of your Personal Brand

A brand doesn’t evolve overnight. It might take a few days, months or even years — depending on the plans you make and the strategies you adopt.

However, I want to make things easier for you but providing you with a MassTrust Blueprint crafted by one of the leading Digital Marketers in India, Digital Deepak. The blueprint is by far the finest plans to evolve your personal brand and place it on a pedestal. Let’s see what it’s all about.

Learn: Start by learning a new skill through concepts, facts and procedures. Understand the concepts, remember the facts and practice the procedures.

Work: Put your new found skills to work. Go from practice to implementation(job/freelancing/projects). Implementing in the real world will give you a better understanding.

Blog: Write about what you have learned so far and experienced through your work. This won’t only help you understand better but give people an overview of your brand.

Consult: Now that you have a personal brand through your blog, have work experience and have learned the fundamentals, start consulting businesses instead of working for them. Be your own boss.

Mentor: If you have an eye for mentoring, get into it by helping others who want to become like you. Set an example. This will help you scale your understanding to a whole new level.

Startup: You are ready to launch. Start your own business with the understanding you have developed and help your audience with the product/service they need.

Isn’t this simply just mind-blowing? So what’s all the wait for? Get going!

Pheww!! It’s been a long one but definitely worth the time. I’d like to thank you and congratulate you if you made it till here — you are already closer to your dream. By discussing everything from fundamentals of marketing to communication skills to niche selection to CATT funnel to integrated digital marketing to personal branding and finally the MassTrust Blueprint, I wanted the article to be an eye-opener and a prime mover at the same time.

So are you ready to beat the best and be the only one?

If yes, drop in a comment saying ‘#Let’sDoIt’ and become the best version of yourself.

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