Put simply, marketing is the process of effectively communicating your product or service to a customer. This could be through branding, advertising or product position. Marketing is not just the advertising and promotions that take place. How your business is perceived all comes down to marketing and positioning your service or product as you want it to be viewed. Conducting market research also forms a part of marketing; it’s very much a collective term.
Understanding the problems of your customers
Have you heard the saying ‘sell the problem you solve, not the product’? One of the major principles of marketing is understanding the problems your target market faces and using that to create something (be that a product or service) which solves that particular problem better than a competitor.
Every business solves a problem of some sort, even if it’s not immediately obvious at the surface. However, there is a difference between knowing the problem and really understanding it. How does the problem make your customers feel? How does it impact other areas in their lives? Conducting market research is one of the best ways to gain a full and true understanding.
If you offer a quicker service for something that’s usually drawn-out and stressful, don’t focus your messaging on the ‘quick service’ part. Again, focus on the problem you solve; ‘less stress, less worry’.
Showing the value of your business is key to acquiring new customers. This can be challenging because there are limited ways to do this successfully. Offering trial periods or free samples is one way to hook in would-be buyers, but this can be costly. If you go down this route you would need to monitor the ROI closely. If this approach doesn’t work for your business model, you could showcase customer reviews and case studies as a way to create ‘social proof’ of your value.
For example, if you have a 5-star rating on a well-known platform, you could include this in all marketing material, both online and offline.
Building Positive Relationships
When you generate a lead you are forming a relationship with a customer. When you send out promotional content you are starting that relationship. Before a buyer commits to any kind of purchase they already have some form of a positive relationship with that brand. At the point of transaction, you have built trust between you and the customer. You have created an understanding that you’re aware of and care about the problems that the individual faces.
Many brands continue to build on that relationship with follow-up content that does not directly sell. Tips, tricks, and support in the form of newsletters, direct mail, and social media content. This is possible when you know exactly who your buyers are and you really understand the other challenges they face that surround your industry.
Here’s a very specific example that covers the 3 principles discussed above:
A local acupuncture business wants to reach more pregnant women who are suffering from morning sickness or lower back pain. They understand that for women struggling with these problems it has a huge impact on their ability to continue work leading up to their maternity leave. It can leave them feeling very low and take the enjoyment out of their pregnancy due to constant suffering. To demonstrate value, the practice offers 70% off the first session and promises to help women enjoy their pregnancy to the fullest, taking away the symptoms that are causing stress and discomfort.
After a customer has completed a course of acupuncture, a monthly newsletter offers them advice on staying healthy as a new Mum and looking after their mind and body as they face new challenges.