Marketing Strategy, Tips & Advice
Marketing is the process of getting the public educated on, and excited about, an organization’s products and services. A marketing team’s efforts in market research and consumer trends guides the strategy behind other aspects of the business and helps companies to consistently meet the needs of consumers.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is one of, if not the, most important aspects to a business. What good is selling a life-changing product if customers have never heard of it and don’t know anything about it? That’s where capable marketers come in handy. These marketers help companies identify consumer and industry trends, formulate campaigns and captivate audiences by showing how their products shine over the others.
What, exactly, is marketing? According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Still confused? To put it in layman’s terms, marketing is the process of getting people interested in a company and its products by portraying its offerings in a way that perceives value to the customer.
Whether we know it or not, marketing efforts are all around us. A simple example of a marketing campaign could be gas station billboards along the highway. These companies realize cars need gas and humans need food, so sticking eye-catching billboards along the highway could increase customer awareness and, thus, profits. One of the most famous examples of marketing is Nike’s slogan “Just Do It.” Virtually everyone on earth has heard this phrase before. Pairing “Just Do It” with world-class athlete spokespeople has proven to be one of the most effective marketing campaigns of the last 30 years. This simple, yet effective phrase resonates with competitive athletes and fosters a sense of pushing yourself to be a better athlete (in your Nike gear, of course).
One of the reasons why marketing is so vital to today’s world is that it helps inform other aspects of the business. Product, sales and advertising teams are all affected by the efforts of a marketing team. One of the most important jobs of a marketer is market research. This effort usually entails gathering information about a business’ key demographics, their affinity towards a company’s current products and what other competitors are doing. A marketing team’s in-depth market research informs product and engineering teams on what to create, sales teams on what to sell and advertising teams on what to communicate.
The 4 Ps of Marketing
The 4 Ps of marketing are the key areas involved in effectively spreading the word about a product. Sometimes known as the marketing mix, product, price, place and promotion are vital to every good marketing campaign.
Product is the good or service that the company is offering. Quality products should be able to satisfy customer needs, while also being able to satisfy customer demand. To effectively market a product, marketers need to pinpoint the value it brings to the customer and why customers would want it. The marketing team can start working on campaigns once these, and many other, questions are answered.
Price is obviously a large factor into whether a consumer buys your product or goes to a competitor. Good marketing teams rely on industry research to appropriately price their products so they boost their market share and reach more happy customers.
It’s critical that marketing professionals take place (both digital and physical) into account when marketing a product. Is a certain product more marketable in-store or online? Should you sell a certain product internationally? How do you market to certain geographical locations? How much does a location’s culture affect your marketing abilities? Marketing teams need to be hyper-aware of where they’re marketing to truly optimize their efforts.
What good is a marketing effort if there isn’t some excitement and build-up around a product? Promotion includes the advertising, promotional strategy and public relations surrounding a product. “Should we create a commercial?” “Should we sponsor a podcast?” “Should we just run a Google adwords campaign?” With some help from market research, marketing executives should be able to know when to target their audience and through which medium. Executing the promotion step of the marketing mix is vital because it helps to build fervor for a product and brand awareness.
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Types of Marketing
Marketing isn’t just a one-size-fits-all effort. There are different types of marketing campaigns depending on where an organization’s customers spend their time and how they prefer to be reached. Below are five popular types of marketing:
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing involves the use of social media channels (like Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc.) to build a brand, connect with customers, drive website traffic and increase sales. These platforms have proven to be excellent marketing tools because they have the ability to educate customers on products, individualize consumer social media experiences and engage with an audience in a way that wasn’t before possible. Marketers rely on a plethora of analytics to develop targeted ads and timely posts that increase social media engagement with brands and boost revenue.
Content marketing is a growing sector that focuses on creating relevant, interesting and valuable content that attracts an audience and converts them into customers. Marketers are turning to this form of content because it boosts SEO traffic and increases both quantity and quality of customers. A clever content marketing example is Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. The company labeled its iconic bottles and cans with popular names to build stronger bonds with customers. The experiment was such a resounding success in Australia that it ended up being implemented in more 75 countries worldwide. Companies are starting to rely on their social media presence for content marketing. A prime example of clever content marketing is Steak-umm’s goofy, blunt and “self-aware” use of social media.
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that relies on the virality and popularity of social media influencers, who are paid to promote and endorse products. Essentially, companies pay social media accounts with thousands (or millions) of followers to include their product in an Instagram, Snapchat or even Facebook post. Influencer marketing has proven profitable for both the company and the influencer. The company potentially gets millions of views of their product and the influencer gets paid (sometimes handsomely). For example, to reach Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s 150 million Instagram followers, companies need to pay about $882,000 per post. Want to get your product in front of Kylie Jenner’s 141 million Instagram followers? That will cost you a cool $1,266,000 per post.
Have you ever wondered how a search engine picks its search results for your specific query? How does it know what to choose at the top option? Much of that has to do with search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the practice of increasing unpaid (known as organic) traffic through a variety of technical and content-related practices that make it easier for a search engine to read, understand and rank a site. Optimizing a site’s content, photos or backend procedures provides an uncluttered and efficient experience for both a user and a search engine, resulting in higher rankings. The higher rankings provided by this free method of marketing boosts traffic and converts a casual audience into loyal customers.
Product marketers are vital to the success of a new product launch. Even before the product is built, these marketers are doing intense market research to ensure that the product is a right fit for a company’s customers and that it serves a useful purpose. Then, the product team will use the product marketer’s insights as a guide on what to include in the new product. As the product is being built, the marketer will arm the sales team with the necessary knowledge and materials that will help them sell the product to current customers and reach out to new audiences. After a launch, the product marketer will ensure that customers aren’t having adoption issues and will craft marketing materials to make sure that the product stays relevant as time goes on.
Marketing Job Outlook and Salaries
The marketing sector is a stable and promising career path with a generous job outlook. Marketing is positioned to become an incredibly popular industry with an average job growth outlook of 7% and a median annual salary of $45,790. There are many important roles that make up a marketing team because of the sector’s importance to the overall goals of a company. Below are the job outlooks and average salaries for four strategic marketing positions:
Marketing coordinators provide a variety of administrative functions for marketing teams. These tasks can include website maintenance, copy editing, meeting coordination and event planning. Seen as an entry-level position into the world of marketing, most coordinators usually have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, PR or journalism.
- Marketing Coordinator Job Outlook (2018 - 2028): 8% Growth
- Marketing Coordinator Median Annual Salary: $45,000
Marketing specialists are a versatile member of the marketing team because they do a little bit of everything. Specialists work across most aspects of the marketing team and perform a wide range of functions, including market research, developing marketing strategies, SEO and data analysis. On average, marketing specialists usually have a bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing or journalism with more than three years of prior experience in the sector.
- Marketing Specialist Job Outlook (2018 - 2028): 8% Growth
- Marketing Specialist Median Annual Salary: $66,850
Marketing Research Analyst
Market research analysts are utterly important to the overall success of a marketing team. Typical duties include forecasting marketing and sales trends, gathering data on competitors, measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and presenting results to executives. This job title is one of the fastest growing titles in marketing, if not, a business as a whole. A capable marketing research analyst has the ability to save companies precious time and money with thorough research and strategy skills.
- Marketing Research Analyst Job Outlook (2018 - 2028): 20% Growth
- Marketing Research Analyst Median Annual Salary: $63,120
Marketing managers are charged with crafting the marketing strategies and tactics that help drive traffic and boost customer acquisition. They’re entrusted with seeing through the entire lifecycle of a marketing campaign and with building key relationships with partners and agencies throughout the field. Marketing managers need to have superb soft and hard skills, a demonstrable background in marketing and a knack for creativity.
- Marketing Manager Job Outlook (2018 - 2028): 8% Growth
- Marketing Manager Median Annual Salary: $134,290
How to Get Into Marketing
Marketing is a unique field, filled with people who are analytical, yet have an in-depth understanding of human psychology and storytelling. It’s safe to say that, as the technology industry grows, so too does the field of marketing. Companies all over the world need competent marketers as more and more products are developed. Who best to evangelize a product other than the people who have the most knowledge about the industry? If you think that mixing analytics with storytelling sounds intriguing, then a career path in marketing might be for you.
This is the perfect time to get into a marketing role. It’s expected that the US job market will add an extra 24,000 marketing-related jobs over the next six years. Marketing managers, PR roles and promotion-related jobs are seeing the fastest growth in the industry. Additionally, marketing hubs like Chicago, New York, Boston and San Francisco are seeing sharp increases in hiring.
How exactly do you get into the world of marketing? Most marketing roles require at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing itself, journalism, graphic design or a similar major. This shows hiring managers that you have a firm marketing background right away. Of course, having a degree isn’t the only way to break into the industry. There are plenty of reputable courses and bootcamps that can help you become a quality job candidate (or to learn more if you’re already in the industry). There are a few career paths that can be taken. In a more traditional marketing sense, newbies normally start out as marketing coordinators and then work their way up to marketing manager, marketing director and then Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
Digital marketers have more options when it comes to roles and paths to take. These marketers usually start out at coordinators and can then experience roles like “Internet Marketing Specialist,” “Search Engine Marketing Manager,” “Social Media Manager,” or “Marketing Director” on their way to a CMO or VP of Marketing role. New job titles and responsibilities have been constantly popping up over the last few years due to the advent of new, groundbreaking technologies in the marketing field.
Do you think you have what it takes to be successful in marketing? Are you analytical? Are you able to artfully tell stories? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then an exciting career path in the promising world of marketing might be calling your name.