Marketing is in it’s basic concept, communicating a message to an audience. There is a little more to it than just this, however it is fundamentally communication. Many people ask ‘what is marketing’ and how does it work. It about sending a powerful message to your audience.
There are different forms of marketing some off-line and some on-line.
All businesses need to promote themselves, whether this be a full on campaign or just handing out business cards for referral work. The reason is because without any activity, business would dry up and the business would close down. Many companies simply do not understand this and scratch their heads saying ‘marketing, what is marketing?’.
Many companies work on a referral basis. This would involve doing work for a customer, doing a good job and hoping that their name is passed on.
This is still a kind of marketing in itself (networking) and many would say the most effective form.
Referral marketing does not cost anything and in the good times, can be great. Work flowing in without money being spent on advertising or mailings. However it is not controllable and as such, if work goes quiet, referrals go quiet. Many businesses have relied too heavily on word of mouth. When the industry dips, or for seasonal reasons things go quiet, work dries up.
We have seen this in the building industry, and the engineering industries. Both very busy until work dries up. These are the sectors companies have said ‘what is marketing?’ and wanted to get instant results.
Marketing prices do vary considerably, based on the following:
Marketing is about pro-activity, going to your target audience to communicate your message and prompt a response.
Some forms are more pro-active than others. Depending on your business, the industry you are in, your target audience, different forms of marketing would be more appropriate than others.
Some forms of marketing are designed for a scattered approach. Not specifically targeted but getting a message out to high numbers. Examples of this would be TV advertising, On-line PR, billboard advertising.
Other forms are designed to be more focused (on a certain geographical area, a certain industry, a certain age group or ethnicity). Examples of this would be telemarketing, web advertising, mailings.
As a business it is advised to talk to an agency about what type would be most suitable for your company. How much it will cost and what the potential results will be over what time period. It is an intangible product and is difficult to predict (as no two campaigns are the same and all are affected by a variety of influences such as wording, seasons, trends, colours etc.).