The Marketing stack : Concepts, types, process and personal branding
Marketing, this word is used so frequently and for such a long time still it is probably difficult to define what it is actually. So what is marketing, when actually this term and concept came into existence? What should it be to market a product or service in earlier days?
Marketing as a concept emerged in the 1950s and as a practice it has evolved very little. Different types of marketing come into existence and people deep dive into that particular type but before that it’s very important to understand the concept of marketing.
Marketing refers to all the activities that a company undertakes to promote a product or service, to attract new customers and to maintain relationships with existing and old customers. Marketing helps to build a brand and capture its position in the minds of customers. It is important in every stage of the customer life cycle to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.
Marketing starts before the product comes into existence, because it is very important to understand the need of the customer, the problem of the customer before creating a solution for them and it comes with research. So marketing is just not one step, it’s a process which starts from Ideation followed by research and testing to promotion and then selling. (Source: thebalancesmb.com)
Ideation: Marketing starts before the product is created. Before taking the product to the customer it is important to decide what will you sell and how it will fit in the gap of the need of the customer and what market is offering them. The product will cater to which target audience and How you will package the product before presenting it to the customer so that it grabs the attention.
Research and testing: Before investing the money in producing the product, it is important to test the new product concept on the target audience for which market research should be done. Research should not only be done to understand customer perspective but also to understand competitors in the market, their products, popularity of competition products in customers, etc. This helps to refine our product ideas, to finalize on the target market, decide pricing strategy and also promotional strategies.
All the insights we get from the market research can be utilized to create a marketing strategy, advertising campaigns and channels to be used for promotions to reach the target audience. It is important that the advertisement communicates with the audience the value we create for them.
Marketing decisions are based on various factors like human psychology, competition, economy, etc. Let’s have an overview of two factors in this article; Human Psychology and Economy.
Marketing and Human Psychology
Usually, everyone thinks that marketing is done only to sell the products and services but instead the primary focus of marketing is to connect with the target audience. Until the customer connects with the concept of the product and associates themselves to it they are not going to buy the product. Marketing works well if we understand how our target customer behaves, reacts to the content and idea of your product, how the content affects them emotionally and then only then we will be able to communicate the right message to them. Connecting with the customer’s psychology is important to build a long term relationship. One way of doing it is by storytelling, storytelling is something which humans have done since ages and it grabs audience attention. Storytelling is an approach where we highlight the pain point and give a solution which makes it easy for the customer to connect with the product or service and also increases its retention.
Similarly, marketing is also influenced by Global economy.
Marketing and Economy
The Economy has a direct impact on marketing decisions like investment on the product, how to push the product in the market, product placement, pricing decisions, discount offers, etc. Understanding the global market is important to make right decisions for the business and to focus on the target market. In the developing market like India, where the age of average population is 27 years i.e. young population, they have access to the right information and technology, population which thinks emotionally and practically before taking decisions, who believes in new experience and have buying power. In these types of markets there is a high possibility of the product to get sold. So while starting a new business the companies can focus on developing countries and markets as it has more potential and untapped markets with low resource cost.
In a developing country like India, the population can be categorized into economic strata and then a decision should be made that the product should be focused to which category. Generally, a product should be made for a focused category which have buying potential and then its profits should be used to produce product for the mass market.
Types of marketing have evolved with the change of time and technology. There has been a shift in marketing mediums earlier the mediums were like print media, television, radio, billboards, etc. and now in the internet era with increase in the use of mobiles, laptops, accessibility to internet at affordable price, the marketing mediums used are digital platforms. It is a big decision for a company to decide on the ratio of investment to be done on traditional and digital media. It can be done on the basis of the market to which the product is catered, marketing budget, etc.
Traditional marketing vs Digital marketing
With the rapidly changing world the marketing trends have been drifted to digital marketing from traditional marketing. From traditional platforms the marketers have shifted to digital platforms like social media, e-commerce, emails, search ads, etc. The reason for the shift is majorly the investment and the returns with digital marketing is much more than the traditional marketing. Additionally, digital marketing gives a platform to interact with your customers and gives more chances to convert the leads into potential customers. Both traditional and digital marketing are effective in their own way depending on the type of market and audience you cater to, but as per latest trend digital marketing takes a lead over traditional marketing.
Few differences to list down for Traditional vs Digital marketing
- Traditional marketing works well for mass products targeting very wide markets. In such a case a medium should be used which reaches the masses. Mass population have access to at least one of the traditional medium be it newspapers, Television, radio, billboards, etc. whereas Digital marketing is the medium for the target audience which have high spending power, which can afford a mobile phone or laptop or computer with internet connection.
- Traditional marketing cannot be focused or customized to a particular set of customers, so the same marketing technique has to be used for the entire population whereas in Digital marketing the technique or content for the same product can be customized and focused for a particular group of audience giving it a personal touch. This increases the customer conversion rate.
- In traditional marketing a physical presence can be given which cannot be given in digital.
- Digital marketing gives an edge as it provides customer interaction. The buyer and seller can interact with each other directly and buyer can provide feedback and suggestions. Additionally, the recommendations given by the buyer on digital platforms creates a word of mouth publicity. In traditional marketing, there is very less customer interaction as the promotional mediums are not flexible.
- Marketing cost is higher in traditional marketing and gives less exposure time, whereas in digital marketing the cost is less and investments can be immediately altered as per the effectiveness and returns.
- In digital marketing we can get insights of the activity immediately and is real time, additionally a deep down analysis can be done on the activity, customer interaction and the results which are useful to make necessary changes in the marketing strategy. In traditional marketing it may take weeks or months to get the results and then strategic decisions can be taken.
There are many other differences between both ways of marketing, the marketing method depends upon the type of product and market it caters to.
Digital Marketing is of many types: Content marketing, Email marketing, Social media marketing, Search engine optimization (SEO), Paid advertising, etc. But each of these marketing ways cannot operate in silos. Using all the marketing channels skillfully in a way that they complement each other to reach maximum audience and to reach your goal of revenue generation. This has to be implemented in a methodical manner to generate optimum results and revenue.
The Integrated Digital Marketing process
Content: A relevant and timeless content should be created on any particular topic in your niche. Relevant content attracts the audiences, engages with us and builds trust.
Email: The curated content should be sent to our subscribers through emails. The Email can be used to send new content, information about our products and services and to retarget our customers as a reminder to purchase our products and services.
Social Media: It is a platform to interact with our customers. The people from the same community and interests meet here, give feedback, opinions and also give recommendations. So it’s one of the most powerful marketing technique, from these interaction we also get to know the improvements to be made in our products and services.
Search Engine: Search engine helps to find relevant information, so with proper SEO and other things, search engines can take our content to the potential customers. If SEO done properly a targeted traffic can be generated.
Paid Ads: With all the above types of marketing we can build organic traffic but for speeding the process paid ads plays a very important role. The paid ads are displayed on social media and search engine to enable the conversion of suspects to prospects and leads to customers.
In any type of marketing, it is very important to generate revenue. Selling is one of the important components of marketing, what is the use of so much research, strategic planning and promotion if we are unable to convert the lead into customers and generate revenue. It is a strategic process to generate money out of our product or services which can be done using CATT Marketing Funnel.
The CATT Marketing Funnel
This concept I have learned in my in my internship program by our mentor Digital Deepak, where:
Wealth = n^CATT
[n] = Niche
[C] = Content
[A] = Attention
[T] = Trust
[T] = Transaction
For generating revenue, it is very important to have a strategy and process. One cannot have all diverse products at start and keep on marketing it, in marketing different products the focus will be lost and no output will be generated. So, start with selecting a Niche for you and focus on marketing it. You can choose a category competitive market or less competitive market or can also choose even a sub-category of it like Ecommerce or e-commerce in apparel and then start focusing on its marketing strategies. Right selection of the Niche can lead you to success and earn wealth.
Once Niche is selected, focus on creating Content which should be a timeless content and attract audiences from your niche. Create blogs, vlogs and encourage audience to interact with your content by leaving comments, etc.
Drive Attention to your content by using various techniques like SEO, Social media posts, Paid ads and referrals. A great content without audiences / traffic will not serve the purpose of generating revenue.
A customer tends to be in long-term relationships only if you are trustworthy or if the customer has trust in your product or service. So the next step is building Trust, it can be done with trip wires, automation and retargeting.
Once all the steps are successfully done, then the lead is converted into a customer. The customer transacts with you naturally without any other external push. This step is the Transaction step and is also the bottom of the funnel.
Above we discussed marketing as a concept, different types of marketing, impact of economy and human psychology on marketing, integrated marketing approach, etc. As marketing is important for product, services and for brands it is also important for Personal Branding.
Personal branding: MassTrust Blueprint
Personal branding is important not only to become an entrepreneur or freelancer but also for everyone to showcase your skills and to let others know that you are best at something. Audiences can relate more with a popular individual than a popular brand. A personal brand becomes an influencer or brand ambassador to the companies they associate with.
MassTrust Blueprint : The Evolution of a Personal Brand
MassTrust means building trust with a large number of people or mass, this is a new term I learned in my internship with Digital Deepak at PixelTrack.
MassTrust is a continuous process of evolution from a person to a brand. It goes through a series of steps starting from Learn, Work, Blog, Consult, Work, Mentor and Startup.
Learn: Learn and develop a new skill through concepts, facts and procedures. Understanding the concepts creates a base for us, then any new advancements or upgradation of the same skill becomes easy. Remembering the facts makes us easy to take decisions and by practicing procedures we understand to implement it.
Work: Put your new skill to work. Implement the new skill into practice at work or by doing personal projects or by freelancing. Implementation of the skills on real life projects gives better understanding and confidence.
Blog: Write about your skills, your understanding and learning experience with others, this makes your skill visible to others. In this way we start building our own brand.
Consult: Once you create your personal brand by blogging about your skill or experience, start consulting others. When you start blogging and your blog starts getting good traffic, you research more and more on the topic before putting it on our blog and gain experience. In this way people look up to you for your advice as you gained that authority by creating your personal brand as a blogger. With these consulting projects you can gain money, experience, authority and more popularity.
Mentor: Mentoring requires a lot of understanding, insight and experience on the topic which you gain after working, blogging and gaining real life experience by consulting. Mentoring a group of people scales up your understanding to a whole new level as you have to be thorough with all the concepts before mentoring others and have to be prepared to answer any questions that arise.
Startup: Startup requires a lot of investment; mental and economical. Start your own product or services with all the understanding and experience you gained from learning, working, blogging, consulting and mentoring. Startup requires not only a skill but also understanding of your target customer, market, competitors, economics, etc.
This MassTrust is not a one time process, it’s a continuous process to keep your Personal brand alive.
In conclusion I would like to summarize all the points covered in this article.
Marketing is a process of getting people interested in your product or services. This process requires ideation, market research, knowing your ideal customers interests and competitors.
Understanding various factors like target customers psychology, market condition, Global economy, etc. is very important while making marketing decisions. It also helps to decide on the type of marketing required for the product or service whereas to go for traditional or digital marketing. Both marketing ways have it’s own pros and cons.
We also discussed in detail the integrated marketing process and how each marketing technique complements each other to achieve our goal of generating revenue. Similarly, we also saw the CATT marketing funnel and how we can create content in our niche to grab customer attention, build trust and convert them naturally from leads to potential customers.
In the end, we discussed the concept of personal branding and the process to create MassTrust by learning to mentoring and finally starting our own company with all the experience and knowledge we gained in the process of Mass Trust.
Let me know any unique concept that you have came across and which is implemented in real world marketing. Leave a comment for this article.