Being successful in business is all about solving problems, whether it's for your customers, staff or stakeholders. Every new proposal, plan or initiative should arise from an identified business need.
The same is true of marketing. It can be easy to think of marketing as a "fluffy" creative endeavor whose impact is difficult to quantify. But this is a misnomer. Good marketing is all about solving business problems.
Let's take a look at some of the business challenges that marketing can be used to address.
1. You Want to be Known in Your Industry
Brand awareness is crucial to success. If you're just starting out or you're looking to expand from bit player to big player, then a strategic marketing plan is what you need. It can not only help create brand recognition but also build expectations in the minds of consumers, priming them for a particular experience when they encounter your brand. Marketing can help streamline numerous facets of brand building, including overall brand reputation, the launch of new products and services, customer retention and brand promotion.
2. You Want to Stand Apart From Competitors
If you're in a crowded vertical, being able to stand apart from the rest is vital to your success. A powerful marketing strategy can help you build a brand platform that distinguishes you from your competitors - helping you carve out your own industry niche. Every company has unique factors, such as its product line, customer service, or commitment to social responsibility. It's marketing's job to identify these distinctive elements and build a brand story around them.
3. You Want to Reach a Particular Audience
Very few brands aim to reach everyone. Most have an ideal audience, whether it's tech-savvy teens, affluent empty nesters or fashion-forward millennials. However, if you're not reaching your intended audience, or you're appealing to the wrong people, a solid marketing strategy can help get you back on track. The right kind of brand positioning and marketing campaign can help you expand your reach, create alignment with your ideal audience, or even narrow your appeal to a niche but loyal group of people.
4. You Need to Drive Conversions
If people seem interested in your product or service, but they're not ready to buy, something needs to change. While sometimes the issue can be your product, often it's a matter of marketing. Maybe there's confusion about what your product or service does, maybe you need to adjust your pricing, or maybe you're failing to target the decision-makers. Marketing can be used to pinpoint the right people at the right time and in the right place, helping to drive conversions.
5. People Don't Know What You Do
It might be a matter of brand awareness, or it might be that you work in a highly specific, esoteric niche. Whatever the case, if people don't know or understand what you do, there's no chance that they'll buy what you're selling. Marketing can be used to help shed light on who you are and what you offer - even if it's in a tough to understand fields like technology or pharmaceuticals.
If you've been thinking of marketing as a "nice to have," it's time to have a rethink. Marketing is a powerful tool for solving identified business challenges, and done well can be the key to building your brand and boosting your bottom line.