Companies and professionals each operate in their own increasingly competitive and crowded reference market. The activity developed to emerge from this competition is "Marketing" .
The aim, of course, is to better market existing products or services or to create new ones when there is demand, but not only this, as you will read later.
Sometimes it has happened, and will continue to happen, that some visionaries have even created the demand for a product that does not exist and of which they did not feel the need ... To name one, remember Steve Jobs with his apple? and the tablet? before the King of Cupertino thought so, we would have also dispensed with those tablets, now all the competitors also produce them and they are very widespread. There aren't many people like Steve Jobs, not even companies like Apple; then we could put our feet on the ground a bit and better understand the meaning of "marketing for companies", the Italian ones, and perhaps the small and medium ones that represent the absolute majority of the economic and social fabric of our country.
Definition of marketing
The first person who studied the characteristics of the market and codified it in such a way that he extracted from it an effective discipline for business was Philip Kotler; let's talk about the distant 1967, two years before I was born he was already teaching marketing.
There are many definitions to describe marketing, each one proposing its own, but among the various definitions, the one I prefer refers to Philip Kotler himself, is short, simple, complete and reads like this
The definition combines "science and art", it may seem strange, but it is not:
To do marketing we rely on objective and not presumed data, from which we will get all the useful information to act in the market of reference;
For the ability to create relationships between the data collected, make a strategy , and identify the most appropriate tools to achieve the desired result with the marketing budget we will invest.
Why do marketing?
It is a fundamental activity to understand the needs of the market through the identification and evaluation of customer needs, and understanding also their expectations. Knowing the size of the market and the 22 laws of marketing (in spanish: 22 leyes del marketing), what our target audience wants or the degree of attractiveness towards a commercial proposal we would like to produce is crucial for the success of the company, both in B2B and B2C (discover the differences in the article).
Not doing marketing in fact would mean trusting intuition, luck,... but luck is not a strategy and tens, hundreds, thousands of people work in companies. A good reason for marketing, therefore, is also given by the social responsibility that managers have towards their employees when making strategic decisions to guide the company.
These are just some of the reasons why marketing is used:
- To make the business grow;
- To act with choices based on knowledge;
- To increase market share;
- To discover market niches;
- To avoid bad investments;
- To have more customers;
- To retain existing customers;
- To keep up to date;
- To convert impossible businesses;
- To optimize production options;
- To maintain employment;
- To give tools to the commercial network;
The three stages of marketing
To compete in the market and make the business prosper, it is necessary to do marketing by dividing it into three steps, one consistent with the other:
a - know the market ;
b - study the strategy ;
c - act .
a - Analytical marketing ;
b - Strategic marketing ;
c - Operational marketing .
It is the first step of marketing. In this phase, the market is analyzed by elaborating objective data often represented by graphs.
The aim of this part of marketing is to understand the market and the profile of our target, knowing as much as possible its general characteristics, needs and behaviour. As for the analysis activity that we will develop on the target, it will be diversified depending on whether it is a question of
Potential clients; active clients.
This classification requires substantial differences in approach, which we will discover in a dedicated article.
The result of the analytical marketing is a set of useful data for the development of the strategy that we will develop in the second step of the marketing. The data collected can be searched and finalized for the subsequent marketing strategy as a whole or for a single product or service.
The knowledge of the market must necessarily include an analysis of the competition.
"Visions require a strategy, strategy requires a plan.
It is easy to find similarities between the phases of marketing and those of a war.
The analytical marketing mentioned above is equivalent to "recognition", an activity with which one tries to know better "the territory of action" to know what difficulties there will be, in what quantity and the size of the enemy alignment. Subsequently, our strategic marketing is dedicated to the processing of the information received, to establish the objectives and the viability of the same so as not to end up in a "bloodbath", the equivalent of a failure of the business initiative.
To win in the market, then we will have to do marketing identifying those unsatisfied needs that the market analysis will have informed us, refining our development strategy in what we call "Marketing Plan", a document that will illustrate the objectives to be achieved .
By "operational marketing" we refer to all those activities to be developed to achieve the objectives described in the marketing plan; we will describe our operational marketing in a document going into detail about what, how and when to do it, working on the "4Ps of the Marketing Mix" (Product, Price, Place, Promotion).
Returning to the parallelism with our peaceful war, previously "we studied the enemy" then we established the "objectives to conquer", here we identified "the weapons to use in the battle" establishing the time, budget, expected results, KPIs to keep monitored.
"A matter of options".
"There are three types of companies: those that determine the facts, those that witness their manifestation and finally those that, when the facts have occurred, ask themselves what happened".
Marketing and business (marketing y negocios) is a continuous activity, we always do it both for companies and for the private sector, only many times we don't realize it. Sometimes, when we decide to dress a certain way, it is because of a choice we make when aiming at a result, perhaps of social positioning or because we want to attract attention. This is also marketing, apparently less codified.
In business, some marketing options do not require major studies, a trivial example: you decide to open an ice-cream cone micro-company with a kiosk on wheels, would you do it on the Rimini promenade in summer or in Cortina in winter? The answer is too obvious, I agree ... but if we can only offer 4 flavors because the cart is small, what flavors should we offer? We have to study our small market with a survey, so we will avoid risky choices by immediately knowing the tastes of future customers, perhaps even identifying the price they are willing to pay for the product. A mistake in the proposal can jeopardize the business of a season.
Unfortunately, more often than you think, even medium sized companies do not conduct market analysis and do not bother to market as they should, relying exclusively on their own idea of the market.