When it comes to any business, the value of strategic marketing, the blood for all business, cannot be ignored. Marketing covers planning, SWOT analysis, consumer behavior, budget and the other factors that affect how the company’s goods appeal to the target customers. Without it, people would not know that a product or service exists, what it is about, and if it is a necessity or want. What is important is to include the consumer in the definition, as without it, there would not be any business at all.
Marketing has many definitions, but the most common is that it is the process of identifying and distributing the products and services that offer a value to the consumer. It also means building and maintaining the customer’s relationship with the business. It is what defines a business and differentiates it from others.
Importance of Marketing
No business should be without someone in charge of marketing. In fact, no business would ever get off the ground without a good marketing plan. Identifying the product itself is already a step in marketing. The target customers should also be identified along with details on demographics, attitudes and perceptions, and purchase behavior. Then, the product is matched with the target market information. This ensures that consumers will actually buy the company’s products. The marketing plan also includes steps on how to retain these customers and keep them loyal to the brand. But, there’s more to marketing than these steps. Effective marketing needs to be strategic.
What makes strategic marketing the blood for all business enterprises is that it keeps the customers coming. Clearly, marketing is a process and it should serve as a guide for making decisions on everything about the product/s. The process has to be continuous and resources should be allocated to it. The goal of strategic marketing is to help the company achieve its revenue targets among others.
Here are some more of the benefits that clearly underscore the importance of strategic marketing for businesses:
1. Marketing Allows the Company to Quickly Adapt to Changes – part of strategic marketing requires that the business keep abreast of developments in the industry and in the economic environment it operates in. This way, it will be ready to grab opportunities or to steer clear of hurdles when they present themselves. Being prepared for contingencies is one of the elements of an effective strategic marketing plan. Whether the changes are positive or negative, a good marketing plan should allow the company to make the most out of the situation.
2. Marketing Keeps Businesses Competitive – a SWOT analysis is an essential part of a strategic marketing plan. This involves the identification of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These are often reviewed vis-à-vis the competitive landscape. Marketing intelligence is necessary to scope out the competition and find out why consumers are buying their products. The challenge in improving the company’s products and services is to avoid being labeled as copycats. The trick to capturing the competitors’ market share as well is to “top” what they are offering with better product benefits or features.
3. Marketing Stimulates Sales Faster – more than advertising, it is marketing that actually keeps the cash register ringing. Advertising can only do so much when it comes to attracting customers. Marketing is the one that compels them to buy and to keep on buying the products. Marketing comes up with the right packaging, pricing, and promotions to stimulate sales faster.
Throughout the marketing process, there are several initiatives that can be included. A marketing plan is usually drawn up as part of the annual business plan. The marketing plan for the coming year is usually based on the previous year’s plans unless the business wants to undertake drastic changes in response to market, industry, or environmental developments. Among the marketing initiatives that are detailed in marketing plans include: tapping new market segments, exploring new market areas, repackaging products, developing and launching new products, and holding promotions for products that need a little push.
To come up with these initiatives, the marketing departments do research either through their own in-house team or by hiring an external research agency. The scope of research requirements could vary depending on what initiatives the company would like to explore. Benchmarking studies are common for businesses offering services. Focus group discussions on user attitudes and interests and surveys on product preferences and usage are usual for products selling fast moving consumer goods. For reliable and usable research results, the objectives of the study should be in sync with the marketing goals as well.
Businesses should understand that there is no one-size-fits-all marketing. Each business should be clear about what its goals and objectives are and should tailor-fit its marketing plan accordingly. It needs to be clear about its target market and come up with creative ways to meet their needs and wants. Only by making strategic marketing the blood for all business can real profits be generated and sustained over the long term.