Marketing Basics: The Beginners Guide to Marketing
Marketing basics in its simpliest form is described as the process of finding people who want to buy your product.
Once you’ve developed a product you’re happy with, you’ll need to work out;
- Who might want to buy the product
- How to communicate the benefits of your product over others in the market
- Where to find those potential customers.
With this in mind, marketing basics can be broken down into three sections.
- Target market
Spend some time workshopping each of these areas before planning and spending any marketing budget.
This is about discovering what characteristics your best-fit customers share. Use the unique selling points of your product to guide your thinking about what your typical customer might look like.
E.g. If your product is baby clothes, your best-fit customer is probably a new parent. If your baby clothes are very premium and branded with London landmarks, you could assume that your best-fit customer is an affluent new parent living in London.
Here are some things to ask yourself when exploring your target market:
- How old is my average customer? What’s the gender split? Where are they based? What’s the average household income?
- What is it about my product that my dream customer cares about?
- Are the challenges that my target market face? What problem does my product solve for them?
Answers to these questions will help to paint a picture of the type of person you want to market to. This in turn helps you make decisions about your messaging and channels.
Understanding your target market is absolutely crucial to seeing return on your marketing spend. You can’t plan any marketing activity without customer insights, so start here.
Developing your messaging is about understanding the value customers perceive in your product. What is it about your product that your customers care about? Does it help them overcome a challenge or achieve a goal? The answers to these questions form your key messages.
Use contextual information about your target audience to position your product in the most favourable light.
Using the above example, wealthy parents might be looking for the highest quality, baby-friendly fabrics, while metropolitan Londoners might care about cool, whimsical designs and a responsible supply-chain. New parents may rely heavily on trusted recommendations regarding baby products – making customer testimonials important messages in their own right. We know that new parents are very busy and tired, therefore the convenience and speed of a next-day delivery might be important to them.
Use what you know about your target market to create a matrix of key messages and then test them in your channels to see which ones convert the most/best quality customers.
Channels refer to the ‘places’ where you can tell your target audience about your product. It can be helpful to split them into online and offline. As a rule, it’s generally easier to measure customer conversion in online channels and therefore track spend efficiency, although different strategies work for different product-market fits.
Here are some examples of common marketing channels:
- Google ads
- Social media ads
- Display advertising
- Sponsored articles
- Blog articles
- Word of mouth
- Out of home (such as billboards, buses, tubes etc.)
- Direct mail
Deciding which channels are best for you depends on the customer insights you’ve gathered, the size of your marketing budget and how many conversions you need to make your spend sustainable. Let’s take our premium, london-landmark emblazoned babygrows.
At £50 a pop, we only need to sell 10 to break even on a £500 spend. With this in mind, we might decide to start by targeting parents in wealthy boroughs of London in a low-cost way. A bit of research might show us that our demographic uses Instagram more than Facebook and that they shop locally.
We could choose to test a number of channels off the back of this: some flyers in local coffee shops/notice boards with discount codes to track redemptions, renting a stand on local market days with an Instagram hashtag competition for awareness or buying advertising space in a local parenting magazine.
Once you know your target market, your key messages and what channels your audience engages with, you’ll be ready to plan some marketing activity. And remember to keep testing new messages and channels when budget allows so you don’t become dependent on too few channels (that could disappear overnight).
The above is a very top-level answer to the question ‘what should i know about marketing basics?’ It can get a lot more complex depending on your business’ needs but focusing on those three areas is as good a place to start as any.
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