So, where does Marketing actually start ?

Structuring it my way | 30 June 2021

Have always been fascinated by questions like -so what exactly is Marketing? and where does it start? Do we have a guide or say a bible that tells us how we must understand marketing ? Do we have a manual that talks about the Laws of Marketing?

Why not?

Cricketing Laws or Traffic Laws talk about the fundamentals. The basics. Once you get them right, you go on to master the art of playing the game or driving the car! So, do we have Laws for Marketing, as well? Do we need them?

Oh yes, we do!

So, let me take you through what I see as the basics of marketing, digital marketing and branding.

Firstly, Marketing is based on science and not “creativity”. It is rooted in human psychology and hence comes innately to us!

I always thought marketing is just sales, marketing is just advertisement, marketing is just copywriting etc.. while I was not completely wrong, I understood that I had to change my understanding a bit. Sales is a component of marketing, Advertisement is a component of marketing and likewise copywriting is just a component of marketing. So, where exactly does marketing start then?

Marketing starts even before we create a product. It starts with understanding the customer and his/her needs. So, that means, it is Marketing that tells us what product we should create and for whom!

This reminds me of a quote from Peter Drucker that goes like …

The aim of Marketing is to know and understand the customers so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous

Right so, when you have identified your customer and have created a compelling product to meet the unmet needs, sending the right message at the right time is extremely crucial. I would have missed an excellent experience had I not found Urban company to help service my air conditioner that needed some attention. Their timely message solved my problem.

And now, I get messages from the company on a regular basis where they enquire about my machine, suggest when I should go in for the next maintenance session and the offers that I may be eligible for. Now I really do not have to think much about my AC given that it is already being taken care of. I shall now remain a customer for life!

This is a marketing lesson that I learnt in the process — Marketing starts before you create a service, marketing is there while you are selling your service and marketing is there even after your customer has purchased services from you. This is where the “Trust” factor steps in. More than half your battle won!

The purpose of marketing is to build a brand and capture a position in the minds of the consumers. And this comes with trust. Once you build a very strong brand, the requirement for marketing efforts from the brand starts going down. By now you have earned the biggest marketing asset — “Word of Mouth” and it is at this point that you will see the product selling itself.

A game of perception, Marketing is a tricky skill to learn. Let the focus be on the product so that marketing doesn’t become more important that the product itself. Marketing should aim to create good perception about the product.

Building a strong brand — how do you do that ?

Choosing a category and becoming a leader in that category is an extremely important step in branding. Also referred to as category leadership. You get to decide where to compete. Do not be the number 1, be the only 1!

Every brand hopes to achieve the household name i.e., it wishes to become a verb.

eg 1. Let me google the meaning of ambidextrous

eg 2. Could you let me xerox your notes ?

eg 3. I will clean the wound with Dettol

If you cannot be a leader in a category, then be a leader in the sub — category.

Most people tend to remember only the Number 1.

IBM will always be remembered as the first computer company in the world, Harvard University is the leading institute in the United States, Indira Gandhi is always remembered as the First woman Prime Minister of India and not as the Third Prime Minister!

Similarly with brands, becoming the best in the overall category could be difficult in different cases given that you cannot create one product that fits all needs for all. Your segmentation, targeting and positioning will go for a toss! Identifying your niche will help you have a unique angle that will help you sail through a red ocean.

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

While there isn’t any real battle between the two, choosing the right channel that suits the business best is critically important. You need to analyze how you can augment the two to widen your reach. Yes, the digital maturity of the users is going up with more people using the internet by the day, however considering India’s population and the number of households you can reach with Traditional Marketing means, you cannot help but think of using it.

Digital Marketing is the best option when we are trying to reach the affluent English speaking audience that constitutes 100 Million users. The reach of television, radio and newspaper is beyond this number. As per Wikipedia television helps reach 800 million to 1 billion people. Radio can reach around 65% of the Indian population, says Financial Express. Newspaper has a reach of 465 million people as per Business Standard.

But what sets Digital Marketing apart?

You can personalize your communication. You can craft a compelling message to your customer that will help you develop a very personal touch. This calls for certain degree of deep marketing that needs you to study your customer so well that you eventually partner with him to solve the problem.

CATT Marketing Funnel — what is that?

Choosing your niche (a combination of Talent, Market and Passion) is the first task at hand. Your customers have a problem and you have probably found a way to help solve their problem with your product or service. Your wealth is dependent on your niche.

Wealth = n^ CATT , where n is your niche and

C -> Content : creating content that resonates with your audience, content that talks to them about their pain points, what they should do about it and why they should choose you to help them solve their problem. You may choose several means to create your content like blog posts, videos, webinars etc

A -> Attention : Help your customers reach you! You have created great content for them and you need to get them to read about what you have created for them. SEO, Social media, Paid Ads and Referrals can do the job for you.

T -> Trust : You have created great content on how you wish to serve your customers and they have heard you. Now, the biggest challenge is gaining their trust. How do you give them the assurance that you are genuinely concerned about them? You need to keep in touch with your audience. You should join the conversation they’re having in their minds about their problems. Trip wires, marketing automation and retargeting will help you establish a personalized connection.

T -> Transaction : By now you have gained your customer’s trust and sale happens naturally. But it doesn’t end here. You may need to depend on some practices like sales calls, sales pitch and sales webinars. Through these you are attempting to win your customer over! While you may not directly push him towards buying your product, you can certainly build trust which will initiate sales.

Integrated Digital Marketing:

In the earlier times, organizations followed a very different approach towards doing business. Marketing, Finance, Operations all worked in silos and they were not integrated. To drive efficiency it was then redesigned and all the departments worked together in an integrated approach. All departments are equal and one needs the other to sustain.

It is very similar in Digital Marketing, too! Take a look

Success is assured only when you learn to integrate your content with your channels to gain attention and build trust. When your content is very relevant and has the right keywords, you find a spot right at the top of search engines. Your strong connect with your target audience on social media will help you gain Word of Mouth marketing and you will attract more people to your website. Paid advertising sets the right momentum in all these channels — email marketing, social media channel and search engines, the momentum that you need in order to gain trust and complete the transaction.

Personal Branding : Yes, it is extremely important

Being good at something is really good, but you need to market yourself to be known and recognized. This is exactly what The Law of the Mind — from the book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing talks about. It says, it is better to be first in the prospect’s mind than first in the market place. IBM was not the first in the market with the mainframe computer, it was Remington Rand with UNIVAC. But IBM, through effective marketing efforts got into the mind first. Unless you tell, people will not know about you!

We have programmed ourselves to trust people more than the brands. We want to learn about a brand from other buyers before we listen to what the brand has to tell us. A personal brand is the brand ambassador for the company they run. Once you build your personal brand, your company will take over that brand tag.

Becoming a personal brand is a process. You learn a skill and master the art. You then put your skills to work. You start implementing what you have learnt and you are bound to get better at it. You share what you have learnt and worked upon. Once you pen your thoughts by writing your blogs, you understand it better and people reading your content connect with you and learn from you. You become a personal brand in the process.

Consulting businesses will give you an excellent opportunity to learn about businesses and their challenges. You become better at what you do.

Mentoring people is an excellent way to put your understanding on a whole new level.

The process then leads you to a beautiful juncture where, having developed a strong understanding of the products, services and your customers, you start your own line of products.

So friends, as you see, Marketing is a continuous process and it doesn’t really end. You learn, understand and implement. It is an iterative process and you get better and better.

I hope you really liked my article. In the days to come, I shall talk more about CATT framework and how it can be applied to any business you choose to do!

Tell me what you think!