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What is Marketing and Why is it Important?

Provided by IFC, adapted from Business Edge® workbook, “Introduction to Marketing Concepts"

Have you been in business for a while but are not seeing substantial growth? In order to be able to successfully grow your business you need to get the word out about your product or service to attract clients and work hard to keep your market presence strong. This is called Marketing.

Marketing is about creating demand for products and services you offer. It is about understanding and satisfying customer needs.

Marketing is not only about advertising – it is about finding your target audience and communicating the value of your product to them. Even small activities like sending monthly newsletters to your customers, inviting a prospective client to dinner, returning calls promptly, and meeting with a past client for coffee are part of marketing efforts.

Marketing is an essential part of managing a business. A well-organized marketing campaign is as important for new businesses as it is for already established ones. It helps you succeed and grow by forming a well-targeted message aimed, ideally, at a previously identified target audience. When you market in an efficient and effective manner, marketing can improve your business performance as well as its competitiveness in the market.

An example that has worked well is Airbnb’s social media campaign called “#OneLessStranger”, where the company encouraged hosts to post photos of their guests on social media sharing their experience with Airbnb. Within the first three weeks after the launch, more than 3 million people were either talking about the campaign or creating content for it. 

Although a product’s quality might speak for itself, it usually takes a great amount of work and effort to get the customer to choose your product or service and possibly “give it a try”. In order to conduct marketing effectively, it is important to study consumer behavior, know what people buy and why they are ready to spend their hard-earned income on certain goods or services. Many companies spend significant resources on research to identify the appropriate product characteristics, design and price that will appeal to their target audiences.  

Your marketing activities therefore should begin with creating a marketing plan, conducting marketing research to gather information about your potential customers, defining marketing prospects and challenges to outline your upcoming marketing roadmap. The next crucial stage should be using the Marketing Mix to determine where your business stands in relation to the components of marketing, the so-called 7 Ps.

Despite the actual value of your product, your customer’s perceived worth of it has a lot to do with how it will sell. This is where your Marketing Plan and the use of the Marketing Mix come in to communicate the value of your product and create an image that will build a strong customer base, and retain and expand it with time. 

Start creating your Marketing Plan using our Marketing Plan template now!

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