Marketing 101 in 2019 is NOT the same Marketing 101 you may have taken in school, be it 5 or 20+ years ago. The first class may start off similarly, but the syllabus will meander down paths you didn’t know existed.
The marketing discipline is constantly evolving to serve the ever-changing consumer landscape and to utilize the fast-growing technology options at our fingertips. We know that we’re supposed to keep up on the latest marketing tools, but when it’s only a small portion of what you do or you outsource it, it’s easy to fall behind or lose touch with the basis of what marketing really means.
This article is the first in a series intended to bring you back to the basics, reminding you of what marketing actually entails, and in future articles, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of what it all means and how to leverage it favorably for your business.
So, what is it exactly?
The term “marketing” is often used interchangeably with public relations, advertising, and sales, but the latter three are focused disciplines falling under the marketing umbrella. They are interrelated and inform each other but are indeed separate avenues of promoting your business.
It’s easy for these terms to get lumped together as it’s common for small businesses to have a small “marketing staff” (raise your hand if that staff is “just you”) who handle all of these activities. When this happens, the roles of each discipline can become blurred.
Marketing is, however, even more than the combined efforts of those disciplines. Here is a breakdown of marketing’s distinct components.
Marketing is a key player in your overall business plan and involves strategic planning and management of its components and their implementation. It is a multi-faceted effort in defining what your business is and what it stands for, refining your products and pricing, identifying the right people who have a need for your business, and pushing this all out in front of that demographic.
Simplified, your business should have a well-defined Marketing Mix, which is the 4 Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Combined, these determine your target market or demographics.
• Product refers to what you are offering your customers. This includes the physical products you sell, like caskets, urns, and keepsakes, and also the services you provide, such as funeral planning, event hosting, and counseling.
• Price is obvious, and a crucial part of the mix as it will inform your promotion strategy and earning potential.
• Place refers to where your business is located, which is traditionally wherever your physical building stands. This is increasingly less localized now that businesses have virtual places online.
• Promotion involves Public Relations, Advertising, and Sales. This is how you get the word out and obtain actual customers.
The Promotion portion of the Marketing Mix is what we all think of as “marketing” and understanding its components helps to properly build your Marketing Plan. Here’s a closer look at the elements of the fourth P.
• Public Relations is developing and maintaining a positive, public business identity through the controlled release of information using (mostly) free opportunities to spread the word.
• Advertising is crafting a persuasive message targeting a potential or existing customer, and then paying to have that message reach them.
• Sales is the process of engaging with a potential customer and ideally leads to an exchange of their money for your product or service.
Some of you may feel a false confidence in your marketing efforts if you’ve delegated marketing to an intern because they seem to know a lot about social media. As you can see, marketing is about MORE than social media. Your marketing efforts will trickle down to your business’s bottom line. I’d like to think that business professionals wouldn’t hand over such a vital role to an inexperienced non-staffer with no foundational understanding of marketing and its components, but it happens all the time.
Perhaps that’s not your business. Perhaps you’ve outsourced it to a marketing professional who develops and executes marketing plans. What they do can often feel mysterious to those who haven’t worked with marketing plans before. The tools, jargon, and mumbo jumbo used in plans, results reports, and meetings might feel overwhelming and confusing. No one likes to raise their hand to say, “I don’t understand”.
Do you honestly know what they’re talking about, and what implications it will have on the rest of your business plan?
I encourage you to get involved in your business’s marketing efforts. If your marketing program has fallen by the wayside, fear not! It’s never too late to pick it up and revamp it. FBA
Sarah Savage is the Marketing & Public Relations Director for Memory Glass and has been with the company since its inception. Her expertise includes start-up, Internet and social media marketing, public relations, and advertising. In addition to the funeral industry, she has experience in the food, tech, and non-profit industries, and working with high-profile celebrities. Contact Sarah at [email protected], or visit Memory Glass at www.memoryglass.com.