All businesses spend a fortune on marketing, from market research to audience persona creation to ad brainstorming and more. With so much time and energy spent on marketing, it’s common for new online business owners to ask:
“What’s the point?”
They’d be right to ask that question, too – it’s never a good idea to do something, especially something as expensive and time-consuming as marketing, without knowing why you’re doing it.
But marketing isn’t a holdover from previous economic practices. It’s a key part of every business and has seven major functions that can impact your company and its eventual success.
Marketing isn’t the same thing as advertising – or, rather, advertising is a part of marketing, but not the sum of its major functions or uses. Today, let’s break down the seven core functions of marketing in an easy-to-digest beginner’s guide.
Promotion of Brand/Products
Naturally, the major function of marketing is promotion, both of your brand in general and of specific products or services. This aspect of marketing is the most well-known and encompasses the widest variety of content types.
Promotional materials can include video ads, image ads, email marketing, social media advertising, and even promotional campaigns. When using marketing to promote your products, your target audience will theoretically become interested and visit your store to purchase.
However, promotion can also be used to sell your brand. People emotionally connect to brands (essentially corporate identities) and can eventually use a company’s brand identity or theme as a shorthand to determine whether they will make a purchase or not. When you’re first starting out, one of your major marketing goals will be boosting brand awareness.
It’s simple: the more people know about your brand, the more competitive you’ll be against others in your industry or niche. In this way, you market both yourself and your products to your core consumers in the hopes of persuading them to give your company a try.
When done successfully, emotional marketing can lead to massive sales increases and huge profits later down the road.
Of course, marketing is also used to directly sell products to consumers as well. Specifically, marketers will nurture leads through personalized communications or product-centric advertisements.
The classic example of this is a “sale” ad. Say that you own an upscale online clothing store. You’ll run a “sale” ad on your social media profile advertising that several of your most popular items are on sale to draw new customers or earlier customers back to your online store.
Customers might visit your store in hopes of getting a deal, then purchase clothes that they otherwise wouldn’t have if you hadn’t posted the advertisement on your social media page.
Your brand can still sell without advertising fulfilling this purpose, but it’s a lot harder. The right marketing and advertising efforts can really improve your profits and even bring new customers to your brand who haven’t shopped there before.
Marketing isn’t just about selling. It’s also about managing existing products. This major function of marketing involves:
- Ensuring that the products you produce consistently meet the needs of your target consumers. It’s sort of like quality assurance!
- Conducting competitor analysis, which means comparing your popular products against the popular products of your direct competitors. Marketing helps your brand in this way because it allows you to make changes in direction if a competitor starts to overtake your company
- Speaking with prospective clients. This aspect of marketing is mostly reserved for larger enterprises or B2B (business-to-business) companies
- Integrating feedback from support teams. Your company’s customer support team may have feedback from consumers, and your marketing team can incorporate this feedback into its advertising
These are aspects of product management, which help your brand be as successful as possible.
Marketers also do market research on many things, including price. The price you sell your products for will be determined by both the perceived value of the product or service and whatever price point you need to break even or make a profit.
For the best results, marketers can use promotions and branding to match desired price metrics as revealed by their research. In a way, one of the key functions of marketing is to sniff out what price customers are willing to pay for your products or services.
The better research your marketers do, the higher perceived value your brand will have, and the higher a price will be able to charge for your solutions.
Distribution channels are the bones of any long-term operation, and marketers perform a key function in this area. Specifically, they help you choose the right distribution channels for both physical and digital products or services.
Additionally, marketers may consider whether a particular supply chain or vendor fits your brand’s mission statement or public values. For example, if your company makes a big deal out of eco-friendliness or green initiatives, it wouldn’t make sense for you to partner with a gas-guzzling supplier that isn’t very eco-friendly.
Should your customers ever find out, they could turn against your brand, possibly creating a PR crisis.
Another major function of marketing focuses on financing. Marketing can generate money aside from just drawing people to your website or generating sales.
Indeed, properly executed and artfully designed marketing can help to build “brand equity” or the value of your brand as a whole. This goes beyond what you sell to people; instead, it means what people think your brand is worth on an emotional level.
Furthermore, this aspect of marketing is important for securing funding and investment for future business expansions. The more brand equity your company has, the more likely big investors will be to fund your company, and the more likely you will be to reach an IPO or initial public offering stage.
Marketing Information Management
The last major function of marketing revolves around information management. These days, marketing is almost entirely data-driven, and the more sophisticated data your marketing team gets, the better they will be able to use that information to:
- Build more accurate consumer personas
- Determine how well your brand is resonating at the time
- Help you focus on specific products or services
In this way, marketing serves as a kind of data analytics aspect of your business. It’s possible that, in conjunction with your raw sales numbers, your marketing team may provide your business with the most data compared to any other sector.
You can use the information your marketers gather for high-level executive decisions, such as deciding whether to expand over the next year, whether to cut certain products, and whether to hire more staff.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to marketing than just creating peppy ads that sell your flagship products. It’s in your best interest to partner with expert marketing firms like VisCap Media. We’re the best in the business for creating engaging, converting video ads and visual content for your website. Contact us today, and let’s get started boosting your brand to new levels of success.