When we hear the word “Marketing”, what comes to our minds? If you are like most people, it is an activity done by companies to make money. Marketing is also referred to as the art of selling or the process of persuading people to buy something. In recent years, the New York Times has described it as “the only sure way of ensuring that companies stay profitable in an increasingly competitive market”.
There are two major forms of marketing activities: direct marketing and indirect marketing. Direct marketing refers to activities that a business undertakes in order to promote or sell a product, service, or even good to existing customers. For example, you might send an electronic advertisement to your existing customers informing them about a special sale on certain items. However, if you aim at marketing new products or services, you should undertake market research.
Marketing activities often depend on the development strategy adopted by a company. Companies take a number of steps in developing a strategy, including planning what marketing activities will be undertaken, the target audience targeted, research on new market trends, development of customer requirements and creating a marketing mix or positioning package. Developing a marketing mix involves evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing products or services, identifying new market opportunities, and determining how to best promote a new product or service through different channels. Various other factors such as financial resources, the company’s competitive position, and existing customers’ satisfaction can also affect development strategies. A successful marketing mix involves appropriate allocation of resources to achieve a desired outcome.
Influencer marketing refers to the relationship between a brand and a customer. Brands cultivate relationships with influential people in the industry, such as business associates, bloggers, colleagues, and customers. These relationships are generally considered to be favorable for both parties because the influencers share some of the same values as the brand and provide a positive experience for the customer. An advertiser, on the other hand, pays the influencer up front for the opportunity to reach out to a specific target audience.
Marketing activities can include both on-line and off-line programs; however, off-line programs have more potential for becoming viral, while an on-line program can be easily branded, verified, and tracked. Marketing through social media sites, on the other hand, offers more manageable numbers due to the nature of content and its immediate and long term impact. The increasing prominence of influencers and social media has resulted in a new marketing trend: experiential marketing.
Experiential marketing is marketing that uses actual consumer behavior to create a desired effect. The essence of experiential marketing lies in gathering data and using that data to develop a marketing campaign based on the collected data. The advantage of this strategy over other forms of direct marketing is that it uses the existing customers’ behaviors to form a new marketing solution or action plan. Brands can take advantage of existing customer’s behavior to create a more effective customer loyalty program, launch new product lines, or enhance their existing products. Experiential marketing is also a more low-cost form of advertising. Since most marketers already know what their customers want, they can often save money on creating a new product by incorporating existing customers’ recommendations with new product offerings.