According to the American Marketing Association, the definition of marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Sounds very ‘textbook.’
All too often though, people will confuse marketing with sales. It is not. Additionally, people will confuse marketing with advertising. Partially true but it is really a small part of marketing. Marketing, when approached correctly, is about charting the direction for the business.
I prefer to think of it this way… Marketing’s job is to find the rainbow (Potential Customers) and plan for what pot-of-gold may exist at the end of the rainbow. Sales will go a secure the pot-of-gold. Engineering and Operations will go and extract the gold.
One of the most basic marketing essentials, that I see way too many marketers not follow, is not being thoughtful, or systematic about their basic marketing efforts. They want to:
All in one motion or communication to a market that knows nothing about the business or the offering.
In other words, you cannot take a target from not being aware of the business or their services to being a loyal advocate customer that will never leave. Impossible. Smart and strategic marketers and leaders recognize that you need to move prospects and customers systematically through a step-by-step process.
A step-by-step process, or basic marketing funnel, takes into consideration where a target, prospect or customer is in their own journey, what they pay attention to and what will move them to the next step in the journey. My customer journey on the marketing process looks like this:
Seeing the list above, it should be obvious why it is impossible to take someone who is unaware to a stark raving advocate in smooth communication. It doesn’t happen. Marketers need to plan for each stage strategically and execute with the intention of moving step-by-step with different approaches for each stage.
Finally, it costs over six times more money to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Have a plan for moving your customers deeper in the process. This is where the real profit lives!
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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