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MARKETING — a Complete Guide!

By Divyam Dewan on November 26, 2020 in Entrepreneurship

Marketing is not easy. It involves a large number of strategies and frameworks.

And, with a lot of unstructured information lying all across the internet, it is hard to even develop the basic understanding of how marketing works. And mastering the art may take several years of dedication and hard work, especially in specific areas like copy writing, analytics, strategy development etc.

Just like for any tall structure, foundation remains the most critical part, if you want to become a digital market expect, you must work on making your basics strong.

And if you’re keen to learn, you’ve landed to the right place.

This blog post will cover almost everything you need to get started on your marketing journey. Think of it as an ultimate guide, packed full of actionable advice, backed with quotes and examples that you won’t learn in the classroom.

So, what are we waiting for, let’s get going…

If you are interested in cars, why don’t you take a leap and read my latest blog!

Anyways, back to our main content……marketing

WHAT IS MARKETING?

To put it in one sentence, marketing is the act of convincing the target audience through a strategized framework to drive profit through sales. But what is a marketing framework? It is a thoughtful template designed to ensure we are targeting the right customer through right channel.

MARKETING MIX & 4 P’s OF MARKETING

Let the marketing be as complex as it can be, still it revolves around only four key parameters: product, price, promotion, and place. Over time, the marketing channels change, even the most popular frameworks gets updated or even outdated sometimes, but everything revolves around these never changing principles (or parameters you may call them)

Some marketing models might add few more P’s to the list, but I’d like to keep it basic here. So let’s see how marketing really works.

Product

This is the heart of a company, the ultimate thing. It could be a product (the physical one) or even a service (consultation/software/subscription etc.) From a marketing perspective, the following would need to be determined:

  • How many different product variations you can handle? For example, Mahindra only concentrates on selling SUVs while Hyundai also offers hatchbacks and sedans in addition to SUVs
  • How is the final packaging going to look like? To make another example, if a company make chocolates, should they come in a plastic wrapper or a tin box? What will be grade of material to be used?
  • How will you back up the product/service? For example, Myntra offers a 30-day exchange/return policy on most of the apparel items. Product warranty, free initial services, customer feedbacks, all comes into this.

Tip: you may also take feedback from the potential clients before actually developing your product/service. This will definitely yield into better results.

Price

This is the simple one. What should the MRP tag read, right? Well, maybe there’s little more to understand here.

If the end goal of marketing is to drive profits, then surely, prices need to be set at a level the market will support.

Here are some marketing considerations with prices:

  • What is the market rate per unit of the product you are going to offer? This requires some serious market analysis and competitive research to determine the profit margin (difference b/w actual product cost and the final asking)
  • How should time the discounts and offers? In India, everyone asks for a discount on festive seasons, think about this.
  • What should be the payment options? Are you offering only plastic money (debit/credit card, Paytm, UPI) or you are going to partner will financial service company for loans and stuff?

Promotion

This is my favorite part. Consider a case you have made the best product in your category, but no one knows about your product, then you might say that my product exists but from people’s perspective, it is non-existent.

So, once you are done with making the final product, it needs to be promoted so people know that it exists, only then you can expect the sales to happen. Again, some point to be noted here:

  • Which channels will be used to promote the product, offline (traditional marketing), online (digital media) or both?
  • Where will it be launched? In live-webinars (this is the only option for most of us in Covid-19 times)? At experience stores? At launch parties/events?
  • For what your brand needs to be remembered? What the message you want to convey? Just be crystal clear about the product that you are projecting. You can add a tag line to your brand Eg, KFC-finger lickin’ good

I’m sure, all of you must have heard about Colgate brand. It makes a variety of oral care products. But in 1982, Colgate tried to enter the frozen food market and it proved to be a big marketing disaster. People could not relate Colgate (which has always been perceived as a teeth cleaning brand) with food.

Place

What do we learn from this marketing failure? The right product needs to be in the right place for people to find it and buy it.

  • Where is the product distributed? Online? Offline?
  • Will specific locations get the product? For example, you cannot sell winter clothing in North India in peak summer times.

KEY AREAS OF MARKETING

Marketing, as told in the beginning, is very vast subject and you can’t expect me to sum up everything in this blog post. But I would like to share some of the most important areas of marketing, that you will see every now and then in your digital marketing journey ahead.

Content Marketing

Content is not just a random piece of information; it is a thoughtful and structured information to help the other person understand it in a way he/she wants to. And as far as marketing is concerned, today, people don’t want to be sold and interrupted by ads, they just want plain help.

And hence, the main idea behind content marketing is not to sell anything in first place but to attract customers to the final landing page where actual sales might happen. This achieves a few important goals:

  • Building an audience
  • Establishing authority
  • Driving sales

Now what all can be called content? It could be anything, a blog post (like what you are reading), an e-mail, a video, social media post, e-book or any digital content that will be finally used for marketing.

It may also include hard copy print, like brochures or magazines.

Email Marketing

When we talk about email marketing, we specifically target a customer as per his choices and demands, that simply means we need different customized emails for different people. And talking about the ROI (Return on Investment) in email marketing, it may even go up to 3500–4000%, that means for every $1 spent on marketing you can expect $35–40 in return.

Social Media Marketing

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, what’s common in all of them? Yes, they all are used for connecting with your audience. The sole aim in social media marketing is to get audience retention as high as possible, and analyze the engagements on your different posts to decide what type of advertisement is best for your audience.

You might also want to use different platforms simultaneously to generate more leads and hence more sales traffic.

Video Marketing

Do you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and this simply means, today, a user is not interested to read a blog (unless he wants to understand the depth of context). Just take an example, if you want to do a quick research on a smartphone, what will you choose a 5 min. blog or a 5 min. video?

But with 400hrs of content uploading every minute on YouTube, all the niches are getting saturated and the only way to survive is to do something unique (may be you can go for making regional content, that’s still a new thing)

No doubt, there are other video platforms as well (Facebook Watch, Twitch, DailyMotion, Vimeo, Instagram IGTV etc), but no one stand close to YouTube.

Pay Per Click Ads

Whenever you search anything on Google search bar, you will be shown few featured search results, that are nothing but ads. It is a model of marketing, where advertiser pay a small fee each time, one of their ads is clicked.

Now, there are two aspects of looking at this. One, this is a way of buying visits to your site, rather than getting those views organically. Two, the visit is worth much more than what you are paying (eg, if you pay $1 per visit, and you get $200 sale on your page, then you’ve booked a heavy profit)

Search Engine Optimization

Have you ever imagined, how google stacks up the search results for your query? Any search engine like google, uses a bot to crawl pages on the internet, going from site to site, collecting all the information about those webpages and putting them in an index and this index is matched with the search query and with the help of many ranking factors, it determines the order in which pages should appear.

SEO is simply a practice to increase the quality as well as the quantity of traffic to your website through organic search results. Anyone would want to get organic results (natural traffic without running any ads) and that what SEO helps you to attain.

Influencer Marketing

I’m sure you must have seen popular Bollywood celebrities doing ads for televisions. Similarly, we have a lot of people who have a huge fanbase in their niche and they upload the new content regularly, so brands approach them to get their product advertised in integration with their content.

Influencers, unlike celebrities, can be anywhere. They can be anyone. What makes them influential is their large followings on the web and social media. An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram, a talented dancer on youtube, or a well-read cybersecurity blogger who tweets, or a respected marketing executive on LinkedIn. Within any industry, there are influential people — you just have to find them.

ECONOMICS — a basic overview

Don’t Worry, I’m not here to teach you the textbook definitions and trust me, economics is a complex subject, not just to understand but also difficult to explain, still, I’ve taken the challenge to take a short dive into it.

In short, economics deals with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services and no doubt, money is the most pivotal resource to be talked in economics.

Economics can be divided into in micro and macro sub-parts, former looks at the individual markets while the latter looks at an entire economy. This was just for your knowledge, we ain’t getting deep into this.

But, to understand the economics further, let’s look at two important concepts.

1. Supply & Demand: there is a production level and a consumption rate but they hardly match each other. If supply is way more than the demand, the price of commodity decreases and vice versa.

2. Elasticity: it is just a measure of fluctuation of price, with respect to changes in other factors. If demand remains static even if price changes, demand is said to be inelastic. Clothing & Electronics are examples of elastic goods while food is an example of inelastic goods.

Financial Markets

There are lots and lots of factors that come into play while understanding economics from the financial market point of view. And here are some of the terms, you might want to get familiar with.

1. Inflation: Suppose you go to market and buy groceries worth ₹500/- today. It would have cost only ₹140/- for same amount in 2000. That’s because of inflation. The purchasing power of Indian rupee has decreased over time as the price of daily commodities risen.

2. Recession: it is a period of declining economic performance (negative growth in production, elevated unemployment etc) across entire economy that lasts for several months. The financial crisis of 2007–08 was one of the most devastating recessions world has ever seen.

3. Exchange Rates: it is the value of a country’s currency with respect to that of another country. For example, $1 = ₹39.20 in 2009 and $1 = ₹73.96 in 2020. The fluctuation is simply based on demand and supply in the market.

4. Gross Domestic Product (GDP): It is the sum total monetary value of all the goods and services produced within a country during a specific period of time. It is used as an indicator of economy size and to estimate the economic growth of a country year by year.

DIGITAL VS TRADITIONAL MARKETING

On one hand, we have the age old, tried and tested marketing strategies and then there are some new and innovative. Be it anything, the whole purpose of marketing is to grab the attention of the audience and make them tap into our business.

But which strategy works best? Which one should our businesses focus on? Let’s analyse one by one, then we will land into the conclusion.

What is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing is anything which can be done w/o the aid of a laptop and an active internet connection. This marketing involves methods that have been tested and researched over a large variety of customers over decades now.

Common traditional market methods include:

  • Television or radio commercials
  • Newspaper or magazine ads
  • Billboards and fliers
  • Telephone calls and text notifications

We see and hear many of these ads every day via our car’s infotainment system on the way to work or even looking out the window at the billboards as we go by. They’ve become a part of daily life.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing involves all the strategies that have been framed after continuously analysing the new trends and new technology. These strategies definitely require the use of a screen (smartphone most of the times, but may be a laptop also) and of course an active internet connection. The most interesting part here is, we have not come very far using these strategies, still they are the first choice for most of the new businesses due to its customised approach.

Common digital marketing methods include:

  • Email campaigns
  • Content marketing
  • Social media posts
  • Clickable ads
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • And a lot more

These strategies are very popular today just due to the fact that, there are millions of internet/smartphone users and they are obviously going to increase in coming years.

Conclusion

· If you just starting, I assume that you are on a tight budget, but still you might want to reach a particular group of people, wherever they may be, digital marketing is the best solution

· In the long run, you will be able to collect so much valuable information of your target audience, you can do a lot of analysis beforehand to make your next marketing campaign even more effective.

· If budget is not a problem, and u want to reach almost all the people in a particular area, no one can beat traditional marketing even today

· We can’t say which one is better, it depends on your budget and targeting strategy

CATT MARKETING FUNNEL

A marketing funnel describes your customer’s journey with you.

From the initial stages when someone learns about your business, to the purchasing stage, marketing funnels map routes to conversion and beyond.

With careful analysis, a marketing funnel lets you know what your company must do to influence consumers at certain stages. By evaluating your funnels, you can potentially drive greater sales, more loyalty and stronger brand awareness.

Let us understand this by taking example of CATT marketing funnel & framework

To summarize this framework, we can write:

Let me explain these variable one by one:

[n] Niche: I went to a supermarket a few days back and I bought tea, sugar, milk and a pan. Now here’s the drill. I got all this under one roof, but I chose Taj Mahal Tea, Dhampur Sugar, Amul Milk and local brand pan. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give u a tea recipe here. You cannot find Amul tea, or taj Mahal Sugar, why? Coz that is not their expertise. They are good in making milk and tea respectively, and that’s what their niche is.

A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The market niche defines the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that it is intended to target. It is also a small market segment

How will you get to decide the perfect niche for your budding business venture? Well, it’s not that easy but I can give you a quick formula:

Niche = Talent + Market + Passion

You need to find something that you are good at (we can call this talent), something that you will love doing even when odds are against you (passion) and finally there must be a market/a group of people that require your product/service and with a perfect mix of these three ingredients, you get a niche.

For example, you know how to repair cars, and you are a technology freak, and when I tell u that there are 10million cars selling each day and obviously, they will have to undergo maintenance time and again……..voila, u got a niche. You can open a car repair shop in ur locality

Some people might have got deviated from the blog and went on into their dream world of finding their niche. All the best! Take your time

[C] Content: you are right now reading almost 4000+ words blog. This is nothing but a type of content. So we can say, content is nothing but a method to deliver value. It can be a blog post, a youtube video, a live webinar, an Instagram post and what not. But, with respect to this framework, we need to design the content that is useful and could solve the problem of our potential customer. This is going to be the final offering. You are doing all the marketing just to convert the customer to your content, and if your content is not that solid, there’s no use of marketing.

[A] Attention: with so much offerings, thanks to the social media, it is very easy to skip a useful post/video even without looking into it. In order to push the client deep into the funnel u need to be good at driving attention. U need to be short and crisp with ur content. In order to grab the attention, u can make use of many marketing tools like SEO, paid ads, referrals etc.

[T] Trust: one way to sell ur customers is just demo it to the consumers in the first place and sell them by providing a handsome discount. You will get many leads, but will u be able to manage them in a long run, I’m not so sure.

The most successful brands in world work on building the trust. They take feedbacks seriously, provide reliable customer support, behave transparently with the customers. In short, we can say, trust can be taken as “keeping customers first, not revenue”

[T] Transaction: this is the fruit of success. By now, you have given ur 100% in making a valueable content targeted to a particular niche and u have gained the trust of ur potential client over time and u also worked hard on gaining the tough-to-get attention, so just sit back and relax, the sales will happen automatically. Now this is what I call a clean and a natural sale.

DIRECT RESPONSE MARKETING

It is a type of sales technique designed to induce on-the-spot response from a potential customer to take action (purchase) by opting in the advertiser’s offer. Unlike other marketing types, the direct response requires little or no time waiting to see measurable results and hence the advertisers are able to access the performance from the moment the campaign is launched.

Netflix subscription in India is offered in four packages ranging ₹200–800 per month. What will you do, if you see an ad showing “get Netflix free for 5 days, no credit card details asked”? Who doesn’t like free stuff, that too for 5 straight days? Well, let me tell you, you have just said yes to a direct response marketing ad.

It could be found nearly in all forms of advertising, including TV, print media, radio, websites, and other online ads. By creating an irresistible offer, advertisers try to generate a lead, that’s it. Now, you might wonder, what is a lead? Lead generation in marketing refers to attracting the customer first through interest and then through enquiry and if everything goes well, he/she might end up doing a sale.

No, don’t think that direct response marketing is a charity. In exchange for the free offer the advertiser may ask you to sign up with gmail/facebook id or may ask for a email or phone number and so on and they will use your contact information in their future marketing campaigns.

Components of Direct Response Marketing

An ad (or specifically an offer) that might lock instant deals is the only way to go for direct response marketing. So here are some must to haves in this type of marketing:

  • An offer: it must be carefully designed to hit the emotions & desires of the customer and hence must include the cost, limit to use, guarantee (if any), all the term & conditions apart from the product itself, because sometimes, the customer might not be just interested in the offer itself but the full premium experience of your product/service.
  • Information: here you have to be careful with the retention time. An average ad on the internet gets only 4sec to grab customer’s attention. So the message needs to be crisp and clear. You might also want to tell why your product is better than the competition.
  • Call to action: this is the final means of response and it can take various forms, some are listed below.
  1. Buy Now
  2. Use coupon code FREE2020
  3. Follow this link
  4. Contact us on 9999999999
  5. Subscribe to our newsletter
  6. Share it on Facebook
  7. Download trial version

An even smarter way to push leads, is to tell them, that you have limited seats/number of items for this offer and it might run out soon. This will create a sense of emergence and prompt customers to take immediate action.

INTEGRATED DIGITAL MARKETING

With so many platforms and so many ads, it’s really hard to get a visit from a customer. In order to drive traffic, you need best strategy and that is integrated digital marketing.

It simply means a strategy that could blend all your marketing tactics — email marketing, paid advertising, SEO, social media, content marketing etc. But, you must keep in mind, that all the channels must compliment each other and create the same image in customer’s mind.

So what are these channels we are talking about? Well, there are three types:

· paid media (running ads)

· earned media (SEO, organic search obtained with a website or a blog)

· owned media (Social Media, Email, and others)

PERSONAL BRANDING — mass trust blueprint

Let me ask you a question, a very important one. What do you want to be remembered for?

For some of you, it could be a matter of seconds, while others may take a lifetime to figure out.

Personal branding is not just for a business owner, it is equally essential for anyone who wants to share his/her story with the world. If you really want to create a difference, creating a personal brand should definitely be on the top spot of your to-do list.

Most people define personal branding with a name and logo, but there’s so much more to it than that. Let me give you an example, people know Elon Musk more than they know SpaceX or Tesla. So even if Musk buys a falling brand, people will start valuing the brand, that’s the power of personal branding.

It is an ever-lasting process of maintaining a reputation by ensuring trust in hearts of the customers associated with your brand. Do not confuse this with mere self-improvement, it’s much more than this. It’s self-packaging.

Let’s look at how to achieve personal branding:

· Think before Acting: we often look at the successful ones, and start our journey. But there are many failures too, which eventually teach us, what should not be done. Whenever you are creating a new content, please make sure that it is what your customer actually wants, and not what you think they want. Every content must reach your customer. The new and unique one will always find their way, but the repetitive owns need a push of paid media, so invest on ads.

· Consistency is the Key: this is for the beginners. We start at some place and end up doing something else a few days later. You must clearly define your niche and then stick to it. Results will not show up on day 1, you will have to show consistency, dedication and will power to keep going. And to eventually become a personal brand, you must not leave any stone unturned. Show your presence on every social media. Deliver some free content, let the people know you, then charge them for the same in future.

· USP: it stands for unique selling proposition. You don’t sell the product, you sell the experience. People choose to pay for your product/service coz they think their lifestyle, emotions, identity goes well with your product/service. There has to be something unique, may be with the product or with the brand, otherwise it’s very hard to stand out from the crowd today.

Evolution of your personal Brand — Mass Trust Blueprint

· Learn — everything starts from a skill set. You must attain the mastery before you actually enter the market. It’s totally ok, if it’s new to you. Start leaning, practice everyday, you will find a huge change in yourself, after you spend 100 or 1000hrs in the skillset

· Work — always remember “the best known will always outrun the best”. Knowledge has no value if it is not put into practice. So apply the skill in real world and see what all needs to get better.

· Blog — I know there are many tools for digital writing, and you might want to save paper, but believe me the conventional method of writing (pen-paper style) is always better than anything. Basically, you remember better when you write. But, to reach the volume, you will have to publish whatever you write. So blogging is one of the methods.

· Consult — now that you are a regular blogger, you have somewhat attained a personal brand for yourself. You can leave your current job and start consulation service coz you have real world experience.

· Mentor — It’s perfect time to start mentoring and help others reach to the level where you are today. In other words, help others to make their dream turn into reality by simply sharing your experience with them.

· Startup — this is the final step. You make a product/service ready to solve the problems of your potential customers.

Thanks for making it till the end.

That’s it for this blog post. If you appreciate the efforts, please hit the Like button (Clap) below and share this article with anyone who is new to the marketing field and wants to explore more. Comment down your learnings and experience while reading this article. I’ll catch you later in next post.

Here are few questions, you might ask yourself before going ahead:

1. What’s the problem you are going to solve?

2. What’s your niche, and how diverse can you go in your niche?

3. What makes you different from the rest?

4. Who are your potential customers?

5. What skillsets do you require to make your product/service turn into reality?

6. What’s the risk involved and the backup plans?

7. What are going to be the core beliefs/values of your company?

8. How well is the competition doing?

This article was written as an assignment and is a part of Digital Deepak Internship Program. This program is one of its kind because it pays when you complete a given assignment. I’m loving this so far and I’m sure you’ll embrace it too. If you are interested in this program, click here to apply for the next batch.

Dreamer, Seeker, Doer!