What is marketing?

What is marketing?

Photo courtesy of kevin dooley(CC Attribution)

So you may be asking, what is marketing all about really? Is it just a term used to justify high consulting fees, or maybe even someone’s role in a business? It’s an often asked question and I’d like to share a few different responses to that question with you today.

I was determined to get to the bottom of this, so I went hunting far and wide to get an answer. Here’s what I found:

According to the AMA (American Marketing Association) it 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.” (https://www.ama.org/AboutAMA/Pages/Definition-of-Marketing.aspx). It’s a mouthful isn’t it? So I kept hunting.  I decided I should go to the dictionary and headed over to Merriam-Webster’s and here’s what they had to say: “the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marketing). Now that’s a lot clearer, right – simply put it is about making people aware of a product or service. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg actually, can you buy a product you are not aware of? So that helps, but I knew there had to be a still even better definition out there for us to really understand what marketing is.

The ultimate answer to “what is marketing?”

My search took me to the world of Duct Tape Marketing and the ultimate definition by John Jantsch: “Getting someone, who has a need, to know, like and trust you. Now, when you have a marketing system in place this expands to – getting someone, who has a need, to know, like, trust, contact and refer you.” (http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2006/07/26/whats-the-definition-of-marketing) Did you notice the 2 key aspects to this and to what marketing is as a whole? It’s all about driving awareness and then building trust. If you can achieve those 2 things, you have truly built a foundation that will lead to opportunities which ultimately lead to sales. How are you going to build awareness and trust into your marketing efforts?

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How to Analyze the Supply and Demand of a Niche

As a small business owner, it is imperative that you study the supply and demand of any particular niche for which you feel you want to be involved. In addition, choosing a smaller niche market can allow your business to avoid competing with huge businesses that can afford to put out less expensive items. You can also charge higher prices for specialized and differentiated products or services that you promote to smaller audiences, giving higher profitability. In contrast, a larger business isn’t going to touch the smaller niches because they want to make much larger profits than the smaller niches will allow.

The trick is to learn how to analyze the supply and demand of any particular niche to ensure that you want to enter that market.

* Define Your Customers – How many customers are there to whom you can market any particular product or service? Knowing how many there are can give you a good idea about what the price point of the product needs to be in order to make it worth your while. Remember, you’re never going to reach every last potential customer so adjust your expectations accordingly.

* Determine Their Needs – As you look at the customers you want to work with, it’s important that you develop an understanding of their needs so that you can create products or services that are special, differentiated, and that they’re going to be willing to pay a higher premium for than mass-produced products and services that are lower quality.

* Provide the Right Products or Services – Knowing the customers and their needs will help you get down to work identifying several potential product ideas that you can do more research on by using keyword research, polling of the audience, and other methods to determine the supply and demand of products like yours.

* Outline a Marketing Plan – Once you’ve figured out the product or service you want to market, you’ll be able to determine marketing strategies and tactics that will help you earn the most from your small niche. Part of profitability is to know how you can market efficiently to your customer.

* Make a Profit – Finally, doing the research will help you determine if you can make a profit. Take the number of people in the market, the average market penetration and your price point, and you can come up with the most likely number of products you’d have to sell each month, week and day to reach your goals.

In order to make all this work together it’s important to:

1. Choose Keywords – Keyword research is somewhat subjective and starts with an understanding of your audience and a few words that you think they’ll use. You can also use tools to help you do keyword research.

2. Research Other Products – Find products that claim to be answers to your audience’s issues and check them out to find out how you can differentiate yours enough to charge the price point you need.

3. Identify the Price Point – Using the information gathered, come up with a price point that works for you.

4. Determine Your Break Even Number – Using all that information, come up with how many products you’d need to sell to make the profit you need to make, and whether it’s even possible considering all the other factors.

Bringing all these points together will ensure that you understand how supply and demand relates to the profitability of your niche. If there aren’t enough customers, or enough demand, and you can’t sell at a price point that fits with your income needs, you can then know it’s time to move on to another idea.

Top 10 Traffic Ideas for your Blog

Blogs are popular ways to create an online presence for personal and business reasons. You can build a blog for free and begin posting content right away. But, what good is that content if no one is reading it. Here are ten ideas to bring in the traffic your blog needs to survive.

Of all the successful blogs on the Internet, hundreds more have failed. Running a blog is like running a business website. Unless you are willing to put the time in and treat it seriously, you won’t be blogging long.

That is not to say that the failed bloggers weren’t serious about blogging. Mostly, new bloggers aren’t prepared for the work that goes into creating a successful blog. Just building the blog doesn’t mean that people will necessary come to you. You pursue the audience and give them a reason to see what you have to say.

1. Fresh Content – no one wants to visit a blog day after day and see the same posts. Update your blog content at least twice a week. This will be easier if you write several posts ahead of time and upload them at the appropriate times.

2. Article Marketing – the niche you’ve chosen for your blog is one that interests you. If it is interesting you will spend more time doing it. Create content not only for your blog but also to be submitted to article directories. Use the resource box to advertise your blog so people can find you.

3. Social Networking – these sites are everywhere. Join Facebook, MySpace, Squidoo, Twitter or a dozen others and make connections. You can join groups of likeminded people who are also bloggers or entrepreneurs.

4. Viral Marketing – this is where you spread the word about your blog. Talk to friends, family and even strangers. Give out business cards that have your blog address on them.

5. Use RSS Feeds – RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Readers can subscribe to your feed and get email updates when new content is posted. It is an easy way for them to keep up with your blog without spending all day online.

6. Submit Blog to Search Engines – doing this allows your blog to be ranked. Google and Yahoo! are two of the most popular search engines you want to crawl your blog pages. It doesn’t guarantee top ranking, though. You’ll have to do a little more work for that.

7. Joining Forums – as a blogger you are a budding entrepreneur. Right now you are marketing yourself to find traffic and then profit. Become a member of business forums, work at home forums and others to meet new people and share ideas. You can add a link to your blog in the signature line so others can find you.

8. Visit other blogs – show your appreciation to those who visit you by also posting comments on their blogs. It is a kindness that shows others you are not just out to advertise your blog alone. Add links to your blog in your comments.

9. SEO Marketing – whatever you write, use relevant keywords. Keyword density between three and ten percent is good for getting higher page rankings in search engines. Base your keywords on a research you do to find the most popular words used in search engines for your niche.

10. Social Bookmarking – submitting posts to social bookmarking sites allows others who are members of those sites to track you back to your blog.

Using any of these ideas will start the traffic moving in your direction. It takes time but you will build the readership you want.