To clearly define the relationship between sales and marketing we must first define marketing
What Is Marketing?
Marketing is all about enabling.
- Enabling a business to find the right customers.
- Enabling consumers to find the right business.
- Enabling sales by demonstrating and displaying the value of specific products and services.
To break it all down to bare bones, marketing, is about enabling businesses to survive and to thrive via the one thing every business requires – SALES
Marketing enables sales.
Businesses need sales to survive. No matter what a business does, it is always about driving sales. Cold calls, Customer Service, Branding campaigns, Advertising, Promotions, you name it – all of it in one way or another, is about making the sale.
Because for any business, survival depends on sales.
Marketing enables sales.
Ergo marketing enables survival.
“Sales depend on the customer’s ability to perceive value. When enough value is perceived, a customer is willing to pay a specific amount based on that value. Marketing is about demonstrating that value. If a business can demonstrate enough value – enough reason – for customers, then they will make the sale. They will survive and they will grow.” – TMS
That is what Marketing is.
Now let’s dig further.
“Value” is perceived in a number of ways and by a number of things. For simplicity we will break it down into two primary areas first (we will then break those down further). The two primary areas are as follows:
- Value in a product or service.
- Value attached to a brand reputation.
1. Value In A Product Or Service.
Value in a given product or service is determined by a number of variables. Certain products are a necessity to everyday life: Toothpaste, Toilet paper, Food, Gasoline, Electricity etc. While other products are considered luxury items: Movies, Video Games, Vacations, so on.
Necessities: These sell themselves to a certain degree. When dealing with these types of products it is more about keeping abreast of the competition. Let’s use toilet paper to demonstrate a few of the controlling factors for sales on necessities:
- Price point. Are your rolls more or less expensive than the next guy?
- Quality. Two ply will fetch more than single ply toilet paper.
- Innovation. Is there something NEW or DIFFERENT that separates your product from the other available options? (Does it wipe for you?).
- Availability. Is the product in all of the key places people go (no pun intended)? Is it convenient to find? Is it in stock?
- Relationship. In small business especially, relationships are important. Develop camaraderie with the customer base, and you will be number 1 (pun definitely intended). They will CHOOSE to support you.
- Reputation. This is about branding and ties in to the value attached to you brand. Developing a brand reputation drives new and repeat sales. Branding is key to success.
With necessities, customers are going to purchase these products regardless. Will they purchase from you or do they have reason to go elsewhere? Success here is about giving them a reason to go to you.
Luxuries: These items are more about what customers are CHOOSING to purchase. It could be something new, perhaps a new snowboard, or a Kitchen Aid mixer. Or it could be an upgrade, moving from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5. Regardless, these items require more effort in demonstrating the value.
All of the same principles for “necessities” apply to luxury purchases as well. However the value is not as readily evident. People know they need to brush their teeth, the do not necessarily agree that they need a new 52” plasma screen.
With these types of items marketing can take a nasty turn, becoming more about coercion and less about value.
Coercing or deceiving customers about value, is one massive marketing FAIL. If the product is so bad that it requires deceit to sell it, then it should not be on the market.
As Seth Godin put it “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers”.
- You can market junk, and do it well. You can make the quick sale, but you will NEVER develop a brand or any longevity.
- This is a fact and it is increasing in truth as Social Media continues to enable brand transparency, CRM and more thorough customer feedback at a public level.
It is the marketing of junk that has given the industry a bad name. TRUE Marketing is not about deceiving the consumer base. It is about showing them great products.
Let’s assume then, that the product is a non-essential – a luxury – but a good one, one with value. Now it comes down to showcasing this value. That is where marketing comes in. developing the research, strategies, tools and resources to display the products greatness to the world.
The research is crucial. Knowing HOW to best market a specific business will save thousands of the client’s dollars. Market Research requires a careful analysis of variables that include (but are not limited to):
- Business Location.
- Location of competition.
- Location of viable customers.
- Product & Service Value
- Define the value.
- Who is it valuable to?
- What similar products & services exist?
- Target Market
- Where is the market located?
- Market demographics (age, gender etc.)
- What are they spending money on?
- What do they value?
- Measure Existing Brand Strengths
- What is there to work with? (don’t reinvent the wheel).
- What are they doing right?
- What can be leveraged?
- Measure Existing Brand Weaknesses
- Where is there room for improvement?
- How are these being exploited by competitors?
- How do we address?
- Measure Competition
- Analyze what they provide.
- Who they provide it to.
- How they do it.
- How we can do it better
Small business budgets are, well… small. By determining the marketing areas of highest value, we can ensure the most return on the dollar. Taking all of these variables into account we determine what strategy and tools make the most sense for that specific business. For example:
- Not every business needs accounts on multiple social media profiles.
- Not every business requires billboard advertising.
- Not every business can profit from advertising in women’s magazines…
Know Your Target: There is such a vast number of marketing and advertising options in existence, that many assume putting a business or brand on display would be simple. In fact, a common statement from small business is that “they are marketing, but not seeing the results they hoped for”.
Many are mystified.
The thing is that a product or service can be displayed, but if the right people are not seeing it, it does no good. Put another way, “if your business is selling marmalade to the elderly, don’t sink your budget into social media”.
If you boil the term “marketing” down to “displaying value”, then one can agree that it makes sense to ensure that this “value” is being displayed to the people who care.
2. Value Attached To A Brand Reputation.
Brand reputation is the result “BRANDING”. Many mistake “Branding” as no more than the consistent displaying of the same logo and uniform colour scheme across all advertising mediums. While this is an ASPECT of branding, it is only about 30% of it.
Branding is all about creating an image and an association – in the mind of the consumer – between a specific business and a specific expectation. For example, when one purchases a coffee from Starbucks, they expect a certain level of quality and service. Why? Because this is what they have come to expect. That is the BRAND REPUTATION.
To develop a brand image and reputation a business must first determine what their commitment is to consumers. This is their “BRAND PROMISE”. This brand promise, or commitment to customers is what the brand reputation is built around.
A brand reputation is controlled and affected my many things. It takes years of consistent effort to develop a brand and all of that work can be unraveled in a matter of hours.
The value in developing a brand can be seen in all of the major companies in existence today. Apple, Google, Samsung, Coke, Visa, Nike, BMW, Toyota, etc. They have all put in decades of effort to get to where they are today.
When developing a brand, one once again looks to research and measurements. We discuss this further in our post here:
Suffice to say that once a positive brand reputation has been developed, sales grow more easy. Consider Apple, they are widely regarded as suppliers of innovative, engaging and quality products. Since they possess a reputation for high value product, they will make sales with less effort.
A good brand reputation essentially paves the way for sales. Make no mistake though, this reputation takes time and effort to cultivate and under the right circumstances, can be quickly destroyed.
Branding should be a goal for any business of any size. It is not something left strictly to corporations, or established businesses. A small corner store can develop a reputation for quality service with a smile, and that in itself can drive sales.
Every business needs brand awareness, a brand image and a brand reputation.
BUSINESS SURVIVAL requires SALES.
SALES require MARKETING.
MARKETING is: “the enabling of sales through display and exposure of product/service value.” – TMS
Demonstrate the value behind your product/service and demonstrate the value of your business/brand to the correct target market. That is marketing encapsulated into a very tiny nutshell.
If you want to make sales, provide the most valuable products possible to your customer base and market in a way that clearly displays this value to the people it matters to.
As Henry Ford put it “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.”
Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists.