This is a list of 10 must-read marketing fundamentals for beginners.
In fact, having these fundamentals clear at the beginning of my career helped grow my business Varthagam International which makes more than 2 crores within a year.
And my company have a good reputation from customers which is the utmost important thing in a business.
So if you want to market or create a new business, you’ll love this list of fundamentals, tips, techniques and strategies.
Let’s get started.
- What is marketing?
- Marketing comes before the product
- Are 4P’s enough?
- Advertising is dead
- Sell where your audience is.
- First Ten
- Data is the precious commodity
- Be the only option
- Word-of-mouth marketing
- Marketing does not sell. It builds trust.
1. What is marketing?
Marketing is not advertising.
It is not Google ads.
It is not social media postings or creating thousands of followers.
And of course, It is not a bunch of email listings.
Marketing is finding (or) alerting customers about your new products and offers!
Is that what marketing is?
That is also not marketing. It goes way beyond that.
In fact, most of the time, marketing has nothing at all to do with money.
If all these are not marketing, what the hell is that, then?
Marketing is the generous act of helping someone’s problem. (or) If you need to persuade someone to take action, you’re doing marketing.
It is about connecting who has the solution (your business) with the person who has a problem.
It is telling the person (who has a need or a problem) that, hey look, I think you are experiencing this problem, and this company has a solution for it. Have a look and if you trust them, then use them.
To understand the base of marketing, we should leave the external attributes like digital (in digital marketing), technical, tricks, shortcuts, and much more.
Take a step book. Come out and look at the overall structure of the marketing building!
Marketing is everywhere.
If you’re looking for votes in your class representative election, you’re marketing.
If you are tweeting, posting a selfie on Instagram, buying a bike, talking about a new movie released on Netflix today, you’re marketing.
A small piece of attention, care is also marketing.
And everybody is a marketer. Maybe, we do not do Marketing as we know it before, spending money.
2. Marketing starts even before the product
There are only two functions in the business.
Marketing & Innovation.
And the marketing starts even before the product innovation.
This may look odd for you, but I’ll make it clear now.
Let say, you are planning to start a business.
You are passionate about creating product ‘A’.
You know that you are the only one from whom people can buy your product and there is no such product exist in the market.
You hire people and work on it continuously and make a wonderful outcome.
Everything is set and you are about to launch your awesome product into the market.
The launch day comes and you start marketing your product!
But, no people purchase your wonderful product.
People do not actually need your product. We do not have to create a product. We create a solution for a problem.
That’s why marketing comes even before product innovation. You research the market to find the problem that people face. And you create a solution for that problem by innovating.
This is how it all works.
3. Are 4P’s enough?
In conventional marketing, marketers are used to believing in the 4P concept.
If you have a good product with competitive pricing at the right place, you can market successfully with promotion strategies.
Even today, some marketers believe that 4P’s with a half-decent ad campaign to tell the marketing story is what they need to do.
Is that enough?
But how do you know whether your marketing budget is fairly decent or fully compelling? How do you make your prospects click on your banner ad rather than others? How do you convince people to click on your title on SERP instead of others?
There comes the right mix!
Marketing is first psychology, then art, and then technology.
There are also other things which marketing relay – sociology, anthropology, mathematics, sensorial science, neuroscience and more.
To be a good marketer, you need to find the right mix for your campaigns. (Do not overcomplicate these things if you are just starting. You will learn these things on your way to being a good marketer)
You need to learn how consumers think, feel and act in a given circumstance. With that, you also need to know how to influence their purchase decision with that data.
Why do you need to learn these things?
Because, as per sources, ninety per cent of decision making takes place in the subconscious mind.
4. Advertising (as we know it) is Dead
People want smooth, seamless, and uninterrupted experiences. You watch a movie or listening to a song and suddenly a stupid advertisement intrudes breaking their mood.
People hate these intrusions.
That is when ad-blockers came in. Today, around 600 million to two billion devices use ad blockers leaving no space for the marketer to reach them.
And the number grows every year.
Consumers are now trading their money to move to an ad-free environment.
Spotify has 155 million Premium subscribers worldwide. An increase from only 100 million subscribers in early 2019. And more than 30 million people are using Youtube Premium.
People are choosing ad-free platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
What then is the solution?
Marketers need to focus more on building their brand story which triggers good old word-of-mouth.
5. Sell where your audience is
No matter how good the product is, people should need that product for it to sell.
And you should sell where your audience is.
And you should business where it has the potential to grow.
And the market potential depends on the average age of the nation. Without a second thought, the average should be between 18 and 35.
Because that is the age when people buy a lot of products. They spend!
In other words, they are ready to spend money on a new product that solves their problem.
And, as you might already be thinking,
India is the next big thing in the world.
With average age is just 29, India is the youngest nation in the world!
What does it mean?
It is the perfect time to start a business in India. India has huge market potential.
And that is why international brands are targeting India.
As a marketer, we have a customer base in India which we can leverage to our advantage.
6. First Ten
Seth Godin, the marketing genius, used to say, starting with the first ten customers is the most effective way to create a strong customer base.
Yes. This, in two words, is the secret of the new marketing.
Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…
Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.
If they don’t love it, you need a new product. Start over.
Your idea spreads. Your business grows. Not as fast as you want, but faster than you could ever imagine.
This approach changes the posture and timing of everything you do.
You can no longer market to the anonymous masses. They’re not anonymous and they’re not masses. You can only market to people who are willing participants. Like this group of ten.
The timing means that the idea of a ‘launch’ and press releases and the big unveiling is nuts. Instead, plan on the gradual build that turns into a tidal wave. Organize for it and spend money appropriately. The fact is, the curve of money spent (big hump, then it tails off) is precisely backwards to what you actually need.
If your first ten people see your thing and thank you and move on, instead of telling other people about your product, then you should work more on your product.
No tricks, no shortcuts.
Work on your product.
Great products market itself.
7. Data is the precious commodity
Raja Rajamannar, Global CMO of Mastercard, in his book Quantum Marketing urges that marketers need to understand and gain control over data, data analytics, and AI.
Data has always been and always will be a powerful and indispensable tool in marketing.
With the arrival of Google and various other ad platforms, marketers can refine their messages and create highly optimized promotions that would motivate consumers to choose their brand over others.
Marketers also had suddenly gained the ability to calculate the return on marketing investment (ROI) quite accurately.
It is very important to note that, it is not the raw data that gives the competitive edge, it is the ability to play with raw data. We can then act on data that provides a competitive advantage.
One of the important things to note here is that marketing data is literally an ocean and we should learn to swim on it to put the right numbers on the table.
On boiling down every data:
– Descriptive (what happened)
– Predictive (what will happen)
– Prescriptive (what are the dimensions of consumer data are)
If you are an online store or getting leads from your website, then, with the advantage of google analytics, you will get to know every trace of how your prospects engaged with the website.
You can get details including what keywords did your prospects used to reach your site, where are they located, what language they speak, what device/OS they use, and much more.
With that data in hand, you can make more improvements to get better ROI.
With the help of Zoho Pagesense or Hotjar, you can even see the recorded videos of how your prospects engaged.
If you know how to play with data, then you can become a great marketer with other things in hand.
8. Be the only option
Marketing has been evolved much more in the last decade than it did for centuries.
Technologies are evolving and the real estate available is shrinking day by day.
Let’s take SERP results on desktop:
There is space for 1-6 ads, 10 organic results, local results, Q&A on Google, related searches, video results, and people also ask results.
when we take a look at mobile results, as the device size is lower, the features available are also low.
With the advent of AI-driven smart speakers like Alexa and Google Assistant (voice-only environment), the spaces available are much lower.
To be precise, there is only one space available.
Voice commerce is increasing day by day. People ask Alexa or Google Assistant for a search result and buy (low-price) products even without considering other options.
According to a survey, 70 per cent of all smart speaker owners have made at least one purchase via these devices.
So, it is not an option to work better to be the best option available in the future.
9. Word-of-mouth Marketing
There are exceptions.
But, most of the time, word-of-mouth is powerful than advertising.
You take traditional marketing like media advertising and promotional events, word of mouth is more useful in creating new customers.
In some categories, McKinsey suggests that “word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising in categories as diverse as skincare and mobile phones.”
Why is word-of-mouth important?
We like our friends more than the company advertising itself as the best in ht industry, right?
And literally, every ad claims their product is great.
“99.99% germs protection”.
“100% germ protection”.
“Critically acclaimed and commercially most successful film of the year 2021”.
“up to 100% dandruff-free”. (What, up to?)
Our friends will not say these selling terms. They will say to us straight.
“One time watchable”.
“Yeah. It’s really good”.
And, as a result, we adhere to their opinions.
Narrow, focussed targeting:
Word-of-mouth marketing is narrow and can be more targeted.
For example, if you sell cricket bats, in conventional marketing like newspaper ad or tv ad, you need to advertise to a mass audience. Not all people are your audience. Which means your marketing budget is wasted.
Even in the modern digital world, if you promote your social posts on social media, you can target people based on their interest. But, what if they like watching but do not play cricket?
In word-of-mouth, whereas, people (your current customer, for example) talk about your cricket bats only to his friend who likes playing cricket.
Curious about learning word-of-mouth marketing, check out Jonah Berger’s New York Times bestseller “Contagious”. One of the best marketing books I have ever read!
10. Marketing does not sell. It builds trust.
Let’s say, you have a product to sell.
You plan to get customers through Google Ads.
You identified your target audience and created an ads campaign successfully.
You hit the launch button.
Ads are performing well and people visit your website.
What happens if you take your prospects who clicked on your ad to a sales page directly?
It’s like asking a girl for a date at first sight. The answer will almost always be no.
She does not know who you are. In other words, she does not have developed any trust in you.
The same applies to the ads. The prospect will bounce without even becoming your lead.
Which mean, you should first drive the attention of the customer by taking them to your content page (aka) features page.
Once they get to know all the features they get to solve their need or a problem, by using lead magnets (free e-book, free trial, etc), you can make them give their contact information, in marketing term, they will become your lead.
Once they become your lead, you add them to your funnel and start providing them values by providing useful information through whatever channel is applicable for you (Ex: Email, WhatsApp, etc).
This way, they will start to trust you (People trust people; not company).
Then, at the right time (when they reach a certain point in your funnel), you introduce your product along with pricing to your lead.
Then the transaction part. They will buy (or at least consider) your product as they trust you and they know you will provide value for the money they pay.
If we put everything in order, we get the CATT model.
If you follow this formula of offering great content to drive customer’s attention which in turn builds trust, you can sell any product whether it is B2B or B2C.
So, Marketing does not sell. It creates trust. Trust then in turn sell your products.
What Do You Think?
Now I’d like to turn things over to you:
Which marketing fundamental tip from this list was your favourite?
Or maybe you have a tip that I didn’t cover here.
Either way, let me know by writing to my mail firstname.lastname@example.org.