Can you just make a product without any research and start selling it? Technically, you can, but it is only possible if you are offering something people consume on a regular basis, such as FMCGs, eatables, etc. All you have to do is give them “good taste,” advertise your business effectively, and things will start moving.
However, can you do anything different with something very traditional? For instance, we talked about eatables; can you create something different out of them? The answer is YES; you can by identifying a need or loophole in the market. You can sell recommended diet plans to people with diabetes or heart diseases. Or, you can sell eatables for lactose-intolerant people.
The question is, how is it different? Well, this time, you had proper research; you identified the needs of a specific group of people and then offered a solution accordingly. This time, it was “marketing” and not just advertising.
In other words, Marketing is a book, and advertising is just a chapter. Furthermore, marketing is a broader and complex process, and we are going to discuss it in our article today. Are you ready to learn something new?
What Is Marketing Process?
The marketing process, in simplest words, involves everything from need identification to customers’ satisfaction. It also includes a different string of actions and reactions, while the ultimate goal is customer satisfaction. Basically, the seller tries to satisfy the customers by offering value and capturing value from them as well.
This is how “Principles of Marketing” (2nd edition) defines this process, “The process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.”
So the process starts with need identification and ultimately ends at customer satisfaction. But, what lies in between? Let’s find out.
5 Steps Of Marketing Process
The marketing process is further divided into 5 steps, and we are going to discuss them one by one.
Understanding the Marketplace and the Customer Needs and Wants
The process starts with the identification of customer needs. However, it can grow to identify their wants and demands as well. Now, this can be confusing for the readers because we have mentioned three different terms. That’s why we are going to differentiate all of them.
- Needs. It include all the basic necessities such as shelter, food, clothing, safety, self-expression, communication, transportation, and individual needs for knowledge. As a marketer, you cannot create these needs; they are just basic ingredients of human markup.
- Wants. Wants are basically an advanced version of needs, but this time, it is the society or culture that shapes them. For instance, transportation is a need, but Suzuki Hayabusa or Mercedes Bens are wants.
- Demands. Demands are basically a reflection of peoples’ high buying power. When a company meets customers’ demands, it gives them pleasure rather than just satisfaction.
Here are some vital aspects that every marketer must consider at this stage;
- Understanding the local market/area/country/region.
- Identifying the interests of the target audience/potential customers.
- Evaluate how much people can spend on your product. i.e., their buying power.
Identifying the needs is simply not enough. As a marketer, you must know whether you would be able to produce an “affordable” product for your customers or not.
Design a Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy
At this stage, a business needs to find answers to these two questions;
- Which group of consumers should we target- identification of target market.
- How can (or should) we satisfy the needs/wants of that group- selecting a value proposition.
Apart from that, you need to identify the local market trends and the level of intensity of customers’ needs (how badly they want a solution).
Choosing The Target Audience
It is simply impossible to satisfy everyone or all types of audiences. That means you have to divide the market into small segments and then choose the one you can target. Of course, you can choose multiple market segments if you have the funds, workforce, and all other resources.
Selecting The Value Proposition
Once you decide your target audience and identify their needs/wants, the next thing on your agenda is how you can satisfy that specific need of that group of customers. This is a stage where you can differentiate your brand in the market. Your value proposition includes the benefits and value you can provide to your customers.
There are different ways to position your brand in the market. For instance, you can go with the Production Concept and make your products highly affordable and available for your customers. Or, you can choose the Product Concept and offer unique and unprecedented features/benefits through your product.
Build an Integrated Marketing Program that Delivers Superior Values
As a marketer, you are now clear about your company’s marketing strategy’s outline. The next step for you is to build an integrated marketing plan that focuses on providing value to the customers. At this stage, you need to think about these aspects;
- Product specifications and their feasibility
- Mediums of product promotion
- Room for product development/improvement in future
Basically, we are talking about a company’s marketing mix. A marketing mix is a combination of different marketing tools that a business uses to practically implement its marketing strategies.
Remember, your marketing mix will have a decisive role in building strong relationships with your customer, delivering the customer’s expected value, and achieving your overall organizational goals.
Build Profitable Relationships and Create Customer Equity
A marketing process is simply incomplete without building profitable relationships with your customers. The word “profitable” means that you have to please your customers and make them buy your products or services again and again.
Yes, you must keep striving to acquire new customers as well, but it is important that you retain customers for the long term. In simpler words, increasing customer equity should be the primary objective of any marketing mix.
The question is, how can you build this profitable relationship? Well, this is where customer relationship management comes in handy. Customer relationship management focuses on;
- Providing value to the customers.
- Helping customers in the pre-purchase stage.
- Offering after-sales services.
- Seeking regular feedback from customers.
- Urging customers to come up with suggestions and recommendations about your product.
Capture Value from Customers to Create Profits
As we have already mentioned, the best way to capture value from customers is by creating customer equity. A company’s loyal customers are directly proportional to the company’s customer equity. Most importantly, these loyal customers not only give you business (and ultimately profits), but they work as your marketing advocates to convert your potential customers into actual customers.
There is absolutely no doubt that marketers simply cannot build customer relationships or create customer value on their own. It is only possible when they have a strong collaboration with other departments in the organizations and make partnerships with external bodies. That means marketers need to be good at customers relationship management as well as partner relationship management.
The Bottom Line
From all the discussion above, we can safely say that a marketing process focuses on three core elements, and they are
- Identifying the needs or wants of your target audience/potential customers.
- Developing an effective and feasible marketing strategy.
- Satisfying or pleasing your customers by offering value and creating profitable relationships with your customers.