Marketing covers a range of business activities. Advertising, sales, customer relations and business development can all be under the marketing umbrella. Marketing is the overall plan a business uses to boost sales, improve profits and expand market share (the percentage of the industry the company claims as customers or clients.) Determining how marketing helps companies means understanding how each aspect is intended to perform.
Salespeople are the heart of marketing. Whether through direct sales or sales representation, people are always the most important aspect of marketing a business. Advertising, the Internet and phone calls cannot replace the satisfaction and attentiveness that come with someone calling in person and shaking a hand. Marketing plans and strategies must always start and revolve around what people can do for the business.
Advertising is often confused with marketing but it is just one aspect. Advertising has two purposes: information and name recognition. With some businesses it is important to get information to customers as quickly as possible concerning sales, inventory and price changes or new products or services with the business. With some businesses, however, it’s very difficult to sell with advertising. An industrial plant is not going to order more raw materials based solely on an ad. What is important, however, is when that plant does decide to order that the supplier’s name and contact information is first on the list to contact. Marketing through advertising works to achieve this goal of name recognition.
Customer relations includes professional order takers on the phone and Internet, managers who find answers to questions and factory workers and delivery people who take pride in the company's product. All of these factors will impact the business’ relationship with customers.
The goal of most businesses is to grow. Growth comes with increased sales, profits and more customers or the same customers buying more. Marketing is geared toward developing new business as well as satisfying the company’s current customers. Marketing plans and strategies should have as the ultimate goal increased market share and escalating profits. Although staying steady and not losing business can mean a marketing plan is working, only greater business means the marketing plan is successful.
It’s important that marketing be flexible and adjust to conditions. The market strategy should always be reviewed to see what is working, what has potential and what is not working. Marketing tactics that do not produce results should not be considered failures but learning experiences. Market trends and business cycles mean there is an ever-changing economic climate, and marketing plans need to be adjusted to keep pace with current circumstances.
Wesley Tucker is a lifelong southerner whose politics are objective, whose sports are many and whose avocations range from aviation to anthropology to history and all forms of media. With a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, Tucker has been a writer for more than 30 years, with work ranging from news reports to feature stories.