Marketing is defined by the AMA as "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." It can also be defined for business to consumer marketing as "the process by which companies create value for customers.
You must find out what your customers want before deciding on the product or service that you will offer. If you understand what is a marketing plan you will improve your success with customer relationship managment.
Marketing involves so much more than advertising. Effective marketing focuses on the customer. The purpose of any successful marketing campaign is to;
understand the needs,wants and buying motives of your potential customers
provide a product or service to suit those needs
determine that you can do so profitably
Market research is the most important element of the marketing process and forms the basis of your marketing plan. Market research is your starting point. All other decisions are based on the information revealed by your market research. Market research is a vital component of formulating your business plan.
It's simple! You just need to create a product that a particularly group of people want, put it on sale some place that those same people visit regularly, and price it at a level which matches the value they feel they get out of it; and do all that at a time they want to buy. Then you've got it made!
Under the marketing concept, the firm must find a way to discover unfulfilled customer needs and bring to market products that satisfy those needs. The process of doing so can be modeled in a sequence of steps: the situation is analyzed to identify opportunities, the strategy is formulated for a value proposition, tactical decisions are made, the plan is implemented and the results are monitored.
A thorough analysis of the situation in which the firm finds itself serves as the basis for identifying opportunities to satisfy unfulfilled customer needs. In addition to identifying the customer needs, the firm must understand its own capabilities and the environment in which it is operating.
Once the best opportunity to satisfy unfulfilled customer needs is identified, a strategic plan for pursuing the opportunity can be developed. Market research will provide specific market information that will permit the firm to select the target market segment and optimally position the offering within that segment. The result is a value proposition to the target market. The marketing strategy then involves:
Marketing Mix Decisions
Detailed tactical decisions then are made for the controllable parameters of the marketing mix. The action items include:
Product development - specifying, designing, and producing the first units of the product.
Promotional campaign development
Implementation and Control
At this point in the process, the marketing plan has been developed and the product has been launched. Given that few environments are static, the results of the marketing effort should be monitored closely.
As a philosophy, marketing is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction. Marketing differs from selling because (in the words of Harvard Business School's emeritus professor of marketing Theodore C. Levitt) "Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs."
The plan should cover one year. For small companies, this is often the best way to think about marketing. Things change, people leave, markets evolve, customers come and go. Later on we suggest creating a section of your plan that addresses the medium-term future--two to four years down the road. But the bulk of your plan should focus on the coming year.
You should allow yourself a couple of months to write the plan, even if it's only a few pages long. Developing the plan is the "heavy lifting" of marketing. While executing the plan has its challenges, deciding what to do and how to do it is marketing's greatest challenge. Most marketing plans kick off with the first of the year or with the opening of your fiscal year if it's different.
You can't do a marketing plan without getting many people involved. No matter what your size, get feedback from all parts of your company: finance, manufacturing, personnel, supply and so on--in addition to marketing itself. This is especially important because it will take all aspects of your company to make your marketing plan work. Your key people can provide realistic input on what's achievable and how your goals can be reached, and they can share any insights they have on any potential, as-yet-unrealized marketing opportunities, adding another dimension to your plan. If you're essentially a one-person management operation, you'll have to wear all your hats at one time--but at least the meetings will be short!