Times change, but brands that put customers' needs first are the most successful.
Marketing has gone through many changes over the years, but the philosophy and basic theories largely remain the same. Why? Because human nature is a constant, and the goal of marketing is to appeal to human nature and connect with an audience.
Print advertising and other traditional forms of marketing may have given way to digital marketing, but these basic concepts can help brands get the word out about their products and services while capturing consumers' interest and attention.
The basic philosophy of marketing
When you boil it down, the concept and philosophy of marketing is to cater to customers' needs while serving the needs of the business. If you offer a product for free, that might serve customers' needs, for example, but the organization will not be able to stay in business. On the other hand, pricing the product higher than what your customers are willing to pay will ultimately lead to the same result. That might seem simplistic, but many businesses don't survive simply because they lose sight of customer needs while serving their own vision.
Marketers need to always remember why people choose their product or service. An organization needs to have a unique selling proposition (USP) and have a deep understanding of who their customer base is and what they want. Successful marketing also requires that brands connect with customers on an emotional level through tactics like storytelling.
Strategies marketers can use
So if the basic concept of marketing is to put the customer's needs first, what are the strategies companies can use to market their products effectively? Fortunately, the multitude of digital tools that are now available allow marketers to reach their customers on the platforms they already use.
From professional networks like LinkedIn to just-for-fun platforms like Snapchat, a huge percentage of the population now uses social media. Marketers can use social media to informally connect with an audience, share stories and get more eyes on their content.
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Today, email marketing is one of the best ways to get in front of potential customers directly. Although spam filters can make it more difficult to reach consumers' inboxes, those that get through can have a powerful effect and create a massive return on investment. It's easy to personalize email messages through automation software, making email marketing a great option for businesses of every size.
Collecting email addresses ethically takes some work. Many marketers use a lead magnet, a free resource like a short e-book or a checklist that's given in exchange for a person's email address.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is still a cornerstone of digital marketing strategy, but it's constantly evolving as search engine developers adjust their algorithms to filter out irrelevant content. By producing valuable, optimized content, companies can get the right kind of attention from search engines, driving up organic traffic.
Different kinds of content
Content marketing is huge now, and creating a mix of content that tells a story is key. Videos, blog posts, podcasts, interactive content – the possibilities are endless.
Create measurable goals
Marketing is like any other aspect of business – it's most successful when goals are set and measured along the way. This helps ensure that the money put into marketing is well spent and allows marketers to create more focused strategies. It's not just enough to have the goal of "more sales." It's also important to know how many more sales and in what time frame. This helps keep everyone on track and constantly moving forward.
Use public figures to gain the attention of your target audience
One type of marketing that never goes out of style is word of mouth. People are more likely to buy something when it's offered by someone they trust, like a friend, family member or even a celebrity or athlete. Brands can leverage the social power of public figures to get the attention of their target audience – a tactic called influencer marketing. These kinds of partnerships can pay off big – Nike's Jordan Brand pulled in around $2.8 billion in 2015.
Trusting brands to deliver
Marketing sends a message to consumers, and that message always includes a promise of some sort, implied or explicit. When marketing is successful, brands deliver on that promise and customers leave happy. That kind of trust takes a long time to build, but brands that put customers' needs first will ultimately be the most successful.