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Marketing: Past, Present and Future

Marketing - A Juggler's Art

Marketing, in more the one way, is like juggling. This strange analogy will become crystal clear if we take a close look at it. Just like the juggler the marketer too has to do these things to thrive in his business: first, he has to hook his audience; gain their attention through several jazzy tricks; and then hold their attention by still more innovative juggling. All this he has to achieve without losing balance, focus or steadfastness in the art, the industry, in the marketer’s case. In short, marketing is all about alluring, attracting and holding a collection of customers for your Company’s welfare.

Marketing
The Purpose Behind: To quote the American Marketing Association’s definition, it is "an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders". If one dilutes all the verbosity and looks at it, marketing means "selling" a product. This is the prime purpose behind any kind of marketing. The "selling" is accelerated with the help of properly chalked out plans called marketing strategies.

Factors that Influence: With "selling" as the ultimate goal, marketing strategies are influenced by two basic factors: first, acquisition of customers; second, retention of the acquired customers. So every other strategy that is laid out will focus on the above two. A Company has to work closely towards achieving these two to attain the desired cutting edge over its competitors. There are also a few other objectives like creating awareness (informational and educational) about the product, brand-building and accelerating sales.

Traditional Marketing: With the world changing at every nanosecond, marketing is also reeling under a whirlwind of change. New modes of marketing like e-marketing and online marketing have evolved. Yet traditional marketing still holds sway with many corporates. Traditional marketing operates based on the following strategies.

The Four Ps - Worship them: The ‘Four Ps’ or the ‘marketing mix’ is a cliché with every marketer. Formulated by Jerome McCarthy, the ‘Four Ps’ refers to the four factors that a marketer has to consider before launching a product or offering a service. The marketing mix comprises of Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. In McCarthy’s assessment, first and foremost comes the Product-its production and management; second, the process of fixing an affordable price; third, the promotion of the product which includes advertising, branding etc and finally fourth, the placement or distribution of the product, its retailing and the process by which it reaches the customer. All these four elements have to be decided and well planned before pitching into any product launch.

Segmentation - Categorize your audience:
In traditional marketing, the market is segmented into many subsets or segments depending on geographic, demographic, psycho graphic and behavioral variables. Each segment is homogenous and responds in a particular way to a particular marketing strategy. Small segments are considered as ‘niche’ markets or ‘specialty’ markets. A product is aimed at a particular segment and is launched only after thorough market research and consumer research on the segment. This assures the marketer that he is not bungee jumping but walking safely and securely on a well-laid road. Hence a product that is not needed by that particular segment is not produced. This deep analysis of the target segment is called ‘depth segmentation’. While the study of the target customer’s behavioral traits, nature, lifestyle etc is called ‘Buyer’s Profile’. With all these the marketer draws a marketing plan, which is fully geared to reach the target consumer.

Other aspects: Traditional marketing, unlike New Marketing, is Company-focused and product-based. It intends only to increase the visibility of the Company and its brand. The message conveyed to the customer is Company-controlled and motivated unlike in new marketing, which is Consumer-focused and attuned to consumer’s interests. The Company becomes the active participant while the consumer fades into the inactive and passive zone. A marketer, adopting the traditional method, will use his product’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) to market it. USP is that unique feature which is exclusive to a particular product from a particular brand. With less number of competitors, USP-marketing is a very novel method. But in today’s world every other brand has all the features offered by its competitor. Hence the glamour of USP-marketing is fading away.

Advertising and Promotion: Marketing plans and strategies finally end in advertising. For it is advertising which exposes the product to the world and places it in a platform for the target customer to view. It gives the product visibility and helps boosts its sales. Advertising, in general, can be classified into two trends: Above-the-line (ATL) and Below-the-line (BTL). ATL covers all the advertising done through media. BTL stands for all the promotions- public relations, sponsorships, merchandising etc. In traditional marketing mostly ATL is practiced. The following media are the ATL modes of advertising: Print Medium: Newspapers, Magazines, Yellow Pages, Posters and Billboards. TV & Radio: All kinds of TV and Radio spots Other Communications: All kinds of mailers and leaflets

Traditional Marketing – Is it valid today?
When the world shifts gears and operates in a faster pace, it is advisable for us also to follow its lead and take up the trend. Traditional Marketing, say many market analysts, fails to work in today’s world. The brand recall is very minimal as the customer is exposed to a variety of brands. Moreover, as every other brand is as good as its competitor, there is no particular reason for the consumer to opt for a particular brand. That’s why today’s marketer aims at 360-degree marketing - an all round marketing strategy covering all the available modes and aimed at constant brand recall. This is where online marketing offer a lot of hope for the marketer as the web reaches out to the prospective buyer in a fastest pace possible. With all these around, the question of whether traditional marketing is valid today rises.

Maybe one can nullify this question by a few well-grounded answers: Traditional Marketing is adjudged as the best method according to a national survey conducted in 2005 in the U.S. jointly by Harris Interactive and Public Relations Society of America. As per the survey, most of the general public, Fortune 1000 businessmen and Congressional Staffers voted the traditional method of marketing as the best method. Though the year 2005 belongs to a dead past now, the statement by the reputed marketer Mr. Wilson will put an end to doubting queries: " Traditional Marketing helps because people still view them".

More Stories By Jeff Blackwell

Jeff Blackwell is the founder of SalesPractice.com a member-driven online sales training community and information center where anyone involved in the profession of sales can identify and access the resources needed to expand their selling skills, knowledge and expertise.

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