By Jeffrey Frohwein
Jeffrey Frohwein is an Adjunct Professor in Midland University’s MBA Program with 37 Years of Marketing Experience.
If you have any entrepreneurial aspirations, or a desire to add extra value to your current organization, then you should consider taking Midland University’s Marketing Management course because marketing is at the heart of everything.
Anyone in the business world can have a flawless product, but if you don’t have a product that can sell in the marketplace and your target market chooses to go with the competition, then none of the rest of it is going to matter.
That’s why marketing is at the heart and even the brain of all businesses.
How has Marketing Changed Over the Years?
I think the biggest change is in promotions and in how the internet and social media have altered the ability to target very specific customers and target markets.
In fact, these new marketing tools have changed the way that the consumer market digests information, interacts with companies and products, and how they make decisions.
That being said, the overall process of marketing has stayed pretty much the same, but the two things that have changed drastically is where and how people consume and get their information.
For example, in my early career I would use the Yellow Pages to contact a company to get my car work done. Now, I go to the internet and search for companies there.
It’s not that the need for it has gone away, but how it gets from point A to point B (the mechanics of that) has drastically changed.
How has Big Data and Analytics Impacted the Marketing Field?
Big data is the gathering, analyzing, and use of massive amounts of digital information that is utilized to improve a businesses marketing strategy. Big data allows marketers to get a 360-degree view of their audiences which follows the concept of “know your customer” (KYC).
Big data and analytics have impacted the marketing field immensely because it’s become way more quantifiable, as far as who you are speaking to, or attempting to speak to and how they react to what you say, or what you transmit to them.
It’s a two-way street because of the way media works on the internet and the ability to have simultaneous dialogue. But there’s a reason it’s called Big Data and that is because there’s so much of it. It’s behavioral in nature and artificial intelligence figures into that along with machine learning.
I wouldn’t call it a brave new world, necessarily, but it sure does marry information technology and marketing together.
I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon because marketing lives on information and data and understanding where the market and the target market is headed which increases a marketers ability to predict behavior.
How Does That Data Affect Marketers?
It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time because the volume of data means that a marketer has to decide, “do I analyze all of it,” or “is all that relevant?”
The answer is probably not.
Marketers must also ask, what is our competition doing? Do they consider it relevant? If yes, then it becomes a real chess match between competitors over time.
So, no matter how much, or how well you think you understand the target market the competition is going to change that equation quickly.
Overall, big data has created a very dynamic environment and it’s not going anywhere soon.
Should Marketers Change Their Strategy During this Pandemic?
As the world continues to change and society in general is being altered by the ongoing pandemic and societal issues, all the markets are being upset which can make it difficult to be in the business of selling products and other services.
My advice to marketers would be to follow these steps to maintain a successful marketing strategy:
Step 1: Be Sensitive.
Being sensitive to the market fields during stressful times is an important element of the marketing field. It requires a marketer to drill down to understand what’s driving the change and how to help their customers.
Step 2: Understand Behavior.
In times like these it’s extremely important to understand behaviors and adjust accordingly. In other words, what can I say as a marketer to reduce the anxiety of a market?
Step 3: Explore Other Avenues.
As an organization, you might not be able to have a retail brick and mortar store open right now. But there may be other avenues of distribution that may be available to you.
For example, UPS and FedEx are so busy that they can’t see straight because people are switching the manner in which they purchase products. I don’t know if it’ll change the way we approach marketing forever, but it’s certainly veered into the digital direction.
The Most Important Element of Marketing
I say it a million times – the number one element to marketing is to know your target market. Ask yourself: Who’s my target market? What do they like? What don’t they like?
Whatever decisions that you make in an organization at the end of the meeting should be, “what’s our market going to think?” Stay focused on why you are there and what value your product brings to that market.
What Advice Would You Give to Marketers Looking to Differentiate Themselves?
As a marketer, you may try to not think of yourself as a product, but I think the better way to think about everybody as a bundle of features and benefits.
For example, there are skills, there are aptitudes, there’s knowledge, there’s experience that we have and over time, we build on that. At least if we’re mindful of things.
As marketers, you need to consider your brand and how you represent that brand and its products.
A brand, whether it’s a product, or a person, is a reputation, such as how people experience a can of soda pop, for example, good, bad, or otherwise forces our audience to ask: “was this what they told me it was going to be?”
My advice for all marketers is to focus on the “promise” you make to your audience. Ask yourself: am I meeting those expectations?