Marketing Basics: The 101 Guide to Everything You Need to Know by @Ben_CoSchedule via @CoScheduleClick To Tweet
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What is Marketing?In simplest terms, marketing is the act of driving profitable customer action. It spans the full scope of strategies and tactics organizations use to position products and services in the marketplace, and motivate target audiences to make a purchase.
Understanding the Marketing Mix and the 4 P’s of MarketingFor all its complexity, at its core, marketing revolves around four things: product, price, promotion, and place. Tactics and channels change, but these are the concepts everything else revolves around, and they’re principles that never change. Some models expand these basic principles to 7 P's, or another variation. But, for your purposes, these four should be sufficient for developing an understanding of how marketing works.
ProductThis is what a company sells, whether that means a physical good, or a service (such as consulting, a subscription, or something else). From a marketing perspective, the following would need to be determined:
- How many different product variations or lines should be sold? For example, a car manufacturer might strategize on which vehicle categories to build (such as family cars, SUVs, crossovers, or pickup trucks).
- How should they be packaged or presented? To make another example, if a company made replacement car floor mats, should they come in a box? A bag? Something else?
- How will it be serviced? This could include warranties, handling returns, and so forth.
Marketing works best when marketing teams communicate with product teams.Click To Tweet
PriceThis is just “how much stuff costs,” right? Well, sure. But there’s more to it than that.
Price means more than just what stuff costs.Click To Tweet
- What is the market rate per unit of a product? This requires some market analysis and competitive research to determine what’s a fair price for a product, given its cost to produce, and what people are willing to pay.
- How should discounts be timed and applied? Should the product be put on sale at certain times of year?
- Does it make sense to give customers options for payments? A car dealership might offer financing options, rather than expecting people to pay the full price up front.
PromotionIf a product launches but no one cares, does it even exist? Well, yeah, technically it does, but it’s just taking up space if no one’s buying it. Once a product is out there, it needs to be promoted so people know it exists.
- Which channels will be used to promote the product? This includes online and offline channels.
- Where will it be promoted? Online? Offline? In stores? At events?
- What message needs to be communicated? What copy and verbiage will tell audiences what the product is all about, and encourage them to buy it?
PlaceThe right product needs to be in the right place for people to find it and buy it.
- Where is the product distributed? Online? Offline?
- Will specific locations get the product? For example, if you sell cold weather clothing, you might not distribute as much to Florida and you might in Minnesota.
10 Key Areas of Modern Marketing to UnderstandSpend a little bit of time researching marketing online and you’ll find references to all different areas of marketing. Here are some that are most likely to be relevant to your work.
Content MarketingThe hype around content has been building steadily for years, and with good reason: people want to be helped and informed more than they want to be sold to and interrupted. The main idea behind content marketing is creating content that helps inform your audience and solve their problems. This achieves a few important goals:
- Building an audience.
- Establishing authority.
- Driving sales.
Email MarketingWhen it comes to driving conversions, it’s tough to beat the return on investment of email marketing. Different studies cite different figures, but it’s generally accepted that it drives around 3,800% to 4,200% ROI (meaning that for every dollar spent, it produces $38 to $42 in revenue).
Social Media MarketingOrganic reach on popular social networks is declining on popular platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but social media marketing is far from dead. It’s effective for building brand awareness, developing community, and getting your content and products in front of new people.
Online Video MarketingDid you know that over 400 hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube every minute? That’s incredible. So is the fact that it’s the world’s second largest search engine (second only to Google, which owns YouTube, and even bigger than Bing and Yahoo combined). It’s not the only video platform out there for marketers to know about, either. Wistia is practically the industry-standard for hosting embeddable web video, and Vimeo is a fantastic place for creatives. Plus, social video on Facebook (and to some extent, Twitter as well) is also becoming increasingly important.
Advertising and Pay-Per-ClickHave you ever seen those ads at the top of search results? Those are pay-per-click (PPC) ads. PPC advertising offers marketers excellent opportunity to sell products directly to searchers. It’s also great because it makes it possible to see exactly how much you’re spending vs. how much revenue your advertising efforts are generating.
Search Engine OptimizationFew, if any, tactics or channels drive more traffic on average than search engine optimization.
Few digital marketing tactics drive more traffic than search engine optimization.Click To Tweet
Public RelationsEven in an era packed with new and flashy channels and tactics, good old-fashioned relationship-building remains essential for effective marketing. PR is all about managing perceptions and relationships, ensuring people think positively about your brand.
Influencer MarketingWhy talk up your products yourself when you can have trusted folks promote them for you?
Why talk up your products yourself when you can have trusted folks promote them for you?Click To Tweet
Developing a Marketing StrategyMarketing can be boiled down to the following:
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What do you want them to do?
- How will you encourage them to take that action?
- How will you measure marketing’s impact on influencing that action?
Getting to Know Your AudienceFirst things first, companies exist to serve customers. Simple enough, right? Well, figuring out exactly who those customers are, and what problems they need solved, is easier said than done.
Figuring Out What You Want Them to DoOnce you’ve determined who you need to reach, the next step is figuring out what’s required to move them toward a sale. For some companies, this is simple: convincing customers to grab a product and buy it at the store. But, there may be actions you drive them toward before reaching that step (such as getting onto a mailing list or becoming a social media follower). For others (for example, service-based companies), you might want to get leads (potential customers) to place a phone call for a demo or a consultation before they commit to purchasing.
Understanding the Marketing FunnelWhen determining actions you want your audience to take, it’s useful to understand how the marketing funnel works. Funnels help illustrate where customers are at in the buying process, from being unaware of a product (or having a problem), to researching different options, down to making an actual purchase. Here’s a simple illustration: While there are different ways to illustrate funnels, they typically map out customer buying stages to the following phases:
- Top of Funnel (TOFU): The customer is unaware of a product or company.
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): The customer is actively researching products.
- Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): The customer is ready to buy.
Determining Your TacticsPart of an effective strategy is narrowing which tactics you’ll implement to achieve your goals. When you’re just starting out, this can seem daunting. There are always more thing you can do, than what you actually have time to do well. So, where do you start? According to a CoSchedule survey of 1,500+ marketers, here were their most popular content types: Notice that blogging, social media, and email marketing round up the top three. For most companies doing content marketing, those are the three most obvious places to start. But, determining which tactics may work best for you may be another story. Maybe you’re doing marketing, but not content marketing specifically. Maybe you’re in an industry or role where marketing means doing things like securing partnerships, hosting events, or doing “traditional” marketing (like producing print collateral). Consider following this process:
- Know your audience. Who are you trying to reach?
- Figure out where those people hang out. Where can you reach those people?
- Think on which tactics and channels could reach those people, in those places. Which marketing activities could be used to reach the right people, in the right places, at the right time?
Nailing the ExecutionOnce the strategy is in place, it’s time to put it into action.
Once marketing strategy is in place, it’s time to put it into action.Click To Tweet
- Having the right skills. Once you know what to do, you need to know how to do it.
- Having the right staff. Putting the right people in the right place is key to success.
- Having the right tools. A professional always uses the best available solution to tackle a given task or problem.
What Are Some Common Marketing Skills?The skills a marketer needs depend on their role. Some basics that apply to lots of different types of roles include:
- Verbal communication. Marketing is all about communication. Being able to express your ideas clearly is key.
- Writing. You’ll be doing a lot of writing, whether creating content, or emails to stakeholders.
- Research. The more granular, often the better.
- Analytics. Understanding how to spot trends in data is essential.
How Are Marketing Departments Usually Structured?The way teams are built depends on the company’s size, industry, budget, and a lot of other factors. Some companies have teams of one, while others might span multiple marketing teams across multiple departments or business units.
How Are Marketing Tool Stacks Typically Built?The tools those teams use to execute their work might vary depending on tactics and personnel. Some common tools practitioners use include:
- Project management tools: Needed to keep teams organized and projects on track.
- Social media scheduling tools: Because manually scheduling posts at scale is nearly impossible.
- Editorial and marketing calendars: Used to set deadlines and map publish dates.
- Email marketing platforms: Important for managing email lists and delivering newsletters.
- Marketing management platforms: Tools like CoSchedule, which consolidate several of the tool categories listed above, while integrating with other popular tools.
- Analytics tools: Used to measure performance.
- SEO tools: To monitor keyword rankings, do competitive research, track incoming backlinks, conduct keyword research, and more.
- Marketing automation tools: Used to automate processes, such as email flows.
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software: Powerful platforms used to store customer data and maintain relationships with consumers.
Understanding Measurement and AnalyticsIf you can’t measure the impact of your marketing activities, then you may as well not be doing anything at all. Every action should always be connected to specific metrics, in service of achieving a specific goal.
Additional Learning ResourcesOne of the best things about marketing is you’re never done learning. And in effort to support your learning, CoSchedule (and a lot of other great companies) are committed to helping you develop your knowledge and skills.
- Marketing Blogs: A Shortlist of the Top 11 Thought Leaders To Follow An ideal list of the best marketing blogs
- Actionable Marketing Institute: Find exclusive educational content and level up your skills.
- CoSchedule Blog: Enjoy this post? You’ll find tons more here (plus fresh content each week).
- Actionable Marketing Podcast: Features new interviews each week with leading marketing experts.
- The 10X Marketing Formula: Comprehensive book from CoSchedule co-founder and CEO Garrett Moon.
Make learning marketing easy with this guide + tons of extra resourcesClick To Tweet
That’s a WrapThere’s a lot of information to process in this post. But, now that you’ve covered most of what you’ll need to know as a marketing practitioner (both on the surface level, and with links to deeper reads on tons of sub-topics), you’re now better prepared than ever to continue your marketing education and level up your career. Is there anything we missed? Let us know below.
Getting started learning about #marketing? Here's the ultimate all-in-one resource you need.Click To Tweet