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The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 28, 2011 • Issue 11:02:02

Marketing basics

By Nicholas Cucci
Network Merchants Inc.

It takes a basic understanding of human behavior to succeed at marketing. People buy things to meet their needs or to satisfy their wants and desires. When marketing a product or service, don't focus on what your product has to offer; concentrate on what will motivate your audience to buy what you have to sell.

The importance of a product or service for buyers is how it enhances the way they feel, look or act. People do not buy a perfume's aroma; they buy its romance.

Treadmills don't sell because of new features but because customers want a healthier (and often thinner) look. This is why, when planning your marketing campaign, you must keep broad, motivational reasons in mind.

Customer satisfaction

Most people mistakenly identify marketing with selling and promotion. While selling and promotion are aspects of marketing, they are not the most important parts. In his book Principles of Marketing, Philip Kotler stated, "If the marketer does a good job of identifying consumer needs, developing appropriate products, and pricing, distribu-ting, and promoting them effectively, these goods will sell very easily."

The ultimate goal of marketing is to make selling nonessential and to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him or her and sells itself.

An underlying concept of marketing is trying to satisfy a customer's needs, wants and demands. Needs are plentiful. Basic human needs include food, clothing, warmth, safety and belonging. Wants are simply needs shaped by culture and the individual. Demands are the wants of a consumer when backed by the ability to pay for that want.

Thinking of recent television commercials and even print advertisements for cars, it seems like the auto industry is aiming to reach a younger crowd with slogans like, "We speak car." The hype in that industry right now is gas mileage because of record high gas prices.

Advertising angles

One way to create an effective ad campaign is to go with a single benefit methodology. This will directly link your brand to a single benefit. A great example is hair spray: if your hair spray keeps your hair firmer longer, tell the world.

There are always two angles to take with advertising: characterization and personification. Characterization involves creating a character that expresses the product's benefits or personality. The narrative methodology involves developing a story with episodes describing a problem and its solution or outcome.

Many forces affect the marketing environment: competition, laws and regulations, economic and social conditions, and culture. These forces are dramatic and difficult to predict. Any of them can create threats, as well as opportunities for your business.

Once you have created your advertisement check its effectiveness by asking whether it:

  • States a single, straightforward message
  • Ensures that the message is clearly evident
  • Evokes a specific emotion relating to your product or service
  • Is presented in a space where it will be noticed

Marketing savvy

When creating your marketing campaign, keep the four P's of marketing in mind: product, price, place and promotion. Product is what you are offering to your target market, be it a product or service. Price is the amount you will charge for your product to make sure it's competitive. Place is the channels your product will go through to reach customers. Promotion is how you will raise awareness in your target market, for example, print advertisements, press releases and blog posts.

Your plan's short- and long-term projections should describe immediate and future results desired and how you intend to achieve them, including expected, related revenues and expenses. At the end, a conclusion should summarize the contents of the plan.

Peter Drucker once said, "There are only two functions of a business: marketing and innovation." I truly believe the point he was trying to make was the importance of marketing. end of article

Nicholas Cucci is the Director of Marketing for Network Merchants Inc. He is a graduate of Benedictine University and a licensed Certified Fraud Examiner. Prior to joining NMI, he worked in the payment processing division for a Fortune 500 company and has advised several large retailers on credit card fraud protection, screening and risk assessment. Nicholas can be reached at ncucci@nmi.com or 800-617-4850.

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