University & Degrees

Marketing fundamentals

4 mins
January 18, 2022
So you want to know more about marketing? Well, you’ve come to the right place. First of all, let’s start with the basics.

What is marketing?

Marketing is the process of creating, communicating and delivering offerings that have value for customers, clients and stakeholders (people with a vested interest in how well the product performs).The overall purpose of marketing is to generate revenue for the company. Marketing professionals and teams achieve this by executing carefully planned, strategic activities that drive traffic, qualified leads and sales in collaboration with their sales team. Marketing is a fast-paced and exciting industry.

What is digital marketing?

Now we know what marketing is, what is digital marketing? Simply put, digital marketing refers to any marketing initiative that uses online media and the internet. Digital marketing initiatives distribute brand messages through search engines, social media, apps, email and websites. Today, digital marketing is about reaching a customer on a number of different channels. This may sound odd, but most of us have got the 'hey, did you forget something?' email when we put something in our basket but didn't go to checkout, or have seen an ad on a social media page for the same product we just put in our basket. Marketing teams can usually track the role each of these messages or channels played in reaching their ultimate goal, a sale. Digital marketing campaigns employ some of these tactics to maximise success and make the sale:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) - the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) - a digital marketing strategy used to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs). Search engine marketing is also referred to as paid search or pay per click (PPC).
  • Social media marketing - this involves creating and sharing content on social media to achieve marketing and branding goals.
  • Email direct marketing - this refers to an email campaign sent directly to subscribers. It's a form of marketing that establishes a relationship between the brand and the customer.
  • Content marketing - a marketing technique that aims to create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience to drive sales.
  • Influencer marketing - a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers.
  • E-commerce marketing - this involves using promotional tactics to drive traffic to your online store, converting that traffic into paying customers and retaining these customers post-purchase.

This is not an exhaustive list - but it will give you a good start in understanding digital marketing!

What is market research?

Market research is a systematic process of collecting, analysing and interpreting information. The information could be about a target market, consumers, competitors and the industry as a whole. This is the foundation of any successful company. The research has a number of different purposes – from identifying a new market to launching a new business.

Why do market research?

Market research helps companies make well-informed decisions, and it can help streamline resources into the ideas and projects with the most potential. Businesses at different stages of growth carry out market research for different reasons. These could be:

  • To keep tabs on marketing trends and develop strategies for how to stay ahead and adapt to changing conditions.
  • To determine how, when and where a product should enter the market.
  • To test the demand for new products or features.

What is market segmentation?

Market segmentation is all about dividing your target market into groups. Marketers tend to divide their market into groups based on demographics (age, gender, race, income), geography, needs/priorities/common interests and finally, their beliefs and behavioural traits. By leveraging this data, marketers can create campaigns that appeal to each specific group, which may lead to more people buying the product/service.

Why use market segmentation?

Most products have a pretty clear target market; an example of this could be Maserati car parts (their target market are garages that specialise in fixing Maserati cars). However, other products have a whole range of potential customers. Take phone cases, for example. Not everyone that has a phone wants a phone case, but many will - they could be young, old, man or woman. If you worked at a phone case manufacturer, you wouldn’t use the same tactic to sell to everyone; instead, you would segment your market. For example, you might choose to segment by people who enjoy being outdoors, own an iPhone and have a higher income. You could then choose to promote iPhone cases that are extra strong and slightly more expensive (as you know these customers can afford it!) to that market segment.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing tactic where a retailer (usually an online retailer) rewards an affiliate with a commission for each customer referred via the affiliate's work. The affiliate only gets paid when the promotion results in a transaction by a consumer. There are typically three parties involved in affiliate marketing:

  • Affiliates: The promoters of the product
  • Retailer: The creators and owners of the product
  • Consumers: The end-users of the product

Why use affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a great tool, as it allows a brand to diversify how they promote their product without the headache of being in charge of multiple campaigns. Let’s use an example: a popular fashion brand decides to use influencers to promote its new eco-friendly line. You as a consumer might see the influencer posting about the product and might use their discount code or link to buy the product. The fashion brand will then pay the influencer for selling the product to you on their behalf; this is affiliate marketing.

How to get into marketing

Now you’ve got some of the fundamentals down, do you think you’ve got what it takes to complete our Marketing virtual work experience programme? Marketing is a growing industry, so level up your digital skills today and start gaining that all-important work experience!

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