Marketing is a term that appears to be synonymous with advertising. While one fits within the remit of the other, they are not one and the same, and both are essential if you want a business to be successful and achieve the goals outlined in your business strategy. It stands to reason, then, that an integral aspect of building a thriving business is to not only understand the difference between the two, but to also ensure both are fully incorporated into your business.
In the simplest of terms, marketing encompasses the myriad ways in which a business plans, implements, and analyses their communications and product/service offerings to consumers for sales purposes. Advertising, on the other hand, is a method of drawing the attention of the general public to a particular product or service in a way that’s intended to pique the interest of both existing and potential consumers.
So, if advertising is just one element of marketing, what other ways are there are of optimizing your marketing techniques to guarantee success?
Analyze the Competition
An important aspect of your marketing strategy should be to pay close attention to the marketing techniques of businesses within your specific area and evaluate the scope of their success – not to mimic their choice of techniques, but to learn from their mistakes and carve your own unique path that will differentiate your business and set you apart from the crowd.
Avoiding this step could very well prove fatal to your business, as the vast majority of businesses are now engaging in competitive analysis – even if it’s just surface-level analysis of the products/services available.
However, the deeper the analysis, the more you are able to set yourself apart from your competitors and use your differences to engage potential customers. A couple of ways that you can give yourself a competitive edge is to use online tools to run a competitive link analysis, make note of the brand terms used by businesses with a similar remit to yours, and look into actively engaging with current customers to gain an understanding of their perceptions of your business.
Look at All Avenues Available
Social media and new online platforms have virtually taken over the internet, dominating the marketing game heavily and quickly becoming the fastest way of engaging potential customers and spreading the word about your business.
One sure-fire way of rendering your business obsolete in this increasingly fast-paced world is to ignore the volume of different platforms upon which to promote your business, and not keeping abreast of each new iteration of social media that reaches the mainstream. Depending on your key demographic, you could be missing out on a vital share of your audience by ignoring these new platforms and sticking solely with the big-hitters, particularly if your business and audience are especially niche.
The likelihood is that ignoring the emergence of new platforms in favor of existing ones – regardless of how successful they’ve proven in the past – is going to lead to your business becoming stagnant. It’s therefore crucial that you invest considerable time and effort into researching each and every platform available to you, and the concentration of existing and potential customers that utilize that platform regularly.
You may find that you’re unsuccessful with some of these new platforms, but experimentation helps provide you with valuable information that indicates your next steps. The best way of analyzing the success of these experiments is to continually track your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which will reveal if you need to make changes to your existing strategy and, if so, what changes are required.
OLAP – What Is It and How Is It Useful?
If you’re well-versed in the marketing world, you may very well have heard of online analytical processing – otherwise referred to as OLAP – and some knowledge of how it works. If not, the following article is perfect for you, as it essentially acts as a detailed introductory class – OLAP 101: What It Is And How To Apply It To Your Marketing.
In short, incorporating OLAP (or online analytical processing) helps you to devise a marketing strategy that is underpinned by informative data, speeding up the market research and analysis process to elucidate your overall strategy. Such software can prove cost-effective while also saving you time, especially compared with traditional data mining techniques.
Other benefits of using OLAP in your marketing are that it organizes and analyzes a variety of data so that it is available via a single source – increasing your application of data-driven marketing techniques – while also aiding the budgeting, financial modeling, and forecasting of your business.
Having an effective marketing strategy can be the difference between success and failure, which is why it’s important to always stay one step ahead and continually improve and update your marketing techniques. Utilizing software specifically designed for this purpose, and that streamlines the entire process, can be exactly what you need to get ahead without taking a large financial hit. Regardless, however you choose to research, analyze, and update your marketing techniques should be unique to your business – remember to stay true to your original values while also being open-minded, and you will no doubt continue to achieve success.