Eleven key marketing terms every small business owner should know

This is a good-news story. The digital age may have made things more complicated for marketers by giving consumers unprecedented choice, information and power but it provides the same opportunities for marketers with disparate markets and potential customers more readily accessible than they have ever been.

So why doesn’t it feel like marketing is getting easier? Well there is a lot going on. Developing a brand and reaching customers now takes more than a shop front and a print advertisement. Digital marketing is used alongside, or even instead of, traditional marketing channels as a matter of course. You should know that email, social media and search engine optimisation are now standard marketing tools.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”. So, if you have customers you are marketing, if you want more customers then you should market better – develop a marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy should ensure you deliver a coherent message across all channels, generating engagement with customers and driving sales.

The Four P's

The four P’s’ of marketing may have been around since the 1950’s, when first explored by Neil Borden, emeritus professor at the Harvard Business School, but they are still the best foundation for your marketing strategy so here they are…

Product: What you’re selling, whether that’s goods or services. Consider every aspect – function, branding, packaging, quality, design – of you’re offering.

Price: The cost, and so potential value, taking account of offers or any other variable pricing strategies.

Place: The distribution, or placement of your product – how it reaches the customer – and the logistics there of.

Promotion: Communication of your marketing message including public relations (PR) and advertising.

These four considerations should be centred on your target market, creating perceived value and purchase desire in customers. The basic marketing mix can be used as a template for a company’s value proposition and marketing strategy.

Like Sesame Street, modern marketing is not brought to you by just one letter. Having got to grips with P, it’s time to meet the four C’s, as introduced by R. F. Lauterborn in the 90’s. While the four P’s are about transaction, Lauterborn’s four C’s are more focussed on communication and customer engagement, which makes sense as marketers seek to tempt the often jaded palates of modern consumers. As you can see below the core areas of interest are the same but the perspective is different.

Client: customer trumps product so it pays to start by finding the consumer, discovering what they want and providing it to them.

Cost: true cost is not as simple as the price of your product, ask what will the cost of purchase be in time and effort and if that still represents value?

Convenience: millennial consumers can run their lives without crawling out from under the duvet but they are still looking for a good purchase experience, consider how and where your customer wants to purchase.

Communication: the facility for a dialogue with your customer fosters an inclusive and club feel helping consumers to buy-in to a brand.

One of the secrets to marketing successfully is harnessing the new tools at your disposal, so once you are conformable with the 4 C's of modern marketing ensure you're making the most of the following:

Social Media: provides a low cost, or even free, way to connect with consumers, build your brand and share information.

Content Marketing: creating great content and using it to engage customers and enhance brand credibility.

SEO: drive that Google ranking higher with effective search engine optimisation and your business will be at the top of more consumer’s searches.

Email Marketing: an email marketing campaign can be personal, targeted and consistently proves to be among the most effective ways of guiding potential customers through the sales funnel.

Targeted and effective marketing has never been more accessible to businesses of all sizes, which only makes it more important that your company is not the only one getting left behind the curve. The excitement of really connecting with customers through effective marketing will make all your effort worthwhile, and most importantly boost the bottom line.