The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing as "the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives."
Sounds like it was written by committee, doesn’t it? Let’s try this instead: “Marketing is the process that companies use to get consumers interested in the products and services they're selling.” That process includes several fundamental steps, including:
- Defining your target audience(s), that is, who is most likely to buy your product or service
- Determining which products and/or services your target audience is likely to buy
- Setting a price for these products and/or services
- Promoting your company and products/services via multiple means, including advertising, PR, digital/social media, etc.
- Selling your product to the customers and prospects you’ve intrigued through your promotion efforts
If, after reading the bullet points above, you’ve found yourself thinking “I need a plan,” you’re spot on. In order for marketing efforts to be successful, even a small business must draw up a well-thought-out marketing plan. That plan should include research and analysis as well as definitive objectives, strategy and tactics. (You can find information on creating a marketing plan here.)