The definition of marketing has changed over time. Prior to 1990 the meaning of marketing was much broader, including such non-market activities as advertising, sales, public relations, product development, research and development, branding, consumer behavior, and transactional channels. Marketing was not limited to selling products and services, as in modern practices.
Today marketing professionals refer to a much narrower field. It has become increasingly important for marketers to define and measure their processes, products, services, brand, or company. Marketing professionals now also need to conduct market research and conduct campaigns in order to increase the reach of new ideas, products, or services to the market. Marketing is becoming a strategic and comprehensive discipline to be applied in the context of the diverse aspects of organizational culture, values, and needs, as well as the changing customer needs and buying preferences. Marketing is a process, a tool, and an art that requires specific skill sets, knowledge, and disciplines to bring the best marketing planning results to the consumer, business entity, or marketer.
The key elements involved in a marketing campaign are research, development, testing, marketing, monitoring, and evaluation. All of these activities need to be integrated to create a successful marketing program. Marketing professionals must also use ethical practices and strategies when managing consumer perceptions of the products, services, and the brand. A major focus in marketing today is social media marketing. Social media marketing, also known as SMM, uses online and offline tools and forms of communication to advertise products and services, solicit feedback, receive and track user activity, solicit comments, recommendations, and interact with potential and current customers. Social media marketing can be used for traditional marketing (i.e., advertising and promoting through mass media such as newspapers, television, radio, etc.)
There are four components to this marketing process: discovery, context, execution, and conclusion. Discovery includes collecting data, analyzing data, formulating an advertising strategy based on the data, evaluating the strategy and implementing it, monitoring the results of the advertising campaign to determine whether it was successful or not, and finally analyzing the results of the advertising effort to determine whether it achieved its goal. Context encompasses creating a need, developing a product or service to fill the need, advertising the product or service, gathering customers’ responses to the product or service, analyzing customer behavior after the advertising campaign and making any corrective changes if needed, collecting and analyzing customer data to determine which forms of social media were used most and which were least effective, determining what types of advertising were most effective, analyzing market behavior once the advertising campaign is over to determine whether the marketer’s message was successfully communicated to the audience, evaluating marketing techniques and tools for tracking the success of the marketing process and measuring the effectiveness of the marketing campaign.
As mentioned earlier, the marketing process includes many elements and each of these elements has its own importance. Understanding each of the four Ps would help marketers more fully understand the importance of each element of the marketing process. For example, the importance of context would be important in marketing because without knowing how consumers are thinking about and choosing their options, marketers will have a difficult time developing a marketing message and plan that will be appealing to consumers. Likewise, understanding the importance of the discovery is critical because without discovering what consumers need and why they are choosing one option over another, a marketing message cannot be developed that will reach the target audience. Finally, measuring results of the advertising process is vital because this will help marketers determine whether the marketing effort was a success or not and whether the marketing strategy should be repeated or adjusted.
It takes time and considerable resources to design and execute successful marketing strategies and campaigns. However, with the help of the various social media marketing tools available today, the process of marketing can be completed faster and more effectively. By incorporating the various tools available today into the overall marketing mix, marketers can easily make their businesses more visible to their target audience and generate higher quality leads. Therefore, by implementing these methods of social media marketing, marketers can ensure that their businesses are reaching the right consumers at the right time and in the right way.