- Marketing starts before the product is developed and continues throughout the life of the product.
- Oftentimes, marketing suffers because in almost all cases emphasis is put on sales and staff are given sales targets and rarely marketing targets.
- Most of the firms that are experiencing challenges with sales have their root in poor marketing.
If there is one concept that is grossly misunderstood in business, it is marketing. Most people confuse, and in application, juggle marketing with sales.
Essentially, marketing is completely different from sales although the two are closely related.
In simple terms marketing focuses on identifying customer needs with a view of producing a product that will interest them and meet their needs. Sales' main focus is to create awareness and get the customer to buy and pay for the product.
Thus marketing ought to be the first step in business success. It starts before the product is developed and continues throughout the life of the product because it must continually respond to customer changing needs.
Sales start only after the product has been developed and henceforth goes hand in hand with marketing, forming a strong symbiotic relationship.
It is due to this symbiotic relationship that most small firms put the two under one administration. However, the downside of it is that marketing suffers because in almost all the cases emphasis is put on sales and staff are given sales targets and rarely marketing targets. When marketing, on whose base should the foundation of sales be laid, is weak it becomes hard to sell.
When good marketing has been done from the start, the selling process becomes smooth because you are selling what the customer needs and are ready for it. The work of selling is reduced to the creation of awareness, promotion and customer care for retention purposes.
Most of the firms that are experiencing challenges with sales have their root in poor marketing. When you have not done good marketing before the product is produced or procured, you may find yourself spending a lot of time and money looking for customers and convincing them to buy. This is both time-consuming and expensive.
It is far much cheaper and profitable to do your homework well to establish what products customers need, how they need it and what price they are willing to pay for it before venturing into business.
Pushing a product that does not meet customer needs effectively can edge you out of business in the long run. This is because if you win customers through lots of persuasions, advertising and good offers and customers are not happy, they will neither come back nor market you through word of mouth.
It is for this reason that most corporations spend several months or years doing research on a product before launching it into the market.
The best way to do research before launching a product is to study the market and engage prospective customers with a questionnaire that captures important information. You may need to produce samples and test the market before going large scale.
The importance of producing samples to test the market is to enable prospective customers give feedback that will help you improve it before producing it.
Sampling also helps you define your target market so as to be focused right from the start.
Mr Kiunga is the author of ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market’.