Advertising is a facet of marketing and separate from other marketing concepts. Although most individuals use these terms interchangeably, it is important to remember that these business terminologies actually have specific distinctions that using one term in lieu of the other is like calling apples â€œorangesâ€ or vice versa. Doing so is misguided or ill-informed.
So what exactly differentiates advertising from other marketing activity? To put it simply, while advertising can be mostly concerned with branding or imaging, other marketing is geared toward directly tapping target clients for the purpose of sales generation. Advertising can be about making a good first impression. Other marketing, on the other hand, is fueled by an organisationâ€™s desire to do business.
In these times of economic flux, it is not always easy for organisations, especially smaller ones, to sustain both advertising and other marketing efforts. Marketing often requires major investment, and is apparently counterproductive to cost-reduction initiatives, which most businesses are keen on nowadays. With this said, it is crucial for organisations to prioritise, with objectivity and a sense of practicality. Zeroing in on business development with limited funds call for creativity and persistenceâ€”these are competencies essential to marketing. Arguably, marketing should be favoured as opposed to just advertising, at least during times when both cannot be sustained financially.
Here are ways to strengthen marketing efforts:
- Get to know your market:
Sales simply mean having people to pay willingly for whatever you are offering. For these potential customers to even entertain shelling out their hard earned money in exchange for your product or service, they must, first and foremost find your offer/s personally relevant. Producing market-specific or market-relevant products or services is the first step to business development. This can be done by accomplishing thorough market research that will not only create an exhaustive profile of your target market, but also, reveal their specific wants and needs.
- Employ multi-media marketing:
Customers access information from all types of media; from television to laptops to mobile devices. The options run the gamut. For your business development efforts to be noticed by prospective customers, it is best that you keep up with their communication proclivities. It is not enough to sustain marketing efforts via email marketing when employment of social networks can be just as competitive and results-driven.
Although this can be considered as a traditional marketing approach, it is never obsolete. Referral marketing is a reliable means for a business development driven organisation to actually reach its target customers. There are many strategies inherent to this approach, including Pay for Performance, Incentive-Centred Referrals, and the likes. Moreover, make sure to reward, or at least show some appreciation toward failed referrals. A simple thank you email or note will do and this does not require monetary investment.
One way to ensure that business development is on full-throttle is to engage every team member in the initiative. This means that everyone should be in-the-know with regards to current marketing efforts, and are equipped with at least the basic sales competencies, so as when they are out doing business or personal functions, they can efficiently take on even unexpected sales opportunities.
Managing Director & Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd.