Marketing - Branding - Promotions - Advertising
Are you confused with all the terms? Well, don't feel alone. Even people in the industry confuse the terms branding and marketing.
It might help to first know the definition of "Marketing".
What Is Marketing?
Dr. Philip Kotler, widely recognized as the most authoritative textbook on marketing, defines marketing as:
““the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures, and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.”.”
Dr. Kotler narrowed down the definition to:
““meeting the needs of your customer at a profit.” That definition is short but takes in a lot. Meeting the needs of your customer starts with awareness or your product or service and ends (if you can really pinpoint an end") when the customer pays for your product or service and is satisfied..”
When looking at marketing many people think of promotions -- the "advertising" and selling a product or service. But as Kotler points out, it's much more than that. True professional marketers look at what's called the 4-P's of marketing: Price, Promotion, Product, and Placement (logistics - how the product or service is delivered to you). A complete marketing strategy should encompass all aspects of these 4-P's of marketing.
The most common element many "marketers" look at is only the Promotional side of marketing which is known as the " Promotional Mix" The Promotional Mix includes: Personal Selling, Advertising, Consumer Promotions, Public Relations, and Direct Marketing, Business to Business Promotions, and Print Communications.
Deciding on the right promotional mix depends on the target audience, budget, goals, internal and external constraints, and other elements. Small business and start up companies usually take a stair-step approach to their promotional mix strategy. Once sales reach a certain level additional funds are added to the budget so that the next level of the strategy can be implemented. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is trying to engage too many promotional mixes at once. Not having the right resouces into a marketing channel means resulting in low performance.
The Promotional Mix includes:
- Advertising: - Paid ads with a precise message with a compelling call to action to a defined target is a critical part of increasing sales and leads.
- Direct marketing: Builds a relationship with people and keeps the brand top of mind with current and potential consumers. Email, mail, social media, SMS messages are all used in direct marketing.
- Personal Selling: This promotional mix is one of the most effective type of promotion if done correctly, It can also be one of the most expensive.
- Public Relations:At its foundation, public relations is about influencing, engaging and building a reputation to shape the public perception of an organization or product.
- Sales Promotions:This promotional mix stimulates purchasing and sales by giving discounts, cash-back, free shipping, gifts, and more.
Brand Marketing Strategy
So, what about branding?
The "brand" according to the American Marketing Association (AMA), is a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers". A brand takes on the company's or product's identity.
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A brand should:
- Clearly deliver the message of the product/service/company
- Confirms your credibility
- Emotionally connects with your prospects and customers
- Motivates the buyer
- Builds user loyalty
- Branding strategy
Using the terms branding and marketing can be confusing, and as stated, even professionals mix up the terms and have widely different definitions. Many people, from a variety of backgrounds, work in the marketing field for a variety of reasons, but when they lack the background of higher education and broad experience, they miss the fundamentals of professional marketing.
Also, consider that fact that many graphic artist refer to "branding" as just the your logo and company/product colors. Graphic or design firms may use the word marketing, but they are really coming from a graphical background and look more that the image rather than the strategic overall process and method of as Dr. Kotler said meeting the needs of your customer at a profit.
Know who you are talking to and your desired outcome. At ePlus Marketing, our focus is on marketing that combines branding -- meeting the needs of your customers at a profit. It's about the results!
Is your brand working for you? Find out more with a free marketing analsysis
Bruce and Nancy were founders and owners of a local women’s dress shop since 1988. For over twenty years they have developed a successful business focusing on formal and designer clothing for women. They became known as the place to go for formal dresses. They also carried a stylish line of women’s sportswear. In addition, they offered customized fashion consulting including direct buying through New York fashion trips, closet assessment for up-to-date styles, alterations, and buying records to avoid fashion event duplications.
Meet Bruce Lehtman,
Owner of Distinctions in Fashion
Their customers mainly came from word-of-mouth and newspaper print ads in a local newspaper. After the year 2000 Bruce knew that his marketing and advertising methods needed to add online efforts. Through a loyal customer, they contacted ePlus Marketing to help the company increase sales and profits.
Our first steps included an owner survey and interview to determine their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to their company. Our assessment and research helped produce a branding strategy, marketing strategy and marketing tactics.
Through the years, Bruce and Nancy have relied on our company to lead all marketing efforts including multiple websites, social media, direct mail, promotions, contests, email marketing, video marketing, events and more.
Results: The company soon saw a 30% increase in sales. The most dramatic turn-around was with their high-school prom dress line. They went from selling on average 200 dresses to over 3,000 dresses from in-store purchases only. The average price of the dresses was $500.00. This success enabled Bruce and Nancy to retire early and enjoy their grandchildren.
“They've over delivered with everything and every idea they bring us has increased our business tremendously. Our overall sales increased each year.” - Bruce Lehtman