Marketing is evolving each day.
A new marketing tactic takes birth within a few weeks or months.
Perhaps, in future some people might coin new phrases and say they’ve come up with an easier and better approach to marketing, but the truth is – marketing never changes.
At the core it’s still as old-school as it was years ago, and has a solid base which can’t ever be shaken.
New marketing tactics will emerge, revolutionary means of communication will arise, needs of consumers will change, yet, in the end, it’ll always be about a handful of things which matter.
Note: Honestly saying, this post is about 5000+ words long. You might skip some important parts and get tired. So I suggest that you download its PDF version (no email required). Thanks!
Fundamentals of Marketing
Fundamentals control every marketing method which has ever existed or will.
They’re the pillars on which all modern marketing approaches exist.
Marketing was done even in the Egyptian markets, and even when Arabian merchants came to India to buy spices.
No one owns the word and neither it is exclusive to a set of people. The word itself derives its meaning from how it’s used by individuals and organizations.
What are fundamentals anyway?
You might be having your own theories and assumptions about marketing fundamentals, but the truth is simple.
So simple that marketers ignore it and don’t think it’s worth their attention. Marketers are drowned in data and are busy stressing about how they can get more ROI.
They dive into details and often deny the importance of thinking from a broader perspective while dealing with their monotonous practices.
That’s when marketers need to think of the fundamentals and start from there.
“Fundamentals are the factors which are common at all levels of a hierarchy, either at the bottom or at top.”
Which means, that the ways of implementing marketing remain the same regardless of the type of market or its size.
So even if you’re one person, a group of people running a business together, or a fortune 500 company, there are certain basic parts of marketing which should work equally for you.
If something differs then it isn’t a fundamental but rather a fad which might die someday.
A top-down and bottom-up arrangement
The points mentioned here are simple and based on a single philosophy which states that all marketing efforts must be made after giving a thorough thought to the end result you wish to achieve.
Firstly, you make your final goal clear and then you start acting from there – basically you follow a top-down manner.
Once you figure out your main end points, you can start working on tiny bits to find out what you need to do next to achieve your specified end result.
You plan out the most important factors in the start instead of leaving them to later. You work out all the details afterwards.
Transparent marketing emphasizes on combining all the three main aspects of marketing i.e. marketing, sales and production to serve the customers in the best possible way.
It’s necessary to combine the bottom-up approach with the top-down approach as it can make it easier for you to come up with a suitable way to fulfill certain goals after a few iterations.
Therefore, sticking to a single method would be inconvenient. Arriving on a conclusion after going through multiple iterations of both top-down and bottom-up approaches is the best way to bring out the most favorable results for yourself and your customers.
TLDR Version of the above paragraph
Be flexible enough to adapting certain ways, philosophies or tactics – there’s never a perfect way or flawless strategy. You just keep experimenting and do more of what works.
A LIST OF MARKETING FUNDAMENTALS WHICH WON’T EVER CHANGE
First fundamental – Accessibility
“Accessibility refers to the overall accessibility of your products and services altogether.”
The more accessible you are, the easier it becomes for you and your customers to communicate and transact with each other.
The reason why restaurants open new franchise and food chains is because they desire to be accessible to people in various regions – they want to be available to their customers.
The same is the reason why certain local stores have various branches within a geographical area, because they’re focused on making more profits within their target region.
The cause why most shops select a dominating place is pretty simple – it gives them a greater exposure to people, which in turn increases their chances of growth.
The concept of accessibility works in a universal manner.
Which means, everything related to your marketing efforts is likely to achieve success based on how accessible it is.
Increased accessibility increases the chances for marketers to achieve greater sales by providing ease and convenience to customers. This creates a win/win environment for both.
For instance, by expanding at a global level, not only has Amazon increased its chances of success but also provided ease and convenience to its customers.
The products which are easily available to customers sell more
Suppose you’ve launched a book, then if the paperback-lovers cannot access it because it’s only available online, then you miss out all the chances of offline success.
Similarly, if you’ve published paperbacks but don’t have enough copies to fulfil the demand, then the accessibility of your book reduces naturally.
So if you make your book available on all possible platforms, then you leverage its accessibility to benefit yourself and your customers.
Accessibility of services directly impact sales
Customers hesitate to buy from you when you’re out of their reach. This is among the major reasons why most brands need to have their offices at multiple places.
Also, if your find a way to stay in your customers’ touch and are available to them easily, then they’ll interact more with you and develop a sense of trust.
It doesn’t matter which parts of your services – it might be repairing of the commodities they buy from you, how readily you can solve their problems, or whether you’re capable of providing attention to them whenever they need your services.
The undeniable importance of ease and convenience
Accessibility is a combined outcome of ease and convenience – as these are main factors which affect how much your customers use your services, and also the frequency of their purchases of products from you.
Suppose your vending machines are available across a city but your customers don’t know how to use it, then it’ll directly affect the frequency of your sales.
In this case, although you’ve leveraged your accessibility, you haven’t provided ease and convenience to your customers.
Therefore to achieve your target of selling more, you either need to educate your customers, or you need to make the process simpler than it is.
Though, out of the two mentioned ways, it’s better to ease the processes which your customers need to complete instead of teaching them the hard way.
For instance, building websites wasn’t so easy a few years back, but now it far simpler due to automated methods. Due to which the internet has grown significantly.
The role of accessibility in marketing success
Where do get your groceries from? Chances are, probably from your nearest grocery store, unless you have a better option like Walmart available. That’s how accessibility works. The success of marketing attempts is greatly based on accessibility provided to the customers.
Online stores allow cash on delivery service to the customers who don’t have a bank account, or who lack the availability of the internet.
This in turn makes them accessible to those customers and henceforth increases their sales.
How accessibility works on the internet
You wouldn’t have been reading this blog right now if you had no internet connection, right? However, internet is nothing more than a mean of communication which has made this blog accessible to you.
Now, if I had asked you to sign up so that you could read this post then would you have signed up? Maybe, but not everyone would do the same. Some people hate subscribing to a random site they don’t know much about.
So a signup form would’ve increased a barrier and reduced the accessibility of my website to the readers. Same is with other elements of a website.
A captcha seems alright to avoid spam, but it creates another barrier and discourages readers from commenting to some extent.
Your chances of gaining more followers increase when you make your social media profile visible in the sidebar, this reduces a barrier for them as they don’t need to find you by themselves since you’ve already made it easy for them to follow you.
Also, the frequency of the actions your prospects take is dependent on accessibility.
Like, if your customers find your online transaction process easy and convenient then will be naturally inclined to deal with you again. But if they find the process painful, then they’ll avoid doing any further transactions on your site.
Accessibility has a major role in advertising and also ensures a wider exposure. You don’t put a banner of your company amid the dunes of sands in a desert. Instead, you put them right there, on the top of a building, where people can easily notice them.
I’ll soon write a post specifically about accessibility in marketing. Subscribe to the newsletter to get it in your inbox when it gets published.
Second fundamental – Communication
“Communication is the access to connect with you customers”
Communication is an important part without which all other marketing attempts fail.
Not finding a path to communicate with the customers is similar to being invisible. There’s one golden thing every other marketer is striving hard for – attention.
You have already seen those vendors shouting in bazaars, and the biggest companies showing lengthy commercials.
They’re just trying to get their shot of attention, even if that means initiating a one-sided conversation.
Getting noticed is a basic step – nothing more
Getting noticed has its own value, but it isn’t enough.
Each day you see several commercials and banners while traveling.
You see them while reading a newspaper or while watching the television, but do you take all of them seriously enough? Exactly.
Those ads might grab your attention temporarily but they fail to communicate with you.
Does this mean advertising is ineffective? No, though it’s a one-sided form of communication. Advertising rightfully gets you the attention you’ve been waiting for, but after that, you can only get what you deserve.
If you succeed in influencing your customers, you thrive, else you don’t.
Communication, in spite of being the first step to effective marketing, is dependent on all the other fundamental factors.
For example, you can successfully spend a whole evening convincing a customer and resolve all his questions, yet he won’t buy your product if he doesn’t find it useful.
How communication derives its usefulness
Communication is the beginning to everything – whether it’s a step towards making more sales, gaining the trust of customers, or telling your customers more about what you do.
It’s that point where marketing begins.
Your chances of success increase with your increase of communication with the customers.
The firms which have a chance to communicate longer have better opportunities. This is the sole reason why advertisements are used. Businesses pay advertisers to shift the attention of people to what the businesses sell.
It all boils down to getting into the minds and hearts of people and making them think of you.
The rest of your success depends on other factors like, does your pitch influence your ideal customers? Or are you able to able to convey your message to them?
Markets are always chaotic and filled with noise, customers are mostly confused and baffled, while marketers keep hunting for opportunities.
Communication resolves this chaos. It does the job of creating awareness among the customers and helps them discover what’s right for them.
Influence is the key to successful communication
If there’s one key which determines effectiveness of communication then it’s the influence of communication.
In real world it’s easier to influence people as you have a chance to directly interact with them. Similarly, when means change, your methods of interacting with your customers change too.
Take the mediums like radio, brochures or internet for example – they all work differently.
Though, as the means of communication change, the layers between marketers and customers increase after which your chances of directly affecting your customers vary gradually.
Yet, if you can influence your customers in spite of all the possible barriers then there’s barely anything would affect your chances of success.
Also, don’t be mistaken to think that influence is only about having a recognized authority in a certain arena or being the best – because it’s not.
More than those things, it’s about creating a lasting touch which your customers won’t forget. Making an offer they don’t stop thinking about. Or providing value due to which they trust you at once.
No matter what means you use or how you communicate, if you persuade your customers righteously and make them confident about you, then consider that your efforts paid off.
Role of interactivity in communication
Communication must be done by both sides to be effective.
Emails, television, newspaper, telephone and all such means are used to connect with the customers. Yet, they bring out the results only when the people interact with you again.
Customer satisfaction can only be achieved through interaction with the customers. You need to clear their doubts and inform them about their welfare so they can make decisions on their own.
Although communication is automated nowadays, and perhaps, even other aspects such as sales will soon be completely dominated by computers, communication still remains the underlying principle which affects the buying decisions of customers.
To any business or marketing phenomena, communication is a part of the chain which cannot be skipped. Communication breeds awareness and trust, which is always followed by progressive responses.
That’s how marketing has been working till now, and will continue to do so till eternity.
People delete mails, surveys tell you about them, and their actions are used as data. What does this all mean?
It means that you’re always communicating with your customers – either through your offers, content ideas or marketing materials.
Customers are always signaling directly or indirectly – about what they want, what their interests are and what they’re expecting – however marketers get so busy blowing their own trumpets that they forget to gather the invaluable insights from their customers.
The most important voice, i.e. the voice of the customers, gets lost amid the shouts of the market.
So the best way to communicate with your customers is to listen to them first.
Listen to what they say. Find out what they want. Be prepared to fulfil their expectations.
Third Fundamental – Quality
“Quality means the grade of outcomes and the overall experience your customers go through.”
Quality isn’t a standalone term. Neither is it limited to excellent products and services.
This ranges everything from the initial interaction to the post-sales services.
Falling short in any of the stages of an overall consumer lifecycle can create a negative impact on the customers and make them consider abandoning your services.
However, that won’t affect you much if you’ve already earned the loyalty of your customers using transparent methods. Customers are usually ready to overlook some of your flaws.
Still, selling and marketing bad products is like forcing your customers to buy them.
Providing poor services is equal to taking their presence for granted.
Leaving out the welfare of your customers for a slight high profit is the deterioration of your own future.
When certain companies get better, their value increases. When they don’t, they fall. The rule has been simple since the beginning.
How quality determines marketing success
People make up their views about you as they perceive what you do and who you are.
They form certain image about you in their minds, after which they decide whether they should choose your services or products in future.
They notice every little thing related to your brand and your company as they go through various experiences.
For instance, your pitches and content somehow indicate how concerned you are about your business.
The type of commercials and advertisements you create make viewers understand your image and aim in the current market.
People are keen about quality at every step, in any form.
The world is controlled by perception. It judges a book by its cover – it’s the natural behavior of people.
Customers don’t compromise and try to get the best. So by default, you’re supposed to give them what they’re searching for – the best.
The purpose of quality
In truth, sales, marketing and production work altogether.
Being ignorant towards any one of these three aspects is a serious drag to the probability of growth.
When you’re part of any one department and pretend like you’re untouched by the other two, you only worsen things further.
Your customers see you as one.
It doesn’t concern them whose fault is it why their demands aren’t being fulfilled, because it’s none of their business. If something goes wrong then they’d likely become unhappy.
Why do customers become unhappy? It happens when quality is compromised. It occurs when various departments of a business are out of balance.
Quality plays an immense role in escalating or shattering your hopes.
No matter how invincible your marketing strategies are, they aren’t standalone and are required to be nurtured through other aspects as well.
You can’t create a rubbish product and expect it to sell. And you can’t make a great innovation and wait for people to magically know about it.
Quality is achieved by blending in everything from the first step towards creating to the last stage of selling, and beyond.
Fourth Fundamental – Values
“Values are the ideals and principles based on which businesses function”
Organizations work like individual bodies.
Principles and culture – these two powerful words can bring stability to any organization.
Once you decide your mission, you make your goals and intentions clear. You give a clear indication to your employees about your motives when you know what your values are.
More than that, you make it easy for your customers to judge you based on who you are. You reveal your identity, open up your secrets and vulnerabilities and let people decide whether or not they wish to be a part of what you’re doing.
How inculcating values forms a work culture
When marketers do what they do, and choose certain ways, they set up a work culture in their organization.
With every step they take towards growing their profits, finding ways to sell more or to gain more customers, they’re also setting an example for the others on the board to follow.
A culture gets established even when no significant effort is put in creating it. Once it is formed, everyone begins to notice it, including the customers.
The culture dissolves in all activities and mingles in the practices of employees. A culture becomes a blueprint for methods and behaviors of teams, after which every step is motivated by the values which you adapt to.
The necessity of principles and culture
You can’t expect your customers to be sure about what you do if you aren’t yourself aware of it.
You need to have principles for that.
The reason for creating a mission statement, telling your customers about your goals or motivating your employees to abide by certain rules and manners is a way to setting up a set of principles.
A lack of principles breeds disorganization in your company, and mistrust or uncertainty in your customers.
Therefore, if you wish to achieve a certain clarity then creating a culture based on specific principles is the quickest way to do so.
Your culture is also capable of connecting your customers emotionally.
If you can serve them based on the values they respect and create a movement they wish to be a part of then they’re yours.
You might have seen those people who remain loyal to companies even when those companies fall short of serving them or fulfilling the needs of customers, that sort of loyalty is an asset which acts like a shield when you’re vulnerable.
Also, people stay loyal because of the way they’re treated by certain businesses.
Are values actually a fundamental trait in marketing?
The answer is fairly visible – yes. It is a fundamental.
Most marketing methods indicate some sort of traits which distinguish them from the rest.
For instance, MLM and pyramid marketing schemes are seen as something fraudulent and bogus.
Referral marketing is thought of as a nice way to save the advertising and marketing costs. But it fails to create a lasting connection with customers.
Word of mouth marketing is what companies ultimately crave for as it’s the most genuine way to earn the loyalty of newer customers.
If you observe, most of the marketing types and strategies implemented are directly affected by the nature of companies.
Some companies make serving their customers a priority. Some give more importance to profits. Some are focused on short term goals.
Business consists of a lot of elements.
Where do these elements originate from? From the nature of a company. Companies act like individuals.
So why did some brands choose one way over the other and vice-versa? Because they were made that way. Or they had become such.
All the bits that a company keeps adding to itself end up forming it. However, it all begin from the values which it follows.
Values decide what a company is heading towards and what it will become.
Your values make you
You may think that it’s your business that determines the rules and values in your work – however it works more effectively the other way i.e. your values frame the way things are done in your business.
For instance, Tesla’s founders advocate the growth of sustainable energy, so they made electric cars.
McDonald’s mission statement is pretty simple – “to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.” So they work towards their goal and rightfully stand among the top food franchisees of the world.
Zara spends little on advertising, and focuses its spending on opening stores near high-end retailers instead.
Google came up with its code of conduct in the year 2000, which said “don’t be evil.” And Google still seems to abide by it.
Overall, everyone is doing almost the same things – creating, selling and hoping for the best.
Yet, what makes every business distinct are the values, ethics and principles which they accept as a part of their identity.
Fifth fundamental – Educating
“Educating refers to the amount of awareness marketers create among their customers regarding the existing market.”
Every step or decision taken by your customers is based on the education they possess about you, your products and the market.
In such a situation, while your customers are still finding what’s appropriate for them, it’s necessary for you to inform them with what need to know.
Empower them and help them make the right decisions – whether it be about products, services, usage, policies or anything that’s a part of what you do and affects the customers.
Mostly, the more you educate your customers the greater your chances of your marketing success are. It allows them to make better choices for themselves.
Your role throughout their buying process is to guide them.
The advantage of educating customers
The amount of trust your customers have in you is dependent on how much they know you. This also determines how soon they’ll feel connected to you.
Then there’s one more benefit to it. The one which is useful to you as well as your customers.
Educating empowers both of you – it helps your customers make better decisions, and it gives you a chance to explain your plans and offers honestly.
In the end, it’s the people who educate the customers who are likely to control the flow of markets, as they become the trailblazers and get people on their side.
Also, this makes the market a fair place to deal in, since it’s you who tells people who they need or what they should do, but leave the decision-making to them.
Your job remains to educate them, to take them towards something better than what they have, and finding the best way to serve them at the same time.
The brighter side
The more your customers know about you and your product, the more connected they feel. They slowly build a bond of trust with you – we call that a brand.
But at the bottom of the word ‘brand’ – there’s some love, respect and loyalty. The more they know you, the easier it becomes for them to decide whether they should rely on you.
Uneducated customers aren’t an enticing opportunity but rather a responsibility for marketers. Teach them. Make them aware of the ground that you hustle on. Give them what they deserve.
If you’re wrong, admit it and move on. Your customers would give you another chances when you do that. It’s the brighter side of everything.
The disguised advantage of educating customers
Most people in the industry stress more on selling rather than educating their customers – that gives them quick outcomes and fulfills their ultimate motive – selling.
Though, what they often underestimate is the loyalty they could be earning if they put enough effort in helping their customers find what they really need.
This might even mean giving a lead to the competitors sometimes.
Most of the companies which are really concerned about serving would firstly try to fulfill the need of their consumers and come up with the right products in the market, because they educate themselves first about the market and prevent sacrificing quality.
Eventually, the brands which create awareness among their customers about the situation in current market are the ones which are likely to achieve more trust and attention, which can give them an added advantage of selling more.
Sixth Fundamental – Need
“Need is the neutral demand for something.”
Needs can always be marketed more easily than anything superfluous. In fact, needs are what don’t need to be marketed – and that’s an advantage.
A product that people would crave for, and what people know is an ultimate solution to wash-off their problems, is a product that’s worth creating.
Your priority must be creating something to serve your customers in the best way you can, not just to dominate you competition or to gain greater profits. You set an example by doing so.
Why focusing on needs is your best bet
Needs are what people wish to fulfill before anything.
Before luxuries or comforts or the decorative stuff, comes need. It’s hard for people to be at ease unless their needs are fulfilled.
The moment you create what serves their needs, you fill a gap. You provide a solution that was awaited.
People buy solutions – more than that, they want to get rid of their problems – that’s the reason why needs are the easiest to market.
Customers might not always spend their money on something that they aren’t sure might be useful to them, but they’d do it for their needs.
They’d happily pay you if they come to know that your products and services are capable of lessening their pains or hassles.
Innovate, come up with enough ways to lessen their struggles and try making their life easier – you’d barely need to market things.
Usefulness is easier to sell.
How need affects the selling process
No matter what your product or service is – it’s less likely to fail as long as it is needful.
What if it’s not?
Actually, all products are made while keeping a certain demand in sight. That demand is equivalent to need for the particular consumers who buy it.
Which means, that though there might not be a strong need for something in the market, it can even be created. Sometimes even artificially.
Yet, a major amount of people will always be attracted to the products and services which rectify problems at a basic level.
Seventh Fundamental – Attracting
“Attraction is about making people want what your create”
This is the major reason why marketing originated.
While there are products and services that can be sold, they often don’t get the amount of attention and growth they deserve – that’s when marketing comes in.
Marketing is ultimately help vendors sell what they create. It’s about putting efforts in getting what you deserve – whether it be attention or success.
Why attracting matters
The world is ignorant.
Competition is high. People are busy. Amid all this, marketers are constantly struggling to get their brands and products noticed.
They’re trying to make people realize the worth of what companies do.
But it doesn’t happen automatically. They’re supposed to do something to get what they want.
They need to attract people.
Because without it, they’d remain buried under the thick layer of chaos and their existence wouldn’t matter.
Why appeal is essential
It isn’t necessary to mislead customers though. There’s a difference between deception and attraction.
Let’s say we’re selling something, then grown-ups can decide what’s right for them. But children can’t – you need to attract them in some way.
So you use colors, cartoons, and make everything look fun and lively. You make things beautiful and fancy.
You get that.
Similarly, your way of attracting people can be via presentation, emphasizing the benefits, assurance, or any of the several available ways.
In short, you constantly need to come up with new ways to attract. For every person and every market, there exists a right way to attract.
Pleasing deserves to be a part of marketing, delusion doesn’t. Although there aren’t any standards that can define ‘ethical ways to attract,’ it isn’t hard to figure out what’s right and what isn’t.
What’s the right way to attract?
There are barely any universal standards that bind creativity.
However, if you observe closely how the market works then you’d notice enough factors affecting the overall commercial processes.
It can be about pricing, some unique features, advantage over similar products, lifestyle of target customers, etc.
You can use these factors of the commercial process to find out what details you should be considering to come up with creative ways to attract people.
Then, from those obvious details, you find a way connect with your ideal customers and to form an image.
Attract – the latter processes follow that.
These were the unshakable fundamentals of marketing. The ones that won’t ever vanish. Because a medley of all of them and a few other elements is what we call marketing.
Now, the next I want you to do is subscribing to the newsletter of this site – if think I’ve earned your attention.
What are your thoughts about marketing fundamentals? Do think of something as an important and inseparable part of marketing? Share your opinion in the comments maybe.