Marketing is an umbrella term that covers many of the factors that make businesses successful; whereas accounting covers the numbers involved with business, marketing takes control of the most important part of any company: the customer.
Marketing is generally very topsy-turvy in nature, with many of the fads involved with successful marketing consistently changing with the times. The introduction of resources through the internet have forever changed the way we see marketing, but some basics have remained and will remain the same throughout all changes in trends.
The first set of marketing rules comes by way of the market itself.
Prior to opening a business, the very first question that must be answered is, “Which niche will our company be a part of?” In some cases, this answer may be straightforward, but there are some guidelines to follow:
- Be the first of your kind, don’t take an already existing idea and attempt to make it “better.”
- If you cannot find a niche where you can be one of the first, create your own niche.
- Strive to become first in the mind of your audience, not first in your market.
Once you’ve decided on a niche to pursue, it’s time to look at some other basic rules of marketing:
- Customers do not necessarily buy what is best, they buy what they perceive is best – think of Apple’s marketing style.
- Focus on a singular keyword when marketing, a word that will make a permanent place on the customer’s mind.
- In addition to the rule above, don’t attempt to steal another company’s hot-button word – it will not work.
These rules form only the foundation of excellent marketing, however there are additional strategies that may prove beneficial. Not all strategies will be relevant to your company, making it absolutely crucial that you narrow your strategy down to one idea that suits your company’s current position, but will help you achieve the goals you have set in a reasonable amount of time.
Marketing trends come and go with time and innovation, but some basic trends have stayed true for hundreds of years:
- Eventually, every niche will narrow itself to two main business leaders, who will compete with little distraction from competitors further behind – think of Coca-cola and Pepsi.
- Sometimes shooting for the second place position in your niche is worthwhile, as it allows you to take the advantages of your competitors and use them to their disadvantage.
- Categories and niches will always divide into two or more categories with enough time.
- Even short-term marketing strategies will have long-term effects – for example, if you offer a “limited time” gift with purchase often, customers will become conditioned to only purchase when there is a gift available. Be aware of this.
- It’s natural to want to extend your product line in order to boost products, but spreading yourself too thin as a company is a poor marketing strategy for anyone. Only market what you can handle.
These rules apply to every entrepreneur and every business, so do not be surprised when you see these events happening in your own niche. Sometimes, even the laws of physics apply to business: remember learning how every action has an equal and opposite reaction? This can also be applied to business.
For instance, Starbuck’s has built their empire on the concept of expensive and fancy coffee, and most people seem to love it. Much like the rule states above, there will always be an opposite to a business model – in this case, the opposite would be inexpensive, quality coffee for the adult on-the-go. This law dictates that just as many people will want the inexpensive coffee as do those who want Starbuck’s, showing that there is a market there.
In addition to this, customers will always be on the lookout for something negative about your brand – it’s human nature to do so. By selecting something negative about your brand and then showing its positive aspects, you can then draw attention to what customers are inevitably looking for, and combat their negative feelings with irrefutable positive ones.
Some other general laws of marketing to keep in mind include the following:
- As a business, you will only need one bold and unexpected move to make your place in the market.
- Understand that trends can help you make good business decisions, but you cannot predict the future actions of your competitors.
- Success can lead to arrogance, which is one of the main ingredients for failure…
- …and failure should be expected, even embraced as a learning opportunity.
- Don’t let the press dictate your success – you’ll know if your company is performing well with or without attention from the press.
- Every business must have adequate funding to reach the goals they wish to achieve
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, marketing trends come and go, and this leads us to our last marketing law:
Success does not come by limiting your business to fads, but by following trends instead.
Think of the infamous selfie-stick, a small device making waves in the Millennial market for the past several years. Instead of creating a business selling selfie sticks (a fad), look at the trend instead: mobile photography. It’s clear that many individuals are interested in mobile photography, so you may want to consider what can be done to further improve mobile photography (the trend), and market that idea instead.