When many people hear the word “marketing,” they confuse it with advertising. Advertising is a channel of marketing, but only a small part of it and many times a waste of money.

The key takeaway for me is to remember that marketing is a process, not an event. Something to be iterated and measured - more like an experiment than an incident.

In the book, “Principles of Marketing,” by Kotler and Armstrong, they provide a definition that resonates with me, and I think it will with you, too:

“Marketing is the process by which companies engage customers, build strong customer relationships, and create customer value in order to capture value from customers in return.”

I like that definition because it focuses on creating value for the customer with the aim of getting value in return. This might be in the form of customer loyalty and the creation of profit. After all, the test of a viable business is whether or not its profit exceeds its cost of capital.

Below is an illustration of how Kotler and Armstrong define the marketing process. The figure is an easy to digest synopsis of marketing. By creating value for customers, marketers derive value from customers in return.

The Marketing Process Map

Understanding marketing fundamentals can be easy. By focusing on learning a few concepts, executing, and sticking with fundamentals is a good strategy. Often times, less is more. And for me, simplicity always trumps complexity!

These are the marketing fundamentals that you must know to grow your practice, territory, and business.

What business are you in and what is the market for what you sell?

This seems straightforward, but oftentimes people have confused ideas about what business they are in. This isn’t meant as a put down to you. I intend as a way to stimulate thinking that the business you think you are in, may not be the reason your customers are buying from you.

And how big is the market for your product or services? A big market is not always best because the bigger the market, the more competition it might attract. Often being the big fish in a small pond is way more fun and profitable than being part of a massive, competitive market

What does your customer consider value?

Understanding this might be the most critical tenet of marketing, and business in general. And this is not a static position, because values shift over time.

The key to this is to constantly evaluate your product and/or service offering against what you think your ideal prospect wants and what the results of your efforts are showing you. The true measure of your understanding is the results you produce in the market.

The five A’s of digital marketing

Philip Kotler wrote a terrific book called, “Marketing 4.0” about this topic, and I wrote a review about it in a blog post on this site.

Aware - Are your potential and current customers aware of your offerings?

Appeal - Are your prospects moving from the stage of awareness to wanting to know more?

Ask - After your prospects have learned more about your product or service, are they curious enough to ask about ways to get further engaged? Are they asking friends, checking out online reviews on social media, or anybody who might help them gather information?

Act - Here is where they make a purchase, and you will begin establishing a relationship with someone who was a prospect and is now a customer.

Advocate - Advocates are customers who are happy with your product or service and want to tell others about why this is so. This is the Holy Grail of marketing!

What about the fundamentals?

What I wrote above is a blueprint for the fundamentals of marketing. If you do nothing else than understand these concepts, you will advance your business.

Also, this page has sections that teach you all you need to know to grow your practice, territory, or business. So whether you are a doctor, business owner, sales rep, or a sales executive, there is information here that will help you grow your business.


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