The Marketing Approach; It is impossible to think business without thinking marketing. Marketing in its simplest definition of the word is, to effectively deliver products of value to customers. Marketing must be done in a way that both the customer and the organization are benefitted. A good understanding of marketing strategies is therefore fundamental to every business.

It does not matter what marketing strategy the business chooses; effective management of that marketing strategy is key. It is management that decides on target audience and keeping and growing customers.

There are five things that can be marketed. These are goods (such as properties and manufactured products), services, events, experiences (such as ideas and information), and persons (in the form of expertise).

Marketing in the 21st century has made a drastic shift from the old school of methods. But many are continuing the old trend. The outdated marketing strategy is adversely impacting their business and they are unaware of the steps to take.

How does marketing differ in the 21st century?

There are some aspects of marketing that remain the same. There is still the need for highly motivated and skilled employees who are passionate about serving customers well. Companies are still expected to build strong brands and deliver excellent service. They must develop keen marketing insight to create long-term growth. And they must constantly work on their lines of communication.

Where marketing differs in the 21st century is in the connecting with customers. With consumers being wary of cold calls, businesses are pushed to seek new strategies to deliver their products to the consumer. The cold call is a push model where customers were told what to buy or persuaded to buy. In the 21st century it is the customer who sets the agenda. They decide what they are going to buy. And when customers are confronted with the push model, they are highly offended.

One of the big reasons for the shift in marketing approach is that in the past, companies owned factories and every company sold their own products. Today, companies no longer own the factories. What we have is a factory supplying similar products to multiple companies. These companies then brand the product. Since there are many brands of similar products, customers have numerous choices. They can no longer be manipulated into purchasing a particular product since many companies offer similar products. So, what can business owners do? There is the need to inspire the customer to buy your brand.

Inspire Marketing calls for a unique mental connection with the consumer.  The company that can most effectively hold a conversation about needs and desires is the one that dominates the market.

Because of the shift from the old school cold calling, your marketing approach is no longer the responsibility of a single department within any business. It is a company-wide undertaking that drives the company’s vision, mission, and strategic planning. Every employee must be adept at Inspiring Marketing.

The second thing that has changed where marketing is concerned is networking. Networking always played a great role in marketing. Previously, the focus was more on satisfied customer referrals. But today, networking is no longer confined to customers referrals. Complementary businesses seek to work together to access each other clientele.

The third paradigm shift is one to what is called socially responsible business practices. Small businesses are expected to become very active in social responsibility marketing through engagement in charity events and socially responsible business practices such as ‘going green’.

Of all three shifts noted in this article, the most challenging for small businesses to understand and employ is Inspire Marketing. And of the three changes outlined, this is the most important. At Think Big Coaching Center, we have a structured course entitled Inspire Marketing. The aim of the course is to assist small businesses mentally connect with the customer without manipulating them.

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