“Marketing” is defined by Wikipedia as “the process by which companies create customer interest in goods or services… through which companies build strong customer relationships and creates value for their customers and for themselves.”
Start with a marketing plan – identifying the customer and their needs and wants. Since the essence of business is fulfilling a need it is an important to know which need you are trying to fulfil. Then you need to know how best to reach those customers who have that need.
There are many different marketing mediums and working out which is best for your business is essential, both to keep costs down and to get the most back from your marketing campaign.
There are differing advantages and disadvantages of marketing depending on your chosen medium. But there are also general advantages and disadvantages of marketing across every spectrum.
General Advantages of Marketing
An obvious advantage of marketing is the promotion of your business; getting the recognition and attention of your target audience across a wide ranging or specific market.
Going hand-in-hand with this is the enhanced brand recognition. Over time potential customers and members of the public will begin to associate your logo and your brand with your business.
Every business needs to ‘spend money to make money’. Investing in marketing is no different. The most important advantage of marketing is therefore quite simply improving the businesses profits by boosting sales.
General Disadvantages of Marketing
The first disadvantage of marketing in general is the cost. Adverting and marketing costs money. If you don’t do the proper research then you might end up throwing money away. Wasting marketing efforts by targeting the wrong audience using an inappropriate medium would be a serious and costly mistake. So it is important to do your research beforehand and keep your costs to a minimum.
As well as the financial cost, marketing your business will require investment of time. Researching the appropriate marketing strategy, designing and writing the adverts, getting them published, dealing with any response. It’s important to spend time keeping track of how successful or not your marketing campaign is. A potential disadvantage of marketing here is the risk of time wasted for an unsuccessful campaign.
Research shows that people in general have to see a piece of information between 3 and 30 times before it sinks in. So the obvious disadvantage of marketing here is the fact that your marketing campaign will need to be ongoing and consistent. Increasing costs and time spent on it. This is where drip marketing comes in.
Specific Advantages and Disadvantages of Marketing
For specific types of media there may be other advantages and disadvantages of marketing. Each will obviously vary depending on your business, your market and your chosen marketing techniques.
Advantages and disadvantages of print marketing are reasonably obvious.
- Choosing the appropriate magazine or newspaper to advertise and market your business allows you to appeal to a specific audience and demographic. Targeting your adverts at the right audience to maximise its effectiveness.
- Often an advantage of marketing via print media is the flexibility. The size, placement and type of advert can be adopted and changed according to your needs.
- Another advantage marketing this way is the repeated display of your advert over time. Multiple appearances in various issues of the paper or magazine will improve chances of your brand sticking with the customers and also the results you will see in terms of sales leads.
- Cost can be prohibitive. The bigger the advert the more the cost. Magazines and newspapers with a wider audience generally cost more to advertise in and marketing over time in this manner may be too expensive for some businesses.
- Competition in the marketing space may be another disadvantage. You want your advert to stand out, but unless you can afford to pay for a full page spread you will be competing with the other businesses scrambling for attention.
- Magazines are often released on a monthly basis, meaning it can take longer for your advert to take hold in a potential customers mind.
Television & Radio Marketing
The advantages and disadvantages of marketing via radio or television will clearly be considerably different to those of print.
- There are many radio and television stations out there. You can appeal to your local audience by using a local radio or television station. You may also run an advert on a specific station with a genre which would suit your business. The variety of radio and television stations makes it easy to appeal to a specific audience.
- Your advert may well be repeated throughout the day at specific times, which would allow you to reach the best audience for your marketing.
- Radio and television marketing allows for regular repetition of your advert, helping satisfy the law of 29.
- Unless you are targeting a specific audience, you might have to push your advert across a number of radio and television stations to reach everyone you need to.
- An obvious disadvantage of radio and television marketing is the temporary nature of the advert. Unlike print, potential customers cannot go back to look for your contact information. So you will need to run the advert many times to get the best effect.
- Listeners/viewers may stop paying attention during advert breaks, which are essentially a disturbance to their enjoyment of the show.
Direct Mail Marketing
Your chosen market might benefit from a direct marketing campaign. Send your adverts, catalogues or product samples straight through your customer’s letterbox. You could target the right audience by using the electoral register to find the right age, sex and demographic or acquire access to marketing mailing lists.
- Direct mail marketing will allow you to target to your specific customer. Personalising your message to have the best possible impact on them.
- Unlike other forms of advertising, your marketing will not need to stand out on a page full of other adverts. It will just need to stand out from the pile on the doormat. A brightly coloured, appealing envelope may be all it takes.
- This type of marketing allows you target a specific area or locality. Especially important if your business is local.
- Direct mail is often seen as “junk” mail. So if your marketing doesn’t stand out and appeal in just the right way it might find its way straight from the letterbox to the bin.
- The law of 29 means you will need to do a direct mailing campaign many times before it has an effect.
- You risk annoying your customers by plaguing them with regular “junk” mail campaigns.
Cold-calling and other telemarketing campaigns have their place in business. They can be effective if done correctly. Like the other types of marketing, they have their own advantages and disadvantages.
- Personal contact with the customer is more effective than something abstract designed to appeal to a multitude of people. It makes the customer feel more important if you can make them think you are only there to help them with their needs.
- Results are easy to measure and often a potential customer can be easily led to a sale over the phone. In other words the call to action will be more effective.
- Cold-calling, like junk mail, can have an unwanted effect as it has negative connotations. Unwanted calls are often dealt with harshly and you might risk damaging your reputation.
- Technology is out there which is being used to block unwanted telemarketing calls. There is also legislation that needs to be abided by (Privacy and Electronic (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.)
- Costs may be more expensive than other forms of marketing, depending on your plan.
Marketing Your Business
Weighing up the above advantages and disadvantages of marketing throughout the various mediums will allow you to decide on the best course of action for your business. You might find that using several different techniques will help you get the most out of your marketing campaign.
Whatever you choose to do, you will need to carry out some sort of marketing if you hope to succeed in business and make a healthy profit.
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