The Purpose of Marketing
Before I delved into the rabbit hole of marketing, its strategies, and its tools, I believed that I had a firm understanding of it. To me, it was a straightforward concept consisting of one thing: advertisements. Ads, that is, those pieces of content that are placed on multiple platforms, in front of as many people as possible, so that the company can get it’s brand and product out. However, I could not have been further from the truth, as not all marketing is advertisements, but all advertisements are marketing. This makes sense, as marketing at its core, is about understanding and being seen.
Marketing psychology is the personification of the phrase “to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” It is for this reason companies spend thousands of dollars on finding the demographics and understanding the mentalities of their clientele. They do this through polls and questionnaires — you know, those annoying ones that pop-up before your YouTube videos. Then, with the understanding that this provides, they craft campaigns that speak to the wants and desires of the individual. They address the root of the problem to which their product solves; they ease their customer’s pain by exposing them to a remedy. But, this exposure can only occur if they can place their content before the eyes of their potential buyers, which is harder than it may sound.
Marketers have a variety of avenues to achieve this, the most well-known one being advertisements. Advertisements are snippets of content that companies use to promote their products. In many cases, they are not actively sought out; instead, Marketers, through research and demographics, place them wherever their ideal customer lives. However, a shocking 96% of consumers do not believe advertisers and markets practice integrity. This means that even though a company might spend thousands of dollars on paid advertisements, they have almost no return on this investment. It also means that the marketing teams for said companies are failing at their vital role of creating trust. This is why organic search results are so essential to the success of marketing, and why we will continue to see a shift in that direction. Despite that disheartening statistic, companies still engage in paid advertisements as a means to build brand awareness.
Most people distrust marketers and marketing as a whole. They treat it with polar energy, like magnets. When someone realizes that the efforts of marketing are influencing their behavior, they have an opposite reaction that, unlike Mr. Newton’s, is not equal. This response stems from their desire to feel in control. We all like to believe that we are the sole masters of our ships, the captains of our fate, above influence, and suggestion. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case as the world around us is continually influencing us. Thus, the job of marketers completed successfully is to cause a ripple in the market, a wave in society. It is to lift their company on the swell of their rising tide and to create a dent on the ever-shifting sand that is the marketplace.
A brief rundown of the different Marketing Channels
Like every other career, there are many different paths that one can take with marketing. Each of these channels carries its own set of rules and tools to help grow the brand and increase sales. These channels are SEM, Email Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Content marketing, and Affiliate marketing.
- SEM — or Search Engine Marketing, is when a company pays a platform, like Google or Bing, to display their advertisement above their results.
- Email marketing — Email marketing, in many cases, looks a lot like spam. It is the outreach of a company, offering exclusive discounts, or displaying new content to you, the consumer, through your email. These Emails used to be a huge hassle, but as marketers got more in touch with their clientele, they have become more useful and informative.
- SEO — Short for Search Engine optimization is similar to SEM, except that it is a more organic find. With SEO, companies ensure that their website, not their ad, is located closer to the top of the page. This increases the amount of organic traffic as customers are already looking into the product.
- Social Media — Social Media as an advertisement is the organic use of the company’s social media to create customers. An example of this would be Nike posting a picture of a new pair of shoes with a brief description.
- Content marketing — Content marketing is the marketing that surrounds content creation, whether it is by blogging about the product, an e-book, or a tv show. This specific brand of marketing plays a more profound, less visible role in the public’s trust for the company.
- Affiliate marketing — This is the marketing that bloggers and affiliates of companies partake in, many times not even realizing they are essentially freelance marketing agents. These are the advertisements that you hear on podcasts or the links posted on your favorite blogger’s website, that get you a special discount. What you probably aren’t aware of tho, is that the companies pay these individuals for bringing them your business