Marketing is defined as the process of identifying, developing, and delivering value in the form of products and services to a target market. In marketing, persuasive messages are used to develop and/or strengthen brand equity, promote the value of a product, and eventually boost sales. The core mandate of marketing can be as broad a spectrum as the world itself, but for purposes of this article, we shall condense them into four main objectives viz:

  • To acquire customers.
  • To edge out competition.
  • To attract the best talents as employees.
  • To boost sales/ increase conversion and retention rates.

The main goal of marketing is to continually evaluate customers’ needs and preferences, consumer patterns, and provide a perception or a reality of improved customer experience at every brand touchpoint (these are the different platforms where customers interact with a brand). These goals go hand in hand with the buyer’s journey and can also be presented as;

  • To make the target audience aware of the brand/product
  • To spark interest of the target audience
  • To provoke consideration among the leads
  • To drive commitment among prospects
  • To convert/ sell to customers
  • To keep customers

These six goals are discussed below, and are linked to the stages of the marketing funnel.

  1. To make the target market aware

Before we even go very far, many people get confused with the exact difference between the terms target market and target audience, and here is a brief explanation. The term target market speaks of the general/ wider population in the market that one intends/ hopes to reach, while the term target audience talks of a narrower, more specific segment of the target market.

For example, when marketing a home for sale, you push marketing messages that reach everyone (target market), whether or not they could be interested in homes, but your main aim is to reach a few people within the target market such as those interested in luxury homes or pierre de terres, which clearly is not everyone (target audience).

That said, the very first thing to note here is that before your marketing message begins to spark interest and convert, somebody has got to be aware of what it is you are selling. At the very least, a member of the general population needs to hear about you in order to care about you. Although it works that sometimes people will make impulse purchases without prior engagement with a brand or its product, it is very crucial to bear in mind that for many conventional buyer journey cases, the customer needs to start from a point of awareness in order to begin considering whether to buy the product or not.

Read also : The four types of market targeting strategies [a comprehensive guide]

  1. To spark interest of the target audience

As soon as the customer learns more about a product, they are, if curious and happy about it, likely to begin a liking that may cause them to eventually consider making the purchase, or at the very least, try it out. It is very hard to become interested in something you are not aware of. Imagine being interested in the next product called @dje#gn356- what on earth can this be? There is no rocket science in marketing.

It is simple, if you want to sell, you need to know your product well, get the world to know what it is you are selling to them, and do so in such a way that it can spark curiosity/ interest to want to know more about the product or even try it. 

Let’s also imagine seeing an advert of the fastest, most luxurious, artificially intelligent vehicle on an online advert. This product thrills you and you think, maan, it would be cool to ride in this beauty. Then you slowly begin to want to know more about this car. Raise your hand if that is not how it almost always starts for you.

  1. To provoke consideration among the leads

Again, there is real confusion in terms of the difference between the terms leads and prospects. Marketing leads refer to potential customers whom you have already established contact with, although basically they may not have communicated back, but you hope they will. Prospects, on the other hand, are potential customers who have already moved past the one-way communication and have gotten back, being very likely to buy from you.

Knowing about something is not enough, the customer most likely has to look into factors that may make it (im)possible to get this product. Such factors may be related to the brand itself, the product, the client’s factors or even regulatory issues, and may include their perception of the brand’s personality, the product features, the client’s financial wellbeing or the government’s stand of the purchase and use of that product.

For example, a brand may be associated with a social cause that contradicts the principles of the individual, and so the prospect may not want to be associated with the company. It could also be that the product does not meet the expectations of the prospect, or the prospect cannot afford it, or the government prohibits when, how and whether the product should be used in the manner the prospect intends to use it.

  1. Drive commitment from prospects/ potential buyers

Once you have made aware, sparked interest, provoked consideration, you need to make the buyer go beyond any doubts and see that you really mean good for them. You, at this point, want to encourage them to invest a bit of their resources to show that they are committed to buying, and you are not just wasting each other’s time.

For example, getting your buyer to pay an air ticket of $500 to come to the showroom to test this very luxurious car shows the customer journey is headed somewhere right? Otherwise, you could be speaking to a poor man somewhere in the jungle who just happened to be online and is enjoying messing with you. 

When selling a house, getting the potential customer to send you all the documents necessary for inspection before making a purchase edges you a step closer to closing the deal. Remember, at this point, you have not asked for money from the potential client, you have simply asked for other resources that show readiness. If, for example, you are selling a technology product, getting leads to install it on their devices is a long shot towards closing the deal.

  1. To convert/ sell to customers

Wheeew, this is where it gets juicy, and I will keep it short, this is where you get the client to finally checkout and give their money in exchange for the value your product offers. 

  1. To keep customers

The goal of every smart marketer is not to sell once then let their competitors make subsequent sales -well, unless it’s a strategic move. The goal is to sell and keep selling as much as you can throughout the customer’s lifetime. If you cannot sell a second time to customers whom you sold to first, it is time to rethink your strategy or your product. You cannot work so hard to acquire your customer, only to give them away to someone else who will not do half the work, but reap for the rest of the customer’s lifetime.

How have you previously understood marketing, and do you think you have been doing something right or wrong, please share or ask us any questions here.

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