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Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Which marketing concept is best? 6 questions to answer

Today’s marketing world is filled with ideas, options, push-the-envelope-ideas, more-creative-than-the-other-guy campaigns. So what’s the right marketing concept for your organization?

Let’s define first: What’s a marketing concept?

According to NetMBA:

The marketing concept is the philosophy that firms should analyze the needs of their customers and then make decisions to satisfy those needs, better than the competition.

That seems limiting … in my view, it’s more than needs. It’s solving a problem, providing a specific outcome that could be more about wants than needs. And it’s the strategy chosen to frame the product or service and reach the right audiences. But here’s another take from Philip Kotler:

What philosophy should guide a company marketing and selling efforts?  What relative weights should be given to the interests of the organization, the customers, and society?  These interests often clash, however, an organization’s marketing and selling activities should be carried out under a well-thought-out philosophy of efficiency, effectiveness, and social responsibility.

This is closer, from study.com, to what my thoughts are:

But not all businesses approach the need to market their goods and services the same way. In fact, there are a few different approaches to how marketing can be successful for an organization. These approaches are called marketing concepts, or a philosophy that determines what type of marketing tools are used by a company. Marketing concepts are driven by a clear objective that takes into account cost efficiency, social responsibilities, and effectiveness within a particular market.

marketing-conceptWhat factors guide the marketing concept you’ll choose?

As you can see in the last quote, first there’s a clear objective, one you can reach within a given budget. Then you’ll be effective within your particular market. This starts to narrow things down a bit.

Consider these critical elements, ask yourself:
  1. What are we trying to accomplish? Go beyond “sell stuff” to the outcomes your audiences expect when they buy what you offer. Do you want customers for life? Are you building a relationship?
  2. Who are the best potential buyers for what we offer? Often this is multiple audiences. A college must reach both potential students and their parents. A B2B company selling industrial products has to connect with an engineer or specifier, a purchasing manager and possibly other users.
  3. Why do those people want what we offer? Most people won’t buy until there is a reason, a trigger, to start looking for a solution to a problem. This “trigger” will also guide how and where you communicate.
  4. What do people need to know to make a decision? Some products or services need a lot of education to understand how to buy or specify. Others are quicker, even impulse buys. But even that wonderful cookie can inspire an impulse buy with strong imagery and an enticing message.
  5. What makes our offer different, better or unique? Often companies present a long list of features … look at everything my thing does, don’t you want to buy it now? Yet your audiences want to know if it will give them the result they’re looking for. Remember, they’re not buying a drill, they’re buying the hole it makes.
  6. Where are our audiences looking? The answer to this question is essential. It will guide which media and communication channels you choose. Remember the old adage, fish where the fish are.

Your marketing concept must be framed around the answers to these questions.

Understand what people are buying, not just what you’re selling. Know who those people are and what triggers their search. Realize where those people will find you and see your message. Frame your brand and message around what makes your offer different, better and unique. Do these things and you’ll have a marketing concept set for success.

Different industries and categories will have their own answers to these questions. Look at what has worked in the past to reach your audiences. Do interviews. Get clear about what people are looking for and what they’re buying. It really is about your audiences.

Use our audience definition worksheet to begin the process. Talk with customer service people. Talk to sales people. Find out what’s being said. Summarize the frequently asked questions. And decide how you’re unique and different … from your audience’s point of view. Talk to us if you would like some help.

GET MY AUDIENCE DEFINITION WORKSHEET

Visit our website to see samples of successful marketing concepts. 

Learn more about the importance of your audiences and your points of choice in these blog posts. 

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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