What is Marketing? ..And What Does it Mean to Local Businesses?

what is marketing growth arrows

The arrows go up only.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is selling. That’s it. It’s a framework that helps you evaluate and optimize how a business can sell it’s product, service or offering.

The 4 P’s
That framework has four components, called the “4 P’s,” which anyone who’s taken a beginner marketing class can recite.

  1. Price
  2. Product
  3. Promotion
  4. Place

Each of these four levers can be moved in order to optimize any marketing effort. This framework was devised long before the internet existed, so they sound a bit funny in a digital age, but they actually still work the same today as they did when they were invented in 1960.

4 P’s (levers) of Marketing

four levers of marketing
four levers of marketing

An example of an online furniture retailer.

  1. Price – Price can be adjusted to increase sales or increase profit margin. If raising your price increases your profit margin, but cuts your sales in half, you probably want to lower your price.
  2. Product – What designs do you offer? What is the quality of your furniture? How does your brand influence how your products are perceived? Is your product made custom to order? How do your services help define your product, such as returns and customer service?
  3. Promotion – Where and how much do you advertise? What is the Voice of your brand? What messaging does your brand convey? What type of content do you create and how does that impact your marketing goals? Nowadays, Content Marketing has emerged as a juggernaut in the world of marketing and a crucial aspect of promotion.
  4. Place – Where do you sell your product? If you sell online, do you sell on your own site? On a third-party site like Amazon? Do you have an affiliate program that sites can use to sell your product for you in exchange for a small percentage of the sales they generate?
storefront bistro
storefront bistro

Definition of Marketing
The AMA defines Marketing as “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Why is marketing important to Small & Local Businesses?
46% of searches on Google have local intent. And the way people find products and services has evolved over the years. The days of flipping through Yellow Pages to find a plumber is gone. Most people type “plumber near me” into Google. What appears is a map of local plumbers, complete with ratings and local websites Google thinks have quality content to offer. Search engines like Google understand that local businesses are more important to users than national brands or companies that are even 10 or 15 miles away. When users search for your product or service in your local area, if you don’t have things like a completed Google My Business (GMB) or a website optimized for your local area, your business isn’t going to show.

Paid media is particularly important on a local level. The competition is usually much smaller than national or global markets. There are unique ads, like Smart Campaigns in Google Ads, that promote your listings in Maps. And even if you have a good organic presence, it’s relatively cheap and easy for a competitor to buy the ads above your organic listing (including people searching for your brand).

What type of Marketing is most important to Small & Local Businesses?
In 2020, Digital Marketing is by far the most important type of Marketing for small and local businesses. The importance of Google as a means of finding products and services means that a company’s digital presence is paramount.

digital marketing dashboard
digital marketing dashboard

What are the most important parts of Digital Marketing?
The most important part of Digital Marketing for local businesses is search engine optimization (SEO). It affects every part of your Digital Marketing efforts.

The second most important part is Paid Media. Paid Media will often produce more revenue than anything else, so once you have a good SEO strategy, Paid Media is where you will generally spend most of your time, effort and money.

One of the special things about digital marketing is that there is so much data. Data & Analytics are instrumental to modern marketing. You can see how your marketing efforts are performing. You can optimize your SEO and Paid Media with insightful data.

And last, but not least, Content Marketing. The content you create tells Google what you care about. If your site talks a lot about making stuffed animals, you’re probably going to show up in searches for stuffed animals. Creating great content helps get people to your site and leads to people sharing your content around the web. There are so many strategic ways in which having great content leads to successful marketing efforts.

How do I get help with my Digital Marketing?
Know what you’re looking for. For businesses that focus on providing local products and services, you should seek a digital marketing agency that is focused on local businesses. Selling products nationwide is very different than selling products locally out of a storefront. Ask questions about how the agency focuses on local businesses. If you don’t get a clear and precise answer, keep looking. If you find an agency that’s local to you, that’s great and you should always try to support your local community, but agencies that are good at local marketing can do it for any business anywhere.

© 2023 Nic Pederson. Built with Care