What is Marketing?

Marketing is an umbrella term for various methods used to promote a business. Marketing methods include advertising, PR, and promotions.

Why is Marketing Important?

At the most basic level, marketing is essential for any business, because it is what helps spread the word about your product or service. You’re generally not going to make much money if no one has ever heard of you. Marketing is the service that allows the businessowner to introduce their product and promote it to potential customers. You might have the best product in the world; you might have the most innovative design known to man, but if left in the shadows you might as well take the blueprints and leave them on a shelf to gather dust. If your business is like a car, marketing is like the key that turns on the ignition.

Face-to-Face Marketing

Face-to-face, or traditional marketing, includes everything from charity events, to seminars, to trade shows. There is no doubt that social media is impacting the face-to-face marketing world. Booths at trade shows and fairs almost always have contact details for online versions of their business; whether it’s their Twitter, Facebook page, or company website. Not only this, but it is seen as good marketing strategy to promote your upcoming event on social media before appearing in person at it: even Facebook has a specific function that allows business pages to create an event and invite everyone who likes/follows their page to it.

This is not to say that face-to-face events exist solely as a way of developing online marketing strategies, however. Face-to-face communication is invaluable for 100% effective communication. More than 90% of communication relies on non-verbal cues including gestures and body language. This means that a business owner who only contacts their clients online is losing the ability to communicate effectively. How many times have you talked to someone online and some sort of a misunderstanding has taken place? Everything from product description to dealing with customer complaints or queries has the potential to be misunderstood, and while it initially seems faster to message online, miscommunication can often result in a long-winded conversation just to iron out the confusion that ensues.

Online Marketing

There are infinite ways to market a business online, and websites that specialize in marketing software. Entrepreneurs, unless they’re a pro at computers, should invest in a software developer and/or website developer if they’re serious about having a sophisticated online presence. Whoever is responsible for the building and maintenance of the company website can integrate software that tracks performance data. Depending on the size of the company and the involvement of the owner, this software keeps track of valuable data pertaining to the site; including how many hits a particular page gets, how many clicks a certain button gets, and which product attracts the most buyers. This kind of information is invaluable for businesses, particularly because it appears in digitized form so is inevitably more organized.

Moreover, there are sites that specialize in knowledge about trending applications for business websites and marketing strategies. Applications perform a variety of functions ranging from the creation of instant messaging services for staff to the automation of business emails. There are even some innovative companies online that have started providing a digitized mail service for your physical mail. Such services allow for greater efficiency when dealing with mail; particularly if you’re a small business-owner who works out of home but doesn’t feel comfortable providing your home address on a business card. It’s also a great way to organize your mail, because service providers digitize everything and can even assign it into folders for you. Can you imagine how easy it will be to organize your invoices and divide your personal expenditure from your business expenditure when the taxman comes calling?

With innovative ideas like this on the horizon, it’s no surprise that online marketing is on the rise, with many companies prioritizing their online presence more than ever before.

Which is Better?

Well, this is a tricky one. Neither is better on its own. Online marketing generally has more benefits, but you simply can’t substitute the relationship-building that stems from face-to-face marketing. The most savvy business owners make full use of the wide-reaching benefits of the internet, while also ensuring to schedule lunches, conferences, and other events with potential customers or investors.

Conclusion

Whether you’ve just started a business, are struggling to remain competitive in an industry that seems to be moving completely online, or just wanting to expand into areas outside your comfort zone, online marketing can often provide many opportunities for reaching a wider customer base. Face-to-face marketing is essential, and always will be, because no matter how things progress, the digital world can never adequately replace the building of personal and business relationships. Most businesses require teamwork and leadership; both of which would suffer terribly if everything was conducted online. Plus, there is no website out there that can sell a product as well as a friendly face with an engaging, charismatic manner can. My advice? A wise business-owner would invest equal time into face-to-face and online marketing; and the online version is the one that can be heavily delegated to other members of the workforce.

 

 

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