You might be thinking about implementing a marketing strategy for your company but don’t understand what that entails or how to initiate an effective plan. Every day, you are surrounded by marketing campaigns, from print ads to commercials and online videos. Marketing is developing and implementing modes of communication with your consumers about your product. These methods are your way of influencing your customers to buy your service or product. Marketing 101 is understanding the demand in your industry, motivations of consumers and finding opportunities for your company.

The first phase of marketing is the discovery process – this is where you understand the landscape, type of demand and where you want to fit into the marketplace. Determining the needs of your customers is an essential part of the process. This is accomplished through market research, where you’ll gather relevant information such as demographics, what service or product is lacking and how you can fill that gap. Outline your goals and objectives and answer some questions: What is your competitive angle? What differentiates you from the competition? These answers will help build a strong foundation for the rest of your marketing campaign.

Another part of the market research and discovery phase is determining your target audience. Identifying your consumers and their motivations for buying a product is key; from there you can tailor your marketing campaign specifically around those factors.

Once you have gathered all the necessary information, you are ready to build a marketing campaign. Develop a strategy based on the research you collected during the discovery process. During this phase, you’ll decide which marketing channel to utilize and where to spend your money.

Target marketing can be particularly useful for a small agency with a limited budget. A small business will need to approach their marketing a little differently than a large corporation. Executing marketing on a smaller budget takes some extra creative thinking to produce some economic plans. When you don’t have a large marketing budget or the resources to advertise to a wide audience, you can tailor your marketing towards a specific group. This will keep costs down, develop the most effective marketing plan with your resources and allow you to be more productive with your marketing dollars.

Marketing revolves around how you as a company decide to communicate with your audience, with the constant goal of selling your service and product to them. A key aspect of marketing is communicating the value of your product to your consumers. Understanding these marketing basics will set you on the right path for creating a marketing plan.