It is tempting for marketers to cast aside fundamentals and quickly get down into the weeds with tactical marketing efforts. The appeal of this feel good approach quickly dissipates when marketing goals are not met.
If you hire a personal trainer, many of the best will tell you “focus on the core”. What they mean, simply, is if you ignore the core of your body, your fitness program will not reach its full potential.
What is “Core Marketing?
You will find thousands of different definitions of marketing when you search online. When it gets right down to it, there are two elements to marketing:
- Determine what the customer wants/needs
- Develop an efficient means of delivering it to the customers
That’s it – that is what Core Marketing is all about. Unfortunately many companies assume they know the customer needs, and focus on the development and delivery part. That is a huge mistake. Making assumptions about customers’ ever-changing needs is dangerous. Your product or service simply won’t sell, regardless of any marketing wizardry.
Where should you start?
In almost any marketing situation, focusing on the customers FIRST is a good path to take. Talk to your current customers. Talk to potential target customers. You will probably learn a lot by talking to former customers also! And while I say talk to customers, I really mean LISTEN to customers. Ask questions. Be humble – even the most astute marker is ignorant to customer needs without research. Remember, ignorant does not mean stupid, it means uninformed. Don’t be ignorant. Do your homework and the reward will be the ability to resonate with your customers.
Then What’s Next?
Armed with a clear understanding of the customers’ needs, you are poised to focus on product/service development. (For simplicity we will assume it is a product you are marketing.) The product itself is also “Core Marketing”. Bad products don’t sell. Period. Great products can actually evangelize customers, driving your marketing to new levels. Product development itself is not often considered “marketing” but it is second only to needs identification. Unless you are 100% satisfied you are marketing the best product to fulfill customer needs – stop. You’re wasting your time. Go back to the product and revisit the customer needs if necessary. Your marketing will fail miserably if your product does not truly satisfy the needs you have properly identified.
Resist the temptation to “just get things moving”. Instead focus on core marketing efforts and your odds of success will grow immensely.