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Marketing Plan and Marketing Strategy

Marketing is a critical element of any business. Without suitable and sustainable marketing efforts, a majority of the businesses would stare at failure. Here is in this blog I will discuss about Marketing strategy and Marketing Plan. What are some of the best Marketing Plan example?

Benjamin Franklin once correctly mentioned “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Hence without a marketing plan, you are preparing yourself to fail.

Table of Content

  1. Marketing plan –Definition and explanation.
  2. Difference between Marketing Strategy and a marketing plan
  3. Steps in developing a marketing plan
    • Step 1: Carry out a situation analysis
    • Step 2: Enumerate and define a focused target market
    • Step 3: Define the goals
    • Step 4: Analyse your tactics
    • Step 5: Fix a budget
  4. How to structure your marketing plan
    • Business Summary
    • Business Initiatives
    • Target Market
    • Market Strategy
    • Budget
    • Marketing Channels
  5. Draft Template of a marketing plan

1.Marketing plan –Definition and Explanation

At the heart of the overall business plan lies the marketing plan.

A marketing plan is nothing but a detailed one-stop document that describes the marketing and promotional efforts over a specified time frame.

Marketing Plan and Marketing Strategy everything you should know 1 The Digital Chapters

There could a detailed strategic plan spread over a few years and then an annual marketing plan in order to implement the long term strategic goals.

In order words, a marketing plan is nothing but a detailed road-map to define, implement and track the strategic marketing activities over a given period of time.

While individual marketing teams within a company can have different strategies all of them eventually work towards a common objective.

2. Difference between marketing strategy and marketing plan

Marketing Strategy and Marketing Planning

Marketing strategy and marketing plan are often used interchangeably. However they are different. The marketing strategy is a description of how a corporation will accomplish a specific goal.

A strategy could include the various marketing content, the market campaigns and the marketing types (ATL, TTL, and TTL) applicable.

Additionally the strategy could specify how the objective will be tracked.

A marketing plan is an aggregation of various marketing strategies.

Simply visualize the marketing plan as an elaborate framework from where the various marketing strategies are generates and this same framework itself helps you connect each of the defined strategy back to the larger marketing goal.          


Consider an example, wherein an organization is in the process of launching a brand new Software product and you want so attract customers to this software.

The primary objective of the marketing plan is creating a market for the product you’re selling by describing the product along with drivers that will boost the sales.  

They would use various strategies to implement this plan like launching a blog, sharing YouTube videos, writing Twitter feeds amongst others.

Thus in the above example, there is a distinct difference noted between a plan and a strategy.

While the marketing plan is focused on launching the new software and consequently drive sales, the plan would be executed using the various strategies like blogs, YouTube videos and Twitter feeds.

3. 5 Steps to create a marketing plan

5 Steps to create a marketing plan

Step 1: Carry out a situation analysis

Before detailing a marketing plan, it is imperative to know where you stand and what the current situation you find yourself in is.

Try plot out a strength, weakness, opportunities an threat analysis as a basic first step. In addition assess the current market and where you stand in relation to your competitors.

Try to find out gaps in your competitors’ products that can offer you a competitive advantage.

Step 2: Enumerate and define a focussed target market

Create an ideal buyer image that would buy your company products. Conduct a market research. Identify the proposed target audience in terms of demographics like age, location, income and other criteria. Try and understand what the drivers for your target audience are.

Step 3: Define the goals

Define the marketing goals that must be fulfilled. The defined goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

For instance, a goal could be to increase the sales by 15% in 6 months. Basis the overall marketing goals, the goals must be specific and attainable.

Step 4: Analyse your tactics

This section of the plan deals with identifying the tactics that will help you achieve your marketing goals along with laying down the marketing  channels and the action items to be especially focussed upon.

Step 5: Fix a budget

Prior to implementing any of the ideas one must know the financial resources available at their disposal. For instance your proposal may have television commercial runs.

However if you don’t have the required budget for the same, you may be able to achieve this goal. While deciding on the tactics, one must have a note of the estimated budget and align the tactics accordingly.

4.      How to structure your marketing plan

Whether one is into directly selling to consumers (B2C) or it is selling to other businesses (B2B), there is a common underlying structure to make and effective marketing plan.

The structure should normally be arranged in a logical sequence. Below is a basic sequential structural outline.

1.      Business Summary

This section is self-explanatory and enumerates your origination details and highlights the mission statement consistent with the business.

In addition the same should include a brief summary of the business as a whole.

Post that same should move on to focus on the marketing aspects and highlight the strengths and weaknesses via SWOT analysis.

2.      Business Initiatives

This segment helps arrange the various goals of the marketing department. Specific marketing related projects should be outlined in detail.

Additionally the detailed description of the goals and the ways of tracking those goals must be mentioned. 

3.      Focus on Target Marketing

Describe the customer you`re selling to, competition analysis and your ideal buyer demographics. The goal is to create a your company`s buyer persona.

This can be carried out through a detailed market search. The buyer persona would be a character depicting your ideal end customer and would have defined attributes in terms of job titles, age, location and other demographics,

4.      Market Strategy

This segment used the date enumerated in the target market section to elaborate on ways to tap or capture the said market.

This section details the product, price, place, promotion, people, process, and physical evidence more popularly known as the 7Ps of marketing.

5.      Budget

The budget aspect of the marketing plan is not to be confused with the end product`s price.

This section deal with the financial resources available with the marketing team to pursue the marketing objectives highlighted in the plan.

Depending on the overall budget, the company must consider segregating the budget amongst various activities.

For instance, one can segregate the spends basis –Marketing agency hire, Software hire, promotional hire, event organizations.

6.      Marketing Channels

The final section of the marketing plan deals with the marketing channels being employed.

The marketing channels are the eventual medium used to pass on your and your company’s message to the end users and spread awareness.

Whether you opt for mass market channels, niche targeted marking channels or a combination of the two is elaborated in this section.

This section also serves to convince the internal stakeholders about the proposed success of your channels.

5.      Draft Template of a marketing plan

Company Name: Write Your Company Name Here

Date: Date on this day you are creating it

Executive Summary: This is a small, summarized version of the detailed marketing plan. The objective is it to briefly highlight and list and describe the necessary components of the plan. This is typically a summary for the top management executives who may not in a position to read the entire detailed plan. Hence this section captures the essence of the whole plan.

Mission Statement

  • What do you want to do?
  • Why do you want to do it?
  • Who do you do it for?

Current Situation analysis

  • Product/ Service
    • Describe the product or service being marketed
  • Unique Selling proposition (USP)
    • Describe what differentiates you from your competitors
  • Best Practices
    • Describe your practices and compare it with industry prevalent best practices
  • Marketing objectives and performance
    • Define objectives and how to achieve them
  • Challenges
    • Describe the current challenges being faced by your company
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Competition Analysis

Target Market

  • Identify companies in your target market?
  • Describe how can you reach them?
  • Reasons the customers would buy your product or avail the service.
  • Why could they refuse to buy your product or service
  • What are their current needs?

Define Pricing Strategies

  • Cost Based?
  • Competitor Based?
  • Skimming Approach?
  • Penetration Approach?
  • Bundle Pricing Approach?

Distribution Strategy

  • Which is the preferred distribution channel?
  • Reasons for choosing it over others
  • Highlight the costs related to distributing your products or services?
  • How does your distribution channel affect your delivery times.

Describe the various available channels

Check the available channels

  1. Blog Posts
  2. Word of mouth publicity
  3. Embedded internet search engine marketing
  4. Billboard and other display advertisements
  5. Outdoor events
  6. Search Engine Optimization
  7. Content Marketing
  8. Email Marketing
  9. Viral Marketing
  10. Engineering as Marketing
  11. Business Development
  12. Sales
  13. Affiliate Programs
  14. Existing Platforms
  15. Trade Shows
  16. Offline Events
  17. Speaking Engagements
  18. Community Building

Select the top 5 traction channels

  • Define channel testing methodologies

Budgeting

  • Prepare a detailed budgeting template and segregate the budget activity wise
Marketing Plan and Marketing strategy

Marketing and promotional activities are amongst the most critical activities towards product selling. Originally the marketing lines were used to differentiate between promotional activities which have mass market penetration (above the line or ATL) as compared to those had specific segmental penetration (below the line or BTL).

All about ATL, BTL and TTL Marketing Activities 3 The Digital Chapters
ATL BTL TTL

Over a period of time with advancement in technologies and increased competition, an integrated market penetration approach emerged which blurred the lines and included aspects of both ATL and BTL approaches.

This approach is called Through the Line or the TTL approach. This article looks at understanding these various approaches through real life examples, looks at various activities and ideas involved in the approaches.

Table of content

  1. Above the Line (ATL) advertising
  2. Types of above the line activities
    • Television
    • Radio
    • Print advertisements
    • Outdoor Advertising/ Cinema Advertising
  3. An example of ATL marketing activity
  4. Advantages of ATL marketing
  5. Disadvantages of ATL marketing
  6. Below the Line (BTL) advertising
  7. Types of above the line activities
    • Television
    • Radio
    • Print advertisements
    • Outdoor Advertising/ Cinema Advertising
  8. An example of ATL marketing activity
  9. Advantages of ATL marketing
  10. Disadvantages of ATL marketing
  11. Through the Line (TTL) advertising
    • Examples of TTL marketing
  12. Conclusion

Above the Line (ATL) advertising

‘ATL Marketing’ or ‘Above the Line Marketing’ is the kind of marketing that has a very broad reach and is largely not specifically directed.

All about ATL, BTL and TTL Marketing Activities 4 The Digital Chapters

It is a sort of a mass market traditional marketing approach to create or spread brand awareness on a large scale or a mass scale.

ATL is extensively used for products which are of mass use and specific targeting is not needed or not required.

The primary purpose of the ATL approach is not to track specific customer conversations but to educate the customers on the existence of a product and look at building a brand.

Given its nature ATL uses untargeted mass market methods with an intent of directing the sales message at anybody with access to advertising mediums.

Consider an example of a soap bar. Being an FMCG product it is an apt candidate for ATL marketing. Mass market products like soap require maximum market coverage instead of specific segment coverage.

Since a lot of alternatives are available for FMCG products, the higher the amount of ATL advertising, more will be the branch recall and consequently the sale.

Hence FMCG companies are likely to employ ATL promotion method.

Types of Above the Line Activities

o   Television

Television is a widely used but an expensive ATL medium. An average viewer spends a few hours in front of the television everyday. TV advertisements have a wide reach from local, to national to an international target audience.

Television advertisements have lasting impact with the audiences as moving images are accompanied with audio signals which create a lasting impression in the mind of the viewer.

o   Radio

Radio is an affordable alternative to television and is extensively used for repeat messaging. Constant repeat messaging in the form of jingles attracts viewer attention. Radios too have a reach ranging from local to international.

o   Print Advertisements (magazine & newspaper)

Local, regional and national print media has a wide direct reach.

The newspapers and magazine are tangible items and the advertisements here have a repeat value in the sense that the same advertisement can be referred again and again.

Newspapers have several advertisement-slots that can be used to inform customers / prospective customers about the brand offering or prevalent promotion schemes.

Magazines exist in segments and make it easier for marketers to reach their target directly through them.

o   Outdoor Advertising/ Cinema Advertising

Outdoor advertising is done through banners, billboards, flags, tickers etc. To ensure effectiveness they are usually done at public places and hence they attract a lot of eyeballs.

An alternative method of advertisement is via cinemas where ads are normally run before the beginning of the move or during the intermission.

If we arrange the ATL medium spends in relation to the cost, get the below

Television >> Newspapers >> Radio / Out of home >> Cinema

Example of ATL Marketing Activity

An apt example would be the campaign run by Nirma for its washing power.

All about ATL, BTL and TTL Marketing Activities 5 The Digital Chapters

It has created some great commercials that are shown via television channels, radio, newspapers and magazines.

The ads are aired across the country through these medium and every viewer sees the exact same message.

These ads are be used to create brand awareness and convey information regarding the washing powder.

Advantages of ATL Marketing

Wider Reach

A well designed ATL campaign ensured greater market reach and helps the company spread its brand product message far and wide.

Several banks and retail chains regularly use ATL campaigns to attract customers to their points of sale.

Attention

Combining audio with visual enables the penetration levels of ATL to be higher than the other means of promotion.

Newspapers have high involvement so that the customer does read through the ads also. Similarly large illuminated billboards and tickers attract attention.

Brand building

It effectively enable a company to build its brand

Disadvantages of ATL Marketing

  • It is costly.
  • It is difficult to directly measure the impact in terms of sales. Directly measuring the effectiveness of ROI of a television of a newspaper campaign is difficult.

Below the Line Advertising

BTL refers to the practices of making use of means of advertisement and promotion that do not directly use mass media like radio, television, billboards, print, and other outdoor formats.

All about ATL, BTL and TTL Marketing Activities 6 The Digital Chapters

BTL methods are typically used to target specific audience instead of casting a campaign for the mass markets.

The main types of below-the-line advertising systems include direct mail campaigns, trade shows, catalogs, and targeted search engine marketing.

BTL advertising methods tend to be less expensive and more focused versus above-the-line strategies. BTL methods are comparatively low cost which target a specific audience and is a focussed means of communication.

For instance, a BTL approach would focus on something like an in-store demonstration of product rather than airing a television campaign during a show.

This allows of a specific high-level customer experience since there is direct interaction between the customer and the sales person.

Types of Below the Line Activities

Targeted online marketing

Many companies indulge in direct targeted SMS facilities, social media posts and targeted pamphlets to the target audience.

Advertisers can target specific demographics with their promotion campaign such as age, income, industry related targeting.

LinkedIn for example allows agencies to target specific audience based on their professional experience.

Online marketing can also use tools like Google apps. The internet is one of the fastest growing vehicle for BTL advertisement.

Direct Mailing

Agencies still engage in direct mail advertising, generally targeting the older demographics that are not online as often as their younger counterparts. Catalaog mailings and postcard mailings are popular forms of this form of advertisement.

Trade Shows and Presentations

A good way to target a specified audience it through dedicated trade shows and presentation. This method is widely used by companies in the technical and sector.

Common examples are automobile expo`s, machine fairs etc.

Sponsorship of events and competition

Another effective means of advertisement is sponsorship of an event which makes use of your product/ services.

For example, a sport company sponsoring a tennis event or a badminton event is a prime example

Sales promotions

This is a very common method of attracting a customer. Do you notice how several E- commerce companies keep coming up with “SALE” under some pretext or the other.

This s because they want to sell in high volume. Sales promotion is not used only at the end consumer.

Dealers can be given additional discounts just so they pick up higher volumes and hence focuses on the product to sell it better.

Example of BTL Marketing Activity

Consider the example of low calorie drink by Coca Cola, targeting commuters on way to the gym. Coke offers free samples of their drink along with promotional vouchers that could be redeemed in local stores.

This is an effective strategy designed to target a defined group of people (health conscious) to encourage quick turnaround in terms of purchases.

Advantages of BTL Marketing

  • Great for building customer relationship through targeted promotion
  • Required lower capital commitment compared to traditional ATL methods.
  • Offers a deep direct reach and the opportunity to connect with customers in an entirely new way
  • The effectiveness of the promotion is comparatively easier to track in terms of the ROI sales/ leads generated.
  • It has the potential for viral marketing
  • Better conversation/ response rate compared to traditional ATL methods.
  • This method of promotion is highly relevant to the local traditions and culture as advertisement can be customized to the local preferences

Disadvantages of BTL Marketing

  • Defining correct target segments may be difficult
  • Specific and detailed training may be required for sales staff.
  • This requires a deep understanding of the customers and their preferences.
  • It cannot be a template method to target diverse cultures and same would need personalization.

Through the Line

TTL method of promotion encompasses an integrated approach adopting partial strategies of both ATL and BTL methods.

All about ATL, BTL and TTL Marketing Activities 7 The Digital Chapters

The primary objective is to get a “Big Picture” of the market and communicate with the customers with in every possible means.

Combining both ATL and BTL activities, TTL activities aim at better brand recall and maximum brand visibility. It is 360-degree advertising where campaigns are developed with the vision of brand building as well as conversions.

With the rise of digital marketing an Pay Per Click models and social media, advertisers are looking at TTL approach to drive sales through increasing traffic either at websites or to physical stores.

The major challenge of TTL activities is the cost associated with implementing various promotional campaigns.

It is usually only established or financially secure companies that can implement TTL activities successfully.

Examples of TTL Marketing Activity

Let’s take an example of a well-known property developer DAMAC in UAE. It is a fine example of TTL advertising. It uses hoardings, mall activations and online banner ads in addition to print media.

As a part of ATL advertisements it places hoardings for its upcoming projects at key public places like the airport. This is untargeted marketing.

For its BTL campaign, DAMAC uses property booths inside malls. It effectively uses this campaign to generate leads within the target group.

With a TTL approach, DAMAC creates redirecting pages to direct traffic to its sales website.

It uses various campaigns on social media including FaceBook, Instagram, YouTube etc.

With the usage of cookies, it follows your trail through the internet.

Next time you login to your social media account again you are likely to see DAMAC ads. This time it may also include a personalized offer.

Numerous brands like BATA, RedChief Shoes, Monte Carlo, Lodha Developers amongst others follow a TTL approach.

Apart from ATL approaches, these companies provide customized campaigns for different demographics which form a part of the BTL campaign.

Additionally these brands come with various social media campaigns with an integrated 360 degree approach.

Conclusion

There is no “applicable in all situations” market approach. While ATL method may work for some companies like FMCG, others may need to adopt a BTL approach.

With the evaluation of customer preferences and advance of digital marketing a lot of companies are adopting the TTL approach.

Eventually it boils down to how well marketers read the market and what is the best fit for passing on your company`s message to the customer.

The Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a traditional foundation model for business which provides the basis for marketing strategy for businesses. Whether it is a small home business or a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, understanding of the marketing mix is of paramount importance for it could mean the difference between success and failure.

The original concept of marketing mix was introduced by Neil Borden to refer to the distinct elements which according to him were critical to marketing of a product and differentiate it from its competitors.

Table of Content

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Promotion
  4. Place
  5. Advantages of a marketing mix
  6. Disadvantages and limitations of a marketing mix
  7. 4Ps explained with an example
    1. Product
    2. Price
    3. Promotion
    4. Place
  8. Conclusion

As years passed, the concept of marketing mix evolved into the “Four Ps” of marketing which were formally coined by E. Jerome Mcarthy.  The “Four Ps” in marketing are

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place

Let’s explore these element in further details

Product

According to Philip Kotler:

“A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption. It includes physical objects, services, personalities, place, organizations and ideas.”

In other words, product is something that the producer sells to its consumers in the market. It could be a tangible product, an experience, an idea or a service.

It is the first activity in the marketing cycle and begins with an idea. The idea is normally something which satisfies a customer need.

The product can be a tangible product, intangible like service or a combination of both.

For example a regular ball point pen is something where in normal course you would not expect a service following the sale.

However in a fine dining restaurant, you get the physical product (food) and along with it comes the service experience.

The service part determines the overall experience and would include the staff behavior, service time and ambiance.

The key to an effective product is ensuring you have the right offering for the customer demands. One must look at the product from the perspective of the customer. Ask yourself

1. Does your product benefit the customer?

2. Does your product have the necessary features?

3. How is your product unique in comparison to competitors?

Price

The price is the value or the money the customer pays in exchange of your product or service. While the other elements of the marketing mix are en expense, price is an earning.

Getting the price right is extremely critical to success of your business.

There are several considerations while pricing and pricing definitely affects the customer perception of your product or brand.

For instance in automobiles a Suzuki car is priced very differently from a Mercedes car. One caters to the mass market while the other caters to a relative niche.

There are several pricing strategies like skimming (useful for innovative products), predatory low pricing (for a normal “new” product) or perceived value pricing (depending on product positioning).

Additionally one needs to be have a flexible approach toward pricing. It is important to understand the price elasticity of the product.

Decreasing the price slightly may cause a significant surge in demand.

While managing the pricing, ask yourself:

1. How does my price relate to my break-even ?

2. What is the perceived value of my product to the customer ?

3. How is my product prices in relation to the competitors?

Promotion

Promotion is the most visible element of the marketing mix. It is essentially all the communication you make to your potential customer regarding your product or service.

The promotion mix for your said product/ service is defines by various factors and can greatly influence the end success.

Promotion could be in the form of formal advertising, personal selling, online selling or relationship based selling. With the advent of the digital channels the promotional activity have undergone a sea change.

Aside from the television and print medium, internet has emerged as a strong alternative medium with an extensive reach. However for expensive or niche products personal selling still works best.

The promotion activities need to evolve constantly with changing times as the market is extremely dynamic.

Strategies that work today may not work tomorrow, so one must constantly tinker their plans.

When it comes to promotion, ask yourself:

1. How much can you spend on promotion?

2. Should you go for television ads or online or mix of both?

3. Does your promotional message convey your product or service essence?

4. How does your promotion compare with that of your competitors

Place

This is often the most overlooked aspect of the marketing mix. However placement is an extremely critical part.

Place here refers to the product placement and encompasses things like distribution network and the various channels employed for the same.

The important of placement in the marketing mix cannot be overestimated. What is the use of a great, well priced product that people know of but they cannot access it.

As a producer, you need to make sure that your product is available in areas accessible to your end consumer. For this one needs a thorough understanding of the market and the customer accessibility.

Putting it simply, it would mean answers questions like how is your sold and where is it brought.

The movement of the product from your production facility to the end customer could be through a combination of intermediaries like distributors, wholesalers and retailers.

You product or service normally dictates how it is placed.

You may look at direct selling (useful in case of seasonal products) or look at more complex Distribution methods may include, but are not limited to, door-to-door, retail, e-commerce, mail order, or on-site.

Depending on the market being catered you could look at intensive distribution, selective distribution or exclusive distribution.

The power of distribution is demonstrated by organization like Coca-Cola where the distribution channels are so strong.

So have a strong product placement, ask yourself the following

1. Where would your customers normally look for your product?

2. Are your products available at the right place and at the right time?

3. Where does your placement stand in relation to your competitors?

4. Marketing mix is an effective foundation framework that has certain advantages

Advantages of a marketing mix

It brings together various aspects of marketing decision making into a single framework making it easier to manage.

Allows segregating of marketing activities and allocation of the same to specialists.

It helps identify key drivers of sales, profit and performance.

It helps identify several high level “What if” scenarios and that compare market tactics; product sales activities and asses budget allocation across channels

It helps identify where you stand in conjunction to your competitors.

Enables you to efficient resource allocation across various activities and allows varying your activities in relation to the market conditions prevalent.

Allows you to take decisions taking in mind various interconnected aspects of marketing.

But like every framework, the traditional marketing mix also has a few drawbacks and limitations. One needs to be aware of the framework while applying it in a business context.

Disadvantages and limitations of a marketing mix

The marketing mix is not oriented towards customer behaviour, but is internal to the producer organization

The model does not take into account an iterative process of customer interaction and considers the customers as passive.

It is simplistic in the fact that it considers a singular product or service. However in today`s times most companies sell several products and services in a mix.

It does not account for customer relationships in terms of understanding behaviour patterns. This is an important

It does not address issues pertaining to productivity in terms of quality of product or service delivery.

Over the years the marketing mix has evolved to include three other elements i.e.  People, processes and Physical environment.

This has helped overcome some of the limitations to an extent. However overall the model is still oriented internally.

People

This aspect deals with the people driving the marketing mix. Having the right people is essential as they are the one`s driving your service experience to the customer.

Processes 

This deals with the steps which are required to deliver the product or service to the customer. The companies should share the process maps to their employees to ensure repeatable and successful delivery of product or service.

Physical Evidence 

This could be the place where the service is delivered and would include the branding and overall environment for the service delivery.

4Ps explained with an example

Let’s consider the example of McDonald’s. McDonald’s mix (4Ps) involves varied approaches that enable it to meet its business targets in geographically and economically different markets spread across the world.

McDonald`s uses it`s globally acclaimed marketing mix and replicated it across numerous locations and franchise.

While it is mostly standardized, McDonald’s also applies some variations in its marketing mix to suit the conditions of local or regional markets. 

Product

Its product mix consists mostly of food and beverage products.

The product mix includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and has gradually expanded the product offerings from its famous burgers to items like deserts, breakfast options, and customized beverages.

Expanding the product mix reduces the company’s dependence on singular products.

Price

The company uses unique pricing strategies including bundle and psychological pricing strategies. For example bundling items together into a happy meal and offering pricing that is less than the sum of whole.

Also offering prices like INR 49/99/- instead of INR 50/- or INR 100/-

Promotion

McDonald’s extensively uses television and print advertisement for its products.

Additionally attaching discount coupons with newspapers is another popular method of attracting people to its restaurants or incentivise people to order home.

Place

McDonald’s delivers its product and services through a mix of restaurants, kiosks, mobile apps and its website.

While its restaurants are the places where the company generates the majority of the revenues, the other formats are becoming increasingly popular.

For instance the small kiosks deal with limited items like ice creams and drinks, while the app and the website are extensively used to order from home.

Conclusion

While the Marketing Mix products a useful framework for evolving the marketing strategies, in today`s time, it must be used in conjunction with strategies that account for customer behaviour and customer relationship management. In other words, the marketing mix must be customer-centric.

Top Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home in

“Work from home,” demands appropriate utilization of the best technology for working remotely. It would mean proper know-how about remote working tools and work from home tools as well.

“Work from home,” would also require remote working equipment along with remote working accessories.

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home 9 The Digital Chapters

Table of Content

  1. Hardware Tools
    1. Mobile
    2. Laptop
    3. Camera
    4. Wifi-Internet
  2. Google Tools
    1. Drive
    2. gmail
    3. Hangout
    4. sHEET
  3. Video communication and Conference Tools
    1. ZOOM
    2. SKYPE
    3. PukkaTeam
    4. Join.Me
  4. Real-time messaging and Group Chat
    1. Glip  
    2. Float
    3. Chanty
    4. Hangouts Chat
    5. Slack
    6. Flock
    7. Campfire
  5. Project management tool
    1. GanttPRO
    2. Teamdeck
    3. Monday.com
    4. Podio
    5. Microsoft Teams
    6. Asana
  6. Task Management and Task reporting
    1. Datadeck
    2. Ninja Reports
    3. Trello
    4. Taskworld
    5. Wunderlist
  7. Screen Sharing Tools
    1. ScreenHero
    2. GitHub
    3. TeamViewer
  8. Cloud Storage, File Sharing and teamwork Collaboration  
    1. Google Drive
    2. Dropbox
    3. Box
  9. Time Management tools
    1. Timely
    2. Toggle
    3. everhour
  10. Performance Management Tools
    1. WebLOAD
    2. LoadView
    3. RedLine13
    4. Silk Performer
    5. LoadUI Pro

In order to facilitate “Work from home,” we attempt to shed some light upon the prominent remote working accessories and the top 10 digital tools available for working from your home.

1. Hardware Tools:

A very important component of the remote working equipment is the Hardware tools. These tools provide us with the framework to facilitate “Work from home.” Some of the important Hardware Tools are as follows:

1.1 Mobile:

A mobile phone is a critical element of the work from home tools. A mobile phone facilitates communication through voice calls, text messaging, group messaging, chats and the like.

A mobile phone also facilitates quick mail sending and receiving process at your fingertips.

1.2 Laptop:

A laptop is an absolute necessity to log on to your work domain and connect to critical work processes over a secured channel. A laptop can become an easy substitute to your workplace desktop machine.

1.3 Camera:

A camera facilitates video chatting, video conferences and live teleconferencing. This provides an opportunity to share your work related queries, and discuss problems and solutions with colleagues and clients.

1.4 Wi-Fi-Internet

One of the most essential work from home tools is the Internet. Without the availability of internet, you won’t be able to connect with your servers and also no conferencing facilities and email or chatting facilities would be available to you.

Moreover, a Wi-Fi availability is an absolute necessity to get you Laptop and Mobile connected with the Internet easily.

The Wi-Fi connectivity ensures you can easily perform your tasks sitting in your own room without much interference from others around.

2. Google Tools

Google tools are a set of accessories and tools which you can easily utilize during the “Work from home.” Google has developed a wide variety of tools and the following ones are few of them you should know about for using them as work from home tools.

2.1 Drive

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

Google Drive is a powerful and spacious cloud storage platform provided by Google. You can keep all your essential files in Google Drive and carry them around virtually accessing them as and when required over the internet. The files stored in Google Drive are much secured as Google has a very safe Security Policy protecting the Integrity of Drive files.

2.2 Gmail

Gmail is the mail service provided by Google. It is of types one a free email service the other a paid one. Gmail enables you to utilise their mail service and global network for faster and reliable Email delivery and receipt services.

2.3 Hangout

Google has created an effective and modern chat service named Hangout. Through Hangout, you can chat and instantaneously message your colleagues and clients or seniors and communicate with them over the Internet. It also allows audio and video chats and messages as well as file sharing.

 2.4 Goolge SHEETS / Spread Sheet

Google SHEETS are cloud based spreadsheet document program developed by Google. With SHEETS, you can easily perform all your tabulation and reporting work online over the internet. This tool can be one very handy remote working tool and can easily assist you in report generation while working from home.

3. Video Communication and Conference Tools

In order to effective confer with colleagues and clients; video conferencing over the internet is a very essential remote working tool. The following conferencing tools may be resorted to while working from home.

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

3.1 ZOOM

ZOOM is an effective business video conferencing platform which can be used to host and join video conference meetings. ZOOM also supports Video Webinar, Conference Rooms, Phone System and Business Instant Messaging.

3.2 SKYPE

Skype is one powerful and robust video calling software. It was launched in 2003. Since its launch, Skype has grown to be well known and massively used software. Skype Calls are very clear and of a higher quality. Skype also supports audio messaging and file sharing.

3.3 PukkaTeam

PukkaTeam is remote communication software. It keeps you in touch with your teammates and has a very smart artificial Intelligence enabled system which detects the presence and absence of any member during the meeting sessions.

3.4 JoinMe

JoinMe is a simple yet powerful application designed for web based meetings and conferences. It supports screen sharing and also shares applications, web pages and documents with partners.

4. Real-Time Messaging and Group Chats

Real-time Messaging has grown in prominence over the years with the advent of the internet; text messaging has made way for its real-time counterpart-Instant Messaging. 

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

Instant Messaging and Group Chats are effective remote working accessories, which help you to know the responses of teammates over an issue.

Some popular Messaging and Chat Softwares are:

4.1 GLIP

It is software which encompasses free real-time messaging and chats. GLIP also supports video chats and task management and is aimed at team collaboration and task completion.

4.2 Float

Float is a resource planning application which provides you composite availability status of your teammates, track team’s timings, and multi-project planning and provides you with easy and stress free scheduling power.

4.3 Chanty

Chanty is powerful real-time chatting software which is incorporated with Artificial Intelligence.  It lets you to communicate, collaborate, connect, organize meetings and create a Focus notification smartly.

4.4 Hangouts Chat

Google’s Hangout chats provides excellent medium of multi-party communication using voice, video and group conferencing. File sharing and resource sharing are added features of Hangouts with the added assurance of Google’s privacy and safety.

4.5 Slack

Slack is an advanced business application incorporating real-time chatting and files sharing features. Slack is a secured environment wherein you can collaborate with teammates and discuss with them critical business or process related issues securely.

4.6 Flock

It is one of the best team communication applications with inbuilt online collaboration feature, team messaging feature, video calling feature, and resource sharing feature.

5. Project Management Tools

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

When at home, and working on a certain project, these project management tools offer us with the best technology for working remotely. We take a look into details of some of them.

5.1 GanttPRO

GanttPRO is very efficient software for online project management. Armed with tools like online drag and drop facility, team progress monitoring and management and a mix of online plans for your project.

5.2 Teamdeck

Teamdeck is another project resource management tool, which can be utilised effectively for scheduling, time tracking, online leave management and preparing timesheets of fellow colleagues and subordinates.

5.3 Monday.com

Monday.com can be termed as a complete work operating system. It enables you to create and manage an entire workflow in a code-free and secure environment.

5.4 Podio

It is a web based platform providing team communication, organizing tools, resource management and workspaces as demanded by users.

5.5 Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a unified team collaboration and communication platform. This platform gives its users workspaces, text and video chats and meetings as well as file storage facilities to choose from as per their needs and demands.

5.6 Asana

Asana is an application which is developed to give its users the facilities like organizing, tracking and managing work. It can well be regarded as a team productivity monitoring tool which encompasses team collaboration as well.

6. Task Management and Task Reporting

The following are some of the Task Management and Task Reporting tools which could constitute remote working accessories.

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

6.1 Datadeck 

Datadeck is a modern and efficient way to create goal oriented teams and manage processes and businesses using data. It enables you to track and monitor data and identify trends facilitating actions and optimizations.

6.2 Ninja Reports

Ninja Reports uses Artificial Intelligence to prepare beautifully compiled and stunning reports of your project.

6.3 Trello

Trello lets you optimize your day to day tasks by facilitating list-making which forms basics steps in project organizing.

6.4 Taskworld

Taskworld is a cloud based platform facilitating project management by means of task management. It provides means and medium for task delegation, proper communication and tracking for effective task monitoring.

6.5 Wunderlust

Wunderlust is another cloud based project management platform designed to enable its users numerous facilities to choose from. But sadly enough Wunderlust is being discontinued and is going to end in May 2020.

7. Screen Sharing Tools

In the context of work from home tools, screen sharing tools are very important medium and amongst the best technologies for working remotely. Some of them are as follows:

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

7.1 ScreenHero

ScreenHero is a collaboration tool which can be utilised to share screen, keyboards and mice together for simultaneous project work completion.

7.2 GitHub

GitHub is another powerful screen sharing and hosting software, which enables developers discover, share, and contribute for building better software.

7.3 Teamviewer

Teamviewer is a very powerful application which facilitates remote desktop sharing, file sharing and transfer facilities.

8. Cloud Storage, File Sharing and teamwork Collaboration

Cloud storage, file sharing and team collaboration tools are remote working tools which may be beneficial during work from home. Some of them are:

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

8.1 Google Drive

Google Drive is an online storage platform which provides relentless and safe data storage facilities to users over the cloud.

8.2 Dropbox

Dropbox is another online storage platform facilitating online file storage and sharing. Dropbox enables link sharing via emails amongst users and supports data privacy and security.

8.3 Box

Box is a cloud based content management and file sharing service. This service enables its users to perform data storage and secure sharing facilities to its users.

9. Time Management tools: 

Time management is very important aspect of “Work from Home.” The following tools can be utilized as effective remote working tools:

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

9.1 Timely

Timely is a fully automatic time tracking software designed to keep track of timings to facilitate workload balances.

9.2 Toggle

Toggle is another time tracking application designed for online time tracking and recording.

9.3 EverHour

EverHour is team time tracking software which enables users to track and record timings of teammates and group mates.

10. Performance Management Tools:

Performance management tools are essential remote working tools intended to gauge the performance of the processes and projects. Some of the tools are:

Top 10 types of Digital Tools and Software to use while working from Home

10.1 WebLoad

WebLoad is a unique performance management tools designed to monitor project progress performance using very sophisticated web based tools.

10.2 LoadView

Loadview is another performance management tool used to analyze team task progress.

10.3 Redline13

RedLIne13 is a power tool for online project management and progress measuring.

10.4 Blazemeter

Blazemeter tool is software which enables mangers to monitor project progress very minutely and address needs if any.

10.5 LoadUI Pro

LoadUI pro is a cloud based performance management software intented at online project management.

Marketing for Beginners: The 4ps of marketing explain

What is Marketing ? this is first question arises in Marketing Beginners mind. When you start learning the Marketing Basics, you are expected understand the meaning of Marketing. So, What are the Marketing Basics and What are the 4p’s of Marketing.

I am going to explain you everything about marketing for beginners by this blog.

Table of Content

  1. What is Marketing
  2. Importance of Marketing
  3. Marketing and Advertisement
  4. Marketing, Promotion, and Branding
  5. Types of Marketing
    1. Influencer Marketing
    2. Relationship Marketing:
    3. Viral marketing:
    4. Green Marketing
    5. Keyword Marketing
    6. Guerrilla Marketing
  6. 4 P’s of Marketing
    1. Product
    2. Price
    3. Place
    4. Promotion

What is Marketing?

Marketing is an action that businesses take to promote their product and services.
This is a process where businesses create a set of activities to attract their potentials customers or clients to their product and services.

Shelby Hunt defined it in 1976 as

“the study and management of exchange relationships” in the Journal of Marketing.

The American Marketing Association, in 2017, defined marketing as

“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.”

As we can see, this a very broad definition that encompasses a lot of areas to focus on.

To understand marketing, we must break down the definition and look at it in parts. The first part of the definition – “the activity, set of institutions and processes” refers to activities such as advertising and institutions like corporations and their brands.

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as

“a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

These brands utilize processes and activities for “creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging” goods and/or services that are designed specifically to be of great value to the consumer in question.

The last part of the definition refers to how marketing and its principles apply not only in business or economic contexts but to general societal situations as well.

In a more practical sense, marketing can be referred to as a means of acquiring and applying the knowledge of consumer patterns, preferences and needs to maximize the satisfaction of the consumer and increase the outreach and efficiency of advertisement strategies and promotional campaigns.

It is the process of identifying, anticipating and satisfying customers’ needs and wants.

Marketing techniques and processes are the way through which manufacturers obtain data about consumer behavior and patterns of spending, as well as other data such as age and race demographics.

The data is compiled and analyzed to anticipate consumer behavior and provide an insight into the mind of a consumer. Through this research, a company understands the needs and wants of a consumer, which allows them to predict the value a consumer derives from a good or service with greater accuracy.

This allows the company to establish a long-standing relationship with the consumer that is beneficial to both parties.

Importance of Marketing

Therefore, marketing plays a very important role in contributing to a company’s sales, revenue and profit margins.

From deciding what product to manufacture, to how it will be delivered to the consumer and through which channels, all the answers to these questions involve marketing heavily.

The data is then used as the basis for promotional strategies adopted by companies, as well as advertising campaigns launched by them.

Apart from making up a huge and crucial component of sales and advertisement, marketing plays an important role in other areas of a company.

Not only does it impact a company’s manufacturing and sales policies, but marketing is also responsible for how a company is perceived by its consumers and society at large.

The overall image of a company and the creation of its brand identity is something that is handled by the marketing department and can play a huge role in a company’s fortunes.

For example – The perception of Apple being an ‘elite’ brand allows them to retain a large market percentage despite facing stiff competition from rivals that sell at lower prices.

Marketing covers product development, market research, advertisement campaigns, product distribution, sales strategy, public relations, and customer support.

It remains necessary in all the stages of a sale, and it can be used in multiple ways such as various social media platforms, or teams of people identifying consumer behavior and acting on it to establish a long-standing relationship with the consumer and maximize brand loyalty.

Advertising comes under the process of marketing.

The Economic Times defines advertising as

“a means of communication with the users of a product or service.”

The UK Advertising association defines it as such

“Advertisements are messages paid for by those who send them and are intended to inform or influence people who receive them.”

Advertising is a means of grabbing a consumer’s attention and making them aware of a certain good or service and its benefits, usually through platforms where the seller is paying to make the consumer aware of the good or service.

The decision of what good or service to advertise, where to advertise it, and how are all decided by the processes of marketing to maximize the effectiveness of the advertisements.

Marketing and Advertisement

Marketing is the main reason that we see the advertisements we do, and where we see them.

This is so because marketing processes allow companies to gauge or predict what kind of products consumers prefer, and thus allows them to start building a relationship with the consumer.

Promotion strategies are decided on the data that the tools of marketing help us in collecting.

For example, a company wanting to market a good/service for older people would advertise on platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook, whereas a company looking to market a good to a younger audience would advertise on platforms such as Twitter or Snapchat.

This is because we know that the demographic of users on Facebook and LinkedIn is that of older people whereas the user demographic of platforms such as Twitter and Snapchat leans toward younger people. This data is available to us due to market research done by fellow researchers.

Marketing, Promotion, and Branding

Marketing Basics for Beginners: Everything about Marketing 13 The Digital Chapters

Any feature of a company which it uses to distinguish itself from another company providing the same or similar goods/services is known as its brand.

For example, the four colored squares synonymous with Microsoft, or the three stripes we all have come to associate with Adidas.

Brands often align themselves with a certain demographic to maximize profits and the decision of which demographic to align with is one taken by marketing professionals.

The portrayal of Red Bull as being a brand for adventure thirsty people is crucial to the company, with it investing millions of dollars in ventures such as Formula1 and other obscure sports, which directly do not contribute to sales but help in increasing Red Bull’s reputation as THE drink for people seeking a thrill.

This has worked well for the company, as it has a dominant percentage of the energy drink market share. The functions of marketing allow for a company to maximize its profits on a good/service by targeting and aligning with a particular demographic through specifically designed promotion campaigns.

Types of Marketing

Business marketing is the practice of marketing goods or services to individuals or corporations, including the public and private sector, when they are not to be the final consumer.

This type of marketing is referred to as business-to-business or B2B for short.

According to the American Marketing Association, the various types of marketing that exist are :

Influencer Marketing:

It focuses on leveraging individuals who influence potential consumers. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, a brand hires influencers to get the word out on their behalf.

Relationship Marketing:

It refers to strategies and tactics for segmenting consumers to build loyalty. Rather than just listing the benefits of a good/service to potential consumers, brands phrase the content in such a way that it evokes an emotional response from the consumer.

Examples would include cement being advertised as being made from the country’s soil to evoke a nationalist sentiment

Viral marketing:

Marketing Basics for Beginners: Everything about Marketing 14 The Digital Chapters

It is a phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message.

It is done through social media platforms and brands often adopt hashtags, challenges, and memes to get the word out about their good or service. This is a tactic often used in tandem with influencer marketing

Green Marketing:

It refers to the development and marketing of products that are designed to minimize negative effects on the physical environment or to improve its quality.

This tactic employs the looming threat of global warming to effectively draw the attention of potential consumers to the goods/service.

Keyword Marketing:

This involves placing a marketing message in front of users based on the specific keywords and phrases they are using to search.

A key advantage of this method is that it gives marketers the ability to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. It also can be referred to as targeted advertising, where brands show the consumer content which they have displayed an interest in earlier.

Guerrilla Marketing:

This describes an unconventional and creative marketing strategy intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.

4 P’s of Marketing

In the 1960s, E Jerome McCarthy came up with the 4 Ps of marketing: product, price, place, promotion. Essentially, these 4 Ps explain how marketing interacts with each stage of the business :

Product

A product is defined as a bundle of attributes (features, functions, benefits, and uses) capable of exchange or use; usually a mix of tangible and intangible forms.

Thus a product may be an idea, a physical entity (a good), or a service, or any combination of the three. It exists for the purpose of exchange in the satisfaction of individual and organisational goals.

The decision of outlining a target audience, looking a market fit for the good, deciding on the messages to be used to drive up revenue, modifications to be done to the good, etc are all taken by marketers on the basis of consumer data they’ve collected.

Price:

Price is the amount a customer must pay to acquire a product. The selling price of a product is decided by the company on 1 main factor – maximizing profits.

Should the company price the product too high, it will lose a big customer base and goodwill with consumers. Vice-versa, the company will suffer losses if the product is priced low.

Therefore marketers have to utilize consumer data to arrive at an acceptable price point

Place:

Place is also called distribution as refers to the act of marketing and carrying products to consumers. It is also used to describe the extent of market coverage for a given product.

Marketers have to understand what will be best for the company in terms of logistical and geographical terms.

Decisions such as having a physical store versus a website, or to market the product locally, nationally or internationally are all taken by marketers.

Promotion:

According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), promotion marketing includes tactics that encourage short-term purchase, influence trail and quantity of purchase, and are very measurable in volume, share, and profit. This includes tactics such as fire sales, raffles, coupons, etc.

 Everything You Need to Know About Referral Marketing Program

Referral Marketing Program: Everything You Need to Know About
Referral Marketing Program: Everything You Need to Know About

From the past few years referral marketing has been acquired by many top brands and this is really helping them to grow faster than any other strategy for their business.

In Digital Marketing world when you plan about growing business online than you can’t ignore the referral marketing program.

Referral marketing program has helped several businesses to engage their customer and have helped them to retain their customers.
Many of the businesses are far away from referral marketing but in the coming years it will be necessity to bring loyal customers on board.
Referral Marketing Program: Everything You Need to Know About
Referral Marketing Program: Everything You Need to Know About
If you want build your brand or grow your online presence than you should not forget the referral marketing program.

What is referral marketing?

Referral marketing is when you get your customers to tell their friends about you.
This is a way of making fan following, creating a list of customer by obtaining support from specific sources or this is way getting referred your business to your customers friends
According to the New York Times, 65% of all new business comes from referrals. That means on average, two-thirds of consumers make purchases because someone they know recommended a particular product or service.
In normal words Referral marketing is a technique of promoting your products, services or your businesses to your friends.

How Referral Marketing help you in your business

This is great way promoting your brands organically without spending much on Advertisements. You just need to make great referral marketing program that engage your existing customer. The program should help retaining your customers and help you bringing new customer
 
 
Why should you use referral marketing?
Because you are human being and you always share your happenings and experience with your friends. When your friends recommend something to buy a product you definitely buy that and that’s referral marketing.
  • 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know – Nielsen
  • People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend – Nielsen
  • Consumers rely on word-of-mouth 2-10x more than paid media. – Boston Consulting Group
Following are the few reasons to use referral marketing-:
  • It saves your marketing budget
  • It retains your customer and acquire new customer
  • It is user friendly and customer centric marketing strategy
  • It engages customers and gives them benefits to retain with the brand
  •  This way you not only save your money but also bring new customer.
Referral Marketing Process
Any referral marketing program depends on the product, service, nature of business and its type of customers.
Let’s discuss few things about referral marketing process-
  • Discuss with your sales and marketing team about the customers
  • Understand the customers behavior and trends of the business in your industry
  • Draw a plan with sales team about what they can offer to a customer if that bring another customer
  • Discuss the finances with marketing team and chalk out the promotion plan
  • Make digital marketing plan to advertise your referral marketing program
The success of referral programme depends on the sales and marketing team. You need to plan the great rewards, offers, discounts or cash back offers to bring more customers or retain the existing one.
 
I will discuss the details of Referral Marketing in next article. Happy Reading.
 
 
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