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By Mason Frederick small-business Marketing is a vital key to the success of a business. The purpose of a business is to create products and services that solve problems and satisfy needs. When a business fails to make sufficient transactions with consumers, by getting products and services across, it won’t make profit and will likely fail. Let’s take the case of a small business owner, Tolu — a caterer, good at tantalizing consumers senses with her delicious pastries. She decides to put her talent to good use, and opened a cake shop. Her plan is to bake cakes, cookies, biscuits and other pastries for sale and also cater desserts at events. In order for her products to get into the hands of consumers, some marketing must take place. Marketing involves processes that connect a business and its products, with consumers and their money. Definition of Marketing: According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word Marketing isthe action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising” Barbara Findlay, author of Small Business Marketing for Dummies defines Marketing as ”the process through which you create — and keep — customers.” Marketing & Sales: Contrary to popular belief, marketing is not synonymous with sales. As mentioned earlier, marketing involves different steps, including sales, to ensure that consumers are satisfied with the products and services of a business. Marketing helps to ensure that a sale is made, when your customer eventually comes in contact with your product. Making a sale is easier when your brand is known and accepted, and this can only be done through marketing. While ‘a sale’ is talking to your customer, marketing is talking with your customer. Marketing Processes:Marketing For Tolu’s cake shop to survive, and succeed, she must come up with plans and tactics, to attract people to her cake shop — first, get them to buy her pastries, have them satisfied with what they bought and repeat the process again and again. Processes involved in attracting, satisfying and keeping customers, is what marketing is about. Targeting your Market: Before Tolu starts out her business, she must first have an idea of who her target consumers are. She can segment her customers by Geographics [where they are], Demographics [who they are – age, sex, income, etc.] and Psychographics [how they behave]. Product Development: This involves how Tolu would package price and distribute her products. Attracting Customers with Marketing Messages: Tolu could also employ the use of fliers; have her business listed in online business directories, run print and online ads, etc. Making Sales and Customer service: Marketing does not end with a sale, it continues with customer service. Tolu must satisfy her customers, so they’ll return to her shop, and say wonderful things about her business to their friends and family.

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This article was first published on 25th January 2013 and updated on January 28th, 2013 at 8:38 am

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