Now that we’ve covered the basics of branding, let’s dive into its partner in crime: marketing. Much to the confusion of many, branding and marketing are two very different things. While branding is the space that your business occupies in a person’s mind, marketing is the process of communicating your offer to consumers. If branding is the promise you make to your client, then marketing is the act of speaking that promise over and over again.
There are five general concepts to follow in marketing:
Societal Marketing Concept
Each of these has pros and cons, and most of them are extremely flawed, but let’s break them down for you.
The Production Concept is the idea that customers want something readily available and cheap to buy. This concept is said to be the oldest of the five and is the main driver behind businesses like Walmart that compete primarily on price. The issue with this concept is that sometimes people don’t actually want the cheapest thing; they want the best thing. That’s where Product Concept comes out to play.
Product Concept believers think that consumers are primarily driven by the quality of the product. They seek to constantly improve or out-perform competitors because they believe that clients and consumers only want the best. However, they fail to take into account the affordability of this great product they’ve made and often miss the mark on usability.
The Selling Concept is our least favorite concept here because it cares the least about the well being of the customer. Selling Concept revolves around the sale, everything for the sale, the sale at all costs. It is the most aggressive version of marketing and typically leaves people unhappy because it doesn’t account for the needs of the customer, the quality of the product or the affordability of the thing you’re selling. It’s not great, but it does work.
The Marketing Concept is the most classic concept in, well, marketing. It puts the needs of the consumer first and dives into what they want from the business rather than what the business wants - money. This concept can be employed as early as product conception to ensure that you’re delivering exactly what the consumer is asking for and bases sales on heavy research and human nature. If your business makes something customers say they want, you’ve probably got a decent business idea.
The last concept is the Societal Marketing Concept. This one emerged only recently and is best demonstrated by companies like Everlane that focus on ethical practices. The idea is that companies have a responsibility to behave ethically and work for the good of society as a whole. Everlane focuses on ethical manufacturing. The big push toward sustainable farming and food practices has had a major impact across the globe. Everyone is looking for a cause at this point that will better the planet or its people in some way, and that’s not a bad thing for a marketing concept to encourage. We give this concept two thumbs way up.
So, how do you find out which concept is right for you? Well, I’m just going to tell you that you can’t fight with Big Businesses on price. You’ll lose almost every time. Unless you’re confident that mass production of toilet seats or whatever you want to produce is definitely your dream, the Production Concept is likely not for you.
You can’t go around making something that is crazy expensive and totally impractical either, so let’s steer clear of the Product Concept unless you are Dali (without the misogyny).
You need to combine a number of the above concepts and let them inform your marketing methodology.
At FatChix, we use concepts 4 and 5 - Marketing and Societal Marketing - to promote our brand messaging, but every business is different. You need to find the right process for delivering your brand’s unique and authentic voice in the best way for your specific needs. If you make toilet seats, great. Go with concept 1 and really lean into it, but be aware that even toilet seats need to differentiate in the marketplace a little. Squatty Potty is a business that mass produced a random thing people didn’t know they needed and sold through it with a humorous marketing campaign. The marketing is what sold the masses on that mass-produced item. It was a good idea and the idea was delivered brilliantly. That is the job and purpose of marketing.
Marketing delivers branded communication to an unaware public in the hopes of achieving both brand awareness and sales. Consumers rarely shop with brands they don’t recognize. The main driving force behind this is the safety of the consumer. You know what to expect from recognizable brand names because they’ve effectively delivered enough times on the promise they’ve made to the consumer. In fact, one of the only industries in which customers frequently choose generic over branded items is with over the counter medications and that is largely due to cost.
We’ll say it again: a brand is the promise you make to your customer.
Marketing is the way in which you communicate and deliver that promise.
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