Sometimes You Need to Go Back to the Marketing Basics

By Aimee Meester
June 13, 2023
Alphabetized light switches

When you think about it, the concept of marketing is actually pretty simple: figure out ways to effectively connect and communicate with potential customers so your business can grow. Whether it’s social media, emails, blog content, or even websites, marketing materials exist to create a conduit between companies and the outside world. The goal is to draw people in, leave an impression, and make a conversion.

Even though marketing is relatively straightforward, it’s easy for marketers to overcomplicate things and get lost in a plethora of distractions, noises, and opportunities. Especially as our world becomes increasingly digital, it can be easy to get tangled up in the latest technologies and what other people are doing. These distractions lead many marketers to stray from the basics of what makes marketing successful.

3 Marketing Basics Every Marketer Should Know

In an effort to help marketers recenter on what actually makes campaigns effective, here are three marketing basics that every marketer should keep in mind.

1. Understand the Four Types of Marketing Utility

When it comes to marketing, there are four main utilities that marketers should always keep top of mind. These utilities capture how your marketing content can be helpful to potential customers.

Form Utility – Are You Giving Customers What They Want?

Form utility focuses on whether or not your customers find what you’re marketing useful. Do your products and services meet customer needs? Are you giving customers exactly what they want? These questions must have affirmative answers for any marketing efforts to succeed. After all, even the best marketing strategies will miss the mark if customers don’t find the content, product, or service useful.

Time Utility – Are You Offering Products When Customers Need Them Most?

Time utility is all about whether or not products and services are available at the right time. Marketers need to be strategic about when they market specific products and services. After all, most customers in Minnesota aren’t looking for swimsuits in the heat of winter. By that same token, businesses also need to be able to scale up to meet customer demands; for example, during the height of COVID, virtual meeting software had to scale up their marketing operations to capitalize on heightened demand. Simply put, marketing efforts need to align to offer customers the products and services they need when they need them the most.

Place Utility – Are You Meeting Customers Where They’re At?

Place utility encompasses customer convenience. It’s all about making key information, offerings, and descriptions available to customers in the easiest way possible. You could have the best product in the world, but if your website is hard to navigate or your ordering process is disjointed, customers will be less likely to convert, and marketing efforts will be less effective.

Possession Utility – Do Customers Find Your Product or Service Valuable After They Make a Purchase?

Possession utility focuses on whether or not customers find products or services useful post-point-of-purchase. The best way to think about possession utility is to think about how customers will actually use a particular product and how it will improve their lives. For example, paper towels have high possession utility because people regularly need them to clean up kitchen spills, and they’re left with a cleaner surface afterward. Similarly, most cell phones have high possession utility because people use them every day to stay up-to-date and connected to others.

2. Align with Core Strategic Goals

All of the most effective marketing initiatives are tied to key strategic goals – they’re also progress-monitored regularly to ensure sustained success. Therefore, to create an effective marketing strategy, marketers need to ensure that each key component, channel, and deliverable actively supports the company in achieving its strategic marketing and growth goals. If the goal is generating awareness, marketers should focus on things like developing blog posts and social media accounts that house top-of-funnel content. In contrast, if the goal is to increase conversions, targeted email marketing campaigns and customizable up-sell and cross-sell opportunities are likely a better strategic fit.

3. Craft a Simple, Personalized Approach that Sets Your Brand Apart

In a world where consumers are inundated with information and advertisements, it’s worthwhile for marketers to identify moments to connect with them on a more personal level. For example, rather than sending out a generic email blast, marketers can create customized fields that tailor the copy based on customer information. Additionally, reaching out to customers to provide discounts and well wishes on their birthdays or other special occasions can be another way for marketers to help brands stand out from the crowd.

Marketing 101

In a world that’s constantly changing and evolving, it can be easy to get caught up in the fray and lose sight of what truly makes marketing effective. Rather than getting caught up in the latest and greatest innovations and technologies, marketers need to take a step back and focus on the things that really make a difference. At the end of the day, to be most effective, sometimes you just need to go back to the marketing basics.