Marketing is often one of the most misunderstood aspects of business. Too often people think advertising and marketing are the same things, where in reality, advertising is a subset of marketing.

What is marketing?

The simplest definition is marketing includes everything you do to put your product or service in the hands of your customers. This goes far beyond advertising in that it includes research and development, advertising, sales, packaging, user experience, distribution, customer service and branding.

What is advertising?

Advertising is a small part of marketing. In reality it is using various media to make customers aware of your product or service and attempt to lure them into a specific action like calling a number or making a purchase. Read More

22 tips to improve your marketing program

  1. Be clear about your objectives before beginning your market research.
  2. Identify your target audience, how many respondents you require and what data you are hoping to collect before beginning.
  3. Make sure your target group is relevant to your needs and represents the market you are targeting.
  4. Watch for and incorporate unsolicited feedback you receive on social networks or review sites.
  5. Say thank you to every single person who contributes to your research.
  6. Provide a place for open-ended comments on any survey that you use.
  7. Make it common practice to ask clients for suggestions at every interaction.
  8. Understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative research and format your questions accordingly.
  9. Review your surveys and questionnaires to ensure you’re not phasing anything offensively.
  10. Develop a chart or graph from the data collected to make it easier to visually analyze the results.
  11. Record interviews or focus groups whenever possible for review and analysis.
  12. Don’t ignore criticism because you don’t want to hear it; it can be the most valuable feedback you receive.
  13. Ensure your survey is neutral and doesn’t involve leading questions.
  14. Make it quick and easy to complete your survey or questionnaire.
  15. Aim for a large enough sample group to give you meaningful data.
  16. Create your surveys and interviews so the focus is on measurable data.
  17. Follow surveys with a phone call or other personal contact to round out the answers provided, whenever possible.
  18. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients when writing your survey questions.
  19. Ensure that all participants will remain confidential to encourage participation.
  20. Be impartial throughout the whole process, or use an outside person to facilitate.
  21. Keep your mind open to new opportunities and needs that you didn’t consider before conducting your research.