70% of American Want Travel Businesses Stimulus

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It’s summertime but Americans simply aren’t traveling the way they normally do. And the travel businesses catering to those journeying here and there are hurting because of it.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association says a new survey it commissioned found 70% of Americans support some type of economic stimulus to keep those travel businesses open – even during this particularly rough patch.

As the idea of another major economic stimulus package are debated in Washington DC, the travel industry certainly wants its voice heard.

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Of all the travel and hospitality businesses across the country, many of them are small businesses. The AHLA says the travel and hospitality sector supports millions of jobs nationwide. Hotels, they say, support 1 in 25 American jobs. And there are numerous other small businesses that rely on travelers and tourists.

But during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one was traveling anywhere. While business, travel, and social restrictions have eased, recovery in some industries hasn’t been as quick as it has in others. about 8 in 10 hotels were forced to lay off employees this year, AHLA says.

“As communities reopen, we are encouraged to see people begin to travel and some hotel jobs return, but make no mistake, most hotels are still trying to survive,” says Chip Rogers, the president and CEO OF AHLA. “The hotel industry was the first impacted by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover.”

AHLA’s new data – from a survey conducted by Morning Consult for the industry advocate – shows that Americans want the many companies to get some form of financial help to keep their doors open until travel returns to normal. Their survey shows that 70% of Americans want hotels and other travel and hospitality businesses to get some relief.

What form would that stimulus take? AHLA found that Americans support different measures that could entice travel and take some financial stress off businesses like hotels:

Debt and Mortgage Relief

The survey found 63% favor banks offering debt relief to hotels and for banks to offer forbearance on hotel mortgages. Just 16% oppose this form of relief for travel industry businesses.

New Travel Tax Credit

Another idea that got majority support from the public is the idea of a new federal tax credit to Americans to encourage them to travel more.

Restore Business Entertainment Tax Credit

More than half of those asked (57%) said they believe restoring the business entertainment expense deduction could also help travel businesses. This would allow businesses to deduct more expenses related to their travel.

During the pandemic response, many popular business conferences and seminars have been postponed or canceled and turned into virtual events. This negatively impacts the cities playing host to these events. And when these events don’t happen, major blocks of hotel rooms aren’t sold. And local small businesses near conference sites suffer, too.

According to a recent Yahoo report, another round of economic stimulus could include another direct payment to Americans. However, that’s receiving a lukewarm reception right now.

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This article, "70% of American Want Travel Businesses Stimulus" was first published on Small Business Trends



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70% of American Want Travel Businesses Stimulus

travel business stimulus

It’s summertime but Americans simply aren’t traveling the way they normally do. And the travel businesses catering to those journeying here and there are hurting because of it.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association says a new survey it commissioned found 70% of Americans support some type of economic stimulus to keep those travel businesses open – even during this particularly rough patch.

As the idea of another major economic stimulus package are debated in Washington DC, the travel industry certainly wants its voice heard.

夫妻性爱视频

Of all the travel and hospitality businesses across the country, many of them are small businesses. The AHLA says the travel and hospitality sector supports millions of jobs nationwide. Hotels, they say, support 1 in 25 American jobs. And there are numerous other small businesses that rely on travelers and tourists.

But during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one was traveling anywhere. While business, travel, and social restrictions have eased, recovery in some industries hasn’t been as quick as it has in others. about 8 in 10 hotels were forced to lay off employees this year, AHLA says.

“As communities reopen, we are encouraged to see people begin to travel and some hotel jobs return, but make no mistake, most hotels are still trying to survive,” says Chip Rogers, the president and CEO OF AHLA. “The hotel industry was the first impacted by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover.”

AHLA’s new data – from a survey conducted by Morning Consult for the industry advocate – shows that Americans want the many companies to get some form of financial help to keep their doors open until travel returns to normal. Their survey shows that 70% of Americans want hotels and other travel and hospitality businesses to get some relief.

What form would that stimulus take? AHLA found that Americans support different measures that could entice travel and take some financial stress off businesses like hotels:

Debt and Mortgage Relief

The survey found 63% favor banks offering debt relief to hotels and for banks to offer forbearance on hotel mortgages. Just 16% oppose this form of relief for travel industry businesses.

New Travel Tax Credit

Another idea that got majority support from the public is the idea of a new federal tax credit to Americans to encourage them to travel more.

Restore Business Entertainment Tax Credit

More than half of those asked (57%) said they believe restoring the business entertainment expense deduction could also help travel businesses. This would allow businesses to deduct more expenses related to their travel.

During the pandemic response, many popular business conferences and seminars have been postponed or canceled and turned into virtual events. This negatively impacts the cities playing host to these events. And when these events don’t happen, major blocks of hotel rooms aren’t sold. And local small businesses near conference sites suffer, too.

According to a recent Yahoo report, another round of economic stimulus could include another direct payment to Americans. However, that’s receiving a lukewarm reception right now.

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This article, "70% of American Want Travel Businesses Stimulus" was first published on Small Business Trends



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4 Ways Small Businesses Can Benefit From Email Marketing

Email marketing is the secret weapon that small businesses need to succeed.

Cafe owners doing email marketing

photo credit: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

When you’re running a small business, everything you do has a direct influence on your bottom line. That’s why it’s important that you spend your time wisely and where it can make the biggest impact.

If you’re looking for ways to prioritize how and when you should communicate with your customer — look no further than email marketing.

Email is a great way to reach your customers. Not only is it cost-effective, but many customers want to hear from the companies they love through email.…

The post 4 Ways Small Businesses Can Benefit From Email Marketing appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.



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How Our Marketing Team Used Sprint Planning While Working Remotely

This post is a part of Made @ HubSpot, an internal thought series through which we extract lessons from experiments conducted by our very own HubSpotters.

As marketers at HubSpot, we’re constantly tasked with driving cross-functional projects towards launch.

A recent challenge we’ve faced is having to do this remotely and entirely online. We’ve had to adapt our meeting structure and technology stack to create highly engaging and productive team meetings to make progress on our marketing campaigns.

If you’ve also had to remotely meet with your team to make big decisions on a project, you’ve probably faced similar challenges.

With recent changes to how our team normally works, we decided to adapt our project planning process and shift to a modified sprint process.

We’re going to share our strategies from running sprint planning sessions which have allowed us to distill weeks’ worth of work into only one week and have gotten us weeks ahead of our projects’ schedules — even while operating 100% remotely.

Many teams at HubSpot rely on the sprint process to make decisions that solve for our customers. Up until recently, we had never tried it in our campaign process.

Our Global Campaigns team works with a creative team of developers and designers. These folks have helped us build acquisition campaigns like Email Signature Generator, Make My Persona, Behind the Screens, and the newly launched State of Marketing.

The creative team is able to produce impressive work because of its efficiency in execution. How? One component that they credited was their use of sprint planning sessions.

Get Started with Your Sprint

Sprints aren’t perfect for every problem. The first step in every sprint is deciding if it’s necessary to run one. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you clear on the problem that needs to be solved?
  2. Is the problem big enough that it needs multiple stakeholders to make a decision?
  3. Does solving the problem add real business value?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you can feel comfortable making the decision to organize a sprint.

Who to Include In Your Sprint

It’s common for teams to invite many voices into the room when a big decision needs to be made.

Although having more voices nets a wider perspective, we’ve seen that smaller meetings work better because they are more productive and collaborative.

Famous copywriter Robert Bly had a similar belief. He said, "Four reviewers or less is ideal. Six should be the maximum. Any more, and you are writing ads by committee — and committees cannot write effective ads."

For your sprint, aim to invite five to seven people. Six people total worked well for us.

You’ll need a decision-maker involved in the sprint. This person should have the power to give go/no-go decisions in the room while also keeping discussions focused on achieving the sprint outcome.

For us, this person was our team’s Director of Acquisition. She helped us stay on track and translated our research into holistic marketing insights, like defining the value prop and developing communication frameworks.

For the other people in the sprint, invite experts who are related to helping you execute the project. Keep these few things in mind:

  • A diversity of perspectives is important. Include people from different teams who share common goals with your team.
  • Understand who you’ll need help from once you complete your sprint — involving people from other teams will motivate them to execute afterward.
  • If your project requires development, it might be helpful to invite a developer to your sprint so this person can check if your ideas are technically feasible.

Your Role in Sprint

If you’re reading this, you’re probably accountable for getting a big project done within a certain time. In this role, you’ll be the facilitator of the sprint — meaning, you’re in charge of setting the agenda, objective, and daily facilitation of each sprint day.

In short, it’s your responsibility to spark conversation, keep an eye on the time, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the sprint’s objective, and more.

Building Out Your Sprint Plan

When building out your sprint plan, start out with the objective: what are you hoping to achieve by the end of the five days?

Next, break your sprint objective up into goals by each day. At the end of each day, you and your team should complete something tangible that helps you work towards your desired sprint outcome.

Now, let's unpack the five days of a typical sprint planning session.

The Five Days of Sprint

the five days sprint planning process

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Here is the sprint planning session mapped out into five days. (Really … you only need five days.) Read more about our sprint planning session below.

Day 1: Map

Map the user journey, identify pain points along the journey, and decide how you might solve those. Pair up in teams of two to brainstorm topics for the promotional concept.

Day 2: Sketch

The pairs pitch their concepts, and the larger group provides feedback. The decision-maker collects insights into the campaign pitches and works with the group to finalize two promotional concepts for Wednesday (Day 3).

Day 3: Decide

Pitch the two promotional concepts to a VP or Director who was not involved in the sprint. For us, we pitched to the VP of Acquisition at HubSpot, Kieran Flanagan. The VP or Director provides feedback and chooses the one concept that the team should pursue.

Day 4: Prototype

With the creative concept decided, the team splits up into pairs to create promotional assets for channels (e.g. promotional video, Facebook ad, email, etc.) that will be used to pitch the target audience on Friday (Day 5).

Day 5: Test

Ideally, you want to test your concept to your target audience. In our case, that audience is marketers. We decided to invite five HubSpot marketers who were unfamiliar with our work to provide feedback. This helped us confirm what works, what doesn’t work, and what’s confusing about our concept. It’s key to invite folks from other teams so that they are bought-in early on.

This timeline is specific to creating a marketing campaign creative concept. However, it can be adapted to solve for your desired objective, though we recommend keeping the structure in place — you and your team building up towards a pitch to a decision-maker on Day 3 and then building out the concept to test with your audience on Day 5.

How Long Should Sprint Planning Meetings be?

Normally, sprint planning meetings are full-day sessions, Monday to Friday. The length of your meetings will ultimately depend on the impact of your decision.

For example, if you’re trying to decide what top three product features to build in the next three months, you’ll probably want full-day meetings.

Our team wanted to make decisions on our quarterly campaign’s concept — how we planned to tell the story of our campaign to an external audience. In this case, we decided that one to two-hour meetings per day were enough.

Work with your team to decide how much time you’ll need to achieve your sprint’s objective.

Regarding remote sprints, the biggest challenge is keeping your team engaged for a full two hours. We did this by scheduling the sessions in the mornings when people are more energized and having a structured agenda. The tight agenda gave us a sense of urgency.

Convincing Stakeholders to Block a Week for Your Sprint

Setting aside time for our sprint was hard. Not only was it tough finding two hours for each of the five days that fit everyone’s schedule, but it was also difficult convincing folks to show-up in the first place.

What helped was defining clear sprint outcomes. This clearly showed what could be achieved by conducting the sprint and told attendees how they’d be spending their time.

Finally, it helped to first have the decision-maker bought in first so that he or she — who’s usually in at least a Director role — can help you get buy-in from other stakeholders. For example, I worked with my manager to get our director bought in first. Then, our director helped us convince our experts to participate.

How Our Team Used Sprint Planning

This is how our Global Campaigns team used sprint planning to create our most recent acquisition campaign. As an administrative footnote, especially when this is remote, the facilitator should post the preview and objective of each day over a shared Slack channel, email thread, or your preferred communication tool.

Day 1: Map and Refinement (2 hours)

On Day 1, we reviewed the objectives of the creative sprint. (Our main objective was to define the creative promotional concept of our quarterly campaign). We confirm everyone understood the tasks, goals, and objectives moving forward.

Next, we presented the necessary campaign research to inform the team, including target audience, user, and competitive research.

We mapped the user flow to determine how visitors would interact with our campaign by listing pain points on the user flow where problems could arise in the user’s journey. Then, we addressed solutions to those pain points.

Finally, we teamed up into pairs and worked together to determine how to solve our objective with the given information.

As homework, we worked in our pairs to build one creative concept that promoted our campaign. We answered these questions:

  • What tone do we want to communicate?
  • What headlines promote our concept?
  • What imagery (color scheme, mood board, and images) could be part of our campaign?
  • What would the video look like?
  • On what channels would this appear?

We used Miro to map out the user journey while fully remote. The blue notes describe the user’s journey, orange notes list out the pain points, and yellow notes describe possible solutions.

miro map user journey

Day 2: Sketch and Concept (2 hours)

On Day 2, pairs pitched their creative concept from Day 1 to the group. The group provided feedback on the concepts and selected two final promotional concepts to move forward with.

The group then sketched imagery that could accompany the concepts. Of the two final creative concepts, we also created a pitch deck for the decision-maker.

Day 3: Decide (1 hour)

On Day 3, the group pitched the two creative concepts to the decision-maker. The decision-maker then chose the best creative concept — the concept that we used for our promotion.

Next, we assigned different marketing channels to people to create three variations of how the creative concept would look and feel (e.g. our emails, social posts, blog CTAs, ads, and videos).

Day 4: Prototype (1.5 hours)

On Day 4, we reminded the team about the final decision and feedback from the decision-maker. As a group, we created a promotional video story.

Pairs were then assigned to channels and tasked with creating mock-ups for channel assets, such as sketches or wireframes (using pen and paper or online tools).

At the end, we combined ideas into one deck for a pitch on test day. As homework, we completed and refined the pitch deck.

Day 5: Test (1.5 hours)

On Day 5, we reviewed our meeting goals and ensured the pitch was ready.

We invited a group of our target audience. (For us, since our audience was marketers, we invited marketers at HubSpot from different teams.) One team member pitched the creative concept to the audience, walking them through the promos across channels, and telling the full concept story.

After the pitch, we addressed any audience questions and asked the audience members to leave feedback in Google Forms privately before leaving feedback to the group. This keeps feedback from being biased.

Afterward, we regrouped to openly discuss the feedback. Based on the feedback, we reviewed opportunities to finalize our creative concept story and improve promo designs.

Day 6: Retro (30 minutes — optional, but encouraged)

Finally, on Day 6, we gathered feedback on our sprint from the team using an online feedback tool called ScatterSpoke. Members answered two questions:

  • What the team did well?
  • What the team did not do well?

ScatterSpoke lets people upvote suggestions. We asked members to vote on the biggest areas of improvement. This gave us a sense of what and how we can improve future sprints.

scatterspoke sprint planning

Marketing Sprint Best Practices

  • Make sure that the objective and goals are clear for everyone involved.
  • Include a variety of perspectives in one room while making sure that they are the right people.
  • Mapping out the full user journey on Day 1 helps with understanding the project.
  • Include stakeholder participation and ownership. How can you get your project’s stakeholders involved?
  • Make sure everyone in the sprint is motivated and feels involved and heard. One person from our sprint said, “I left the first two days feeling like I had a clear vision of the mission we were on and possible plans of attack.”
  • Include a clear agenda and proper facilitation of each meeting. In condensed sprint sessions, every minute is valuable. You must be efficient.
  • Pairing up into groups of two helped us create better ideas.
  • For the testing day (Day 5), inviting stakeholders from other departments at HubSpot was great for instant feedback.

Improving Our Future Sprint Planning Sessions

After running two remote sprint sessions so far, here’s how we plan to improve our future sessions.

Make sure that stakeholders are in the room for the full session.

We had occasions where folks couldn’t attend a day or only attended half a day. This was an issue because it interrupted the collaborative flow that we had as a group. For example, if we lost someone who proposed a great idea early on, we wouldn’t have that person in the room to flesh it out. We plan to solve this by getting buy-in from the decision-maker early so that the decision-maker can make the sprint a priority. We will also schedule the sprint 2-3 weeks in advance so that folks prepare their calendars accordingly. Lastly, we’ll get verbal agreements that the invited stakeholders can attend every session.

Meticulously plan the sprint agenda.

On Day 2, the Sketch day, there were occasional unproductive moments where it seemed like the group wasn't sure what to do next. We plan to solve this by creating time slots in the agenda for Day 2 that clearly explain what the group will accomplish. We will also ensure the tasks prepare the group for decision day (day 3) and work towards preparing a pitch for the decision-maker.

Templetize the take-home work.

The homework part of our sprint produced good ideas of creative concepts, but when we brought our ideas back to the drawing board, they were all in different formats. We plan to solve this by creating templates of the homework assignments so that everyone works within the same format, saving time and allowing us to speak the same creative language.

Over to You

Adapting the sprint methodology as part of our team’s creative process proved to work extremely well. We’re now executing on these ideas and bringing them to life, whereas, before, it would have taken us a few weeks to determine the creative concept.

With our campaign launching in the summer, we’re confident that we’ll creatively communicate the value of our offering to marketers globally.

We hope these lessons were helpful for you to start your own remote sprint session. Remember, define the big objective, get the right people, schedule an efficient meeting, and come prepared. You’ll conquer your biggest projects faster.



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Applications for New Businesses Dropped Considerably at Height of Pandemic

new business application slowed

According to LendingTree, new business applications saw a record plunge in April at the heels of the pandemic outbreak. States hit hard observed new business application fillings had dropped showing the least number of applicants.

The report reveals eight of the top 10 states where businesses applications dropped the most are located in the Northeast.

New Business Applications Slowed by Pandemic Response

While out of the 10 states where business application rates rose or dropped the least, seven are in the South. This according to the Census Bureau designations. There was also an upswing in the number of applications in some states. The report attributes this to a possible pent-up demand from earlier in the pandemic economic cycle.

During that period small businesses were forced to shutter as stay-at-home orders were instituted. In fact, a report by MetLife and the US Chamber of Commerce in May reveals  29% of businesses said they closed their businesses temporarily by Mid-April. Furthermore, the US economy contracted by 5% in the first quarter of 2020 signaling a possible recession in the making.

The decline follows a 2.1% increase in the nation’s economy during the fourth quarter of 2019. As a consequence, many small businesses turned to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to meet their immediate cash flow needs. One third (32%) of the small business population has applied or tried to apply, for a PPP loan. The period also saw a decrease in consumer spending and exports.

How States Fared

New York State tops the list, with the number of new applications plummeting by 35.5% in April 2020 compared to figures from the previous year. Last year it ranked fourth amongst the states with the highest number of new applications being filed at 19,120. That number has since declined to 12,330 in April 2020.

Montana and New Jersey follow New York as seeing fewer applications in April this year compared to figures from last year. This year Montana saw only 840 applications down by 28.2% from last year’s 1,170. New Jersey is ranked third after seeing 6,780 application this year compared to 2019’s 9,430 applications, a drop of 28.1%

Conversely, the state of Wyoming saw a 24.6% increase in business applications this year compared to April 2019. A stark contrast to this year’s March figures where the state saw the number drop by 9% last year. In the same thread, Mississippi’s overall business applications in April was up 12.5% year over year. Georgia is first across the states, with nearly 1,200 more business applications in April 2020 than in April 2019. Other states saw an increase during the same period including Louisiana (up by 5.4%) and South Carolina (up by 1.9%).

LendingTree looked at the number of new business applications filed in each state in April 2019 compared to April 2020 using data of applications for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Understanding the Loan you Apply For

Many small businesses use loans to fund their businesses so they can access that extra bit of capital to fund an expansion or take out a lease for their new location. While loans could be great for business growth, they could also prove detrimental if not planned and managed well.

The key to navigating through your debt paying process is to understand the terms of your business loan. Simply put the term is the amount of time that the loan lasts. As a borrower, you must pay back the money within that specific timeframe. Different loans have different terms which state how you pay the loan, the amount of interests due, as well as penalties associated with it. Failing to understand the details of your loan contract could mean that you have exposed yourself and your business to risk because of a bad deal.

If your expertise lies elsewhere hire an accountant, financial advisor or even a lawyer to explain what you are signing.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Applications for New Businesses Dropped Considerably at Height of Pandemic" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Applications for New Businesses Dropped Considerably at Height of Pandemic

new business application slowed

According to LendingTree, new business applications saw a record plunge in April at the heels of the pandemic outbreak. States hit hard observed new business application fillings had dropped showing the least number of applicants.

The report reveals eight of the top 10 states where businesses applications dropped the most are located in the Northeast.

New Business Applications Slowed by Pandemic Response

While out of the 10 states where business application rates rose or dropped the least, seven are in the South. This according to the Census Bureau designations. There was also an upswing in the number of applications in some states. The report attributes this to a possible pent-up demand from earlier in the pandemic economic cycle.

During that period small businesses were forced to shutter as stay-at-home orders were instituted. In fact, a report by MetLife and the US Chamber of Commerce in May reveals  29% of businesses said they closed their businesses temporarily by Mid-April. Furthermore, the US economy contracted by 5% in the first quarter of 2020 signaling a possible recession in the making.

The decline follows a 2.1% increase in the nation’s economy during the fourth quarter of 2019. As a consequence, many small businesses turned to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to meet their immediate cash flow needs. One third (32%) of the small business population has applied or tried to apply, for a PPP loan. The period also saw a decrease in consumer spending and exports.

How States Fared

New York State tops the list, with the number of new applications plummeting by 35.5% in April 2020 compared to figures from the previous year. Last year it ranked fourth amongst the states with the highest number of new applications being filed at 19,120. That number has since declined to 12,330 in April 2020.

Montana and New Jersey follow New York as seeing fewer applications in April this year compared to figures from last year. This year Montana saw only 840 applications down by 28.2% from last year’s 1,170. New Jersey is ranked third after seeing 6,780 application this year compared to 2019’s 9,430 applications, a drop of 28.1%

Conversely, the state of Wyoming saw a 24.6% increase in business applications this year compared to April 2019. A stark contrast to this year’s March figures where the state saw the number drop by 9% last year. In the same thread, Mississippi’s overall business applications in April was up 12.5% year over year. Georgia is first across the states, with nearly 1,200 more business applications in April 2020 than in April 2019. Other states saw an increase during the same period including Louisiana (up by 5.4%) and South Carolina (up by 1.9%).

LendingTree looked at the number of new business applications filed in each state in April 2019 compared to April 2020 using data of applications for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Understanding the Loan you Apply For

Many small businesses use loans to fund their businesses so they can access that extra bit of capital to fund an expansion or take out a lease for their new location. While loans could be great for business growth, they could also prove detrimental if not planned and managed well.

The key to navigating through your debt paying process is to understand the terms of your business loan. Simply put the term is the amount of time that the loan lasts. As a borrower, you must pay back the money within that specific timeframe. Different loans have different terms which state how you pay the loan, the amount of interests due, as well as penalties associated with it. Failing to understand the details of your loan contract could mean that you have exposed yourself and your business to risk because of a bad deal.

If your expertise lies elsewhere hire an accountant, financial advisor or even a lawyer to explain what you are signing.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Applications for New Businesses Dropped Considerably at Height of Pandemic" was first published on Small Business Trends



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What is the Purpose of Marketing? [FAQ]

Dictionary.com defines marketing as, "the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising."

If you work in a marketing role like I do, it's probably difficult for you to define marketing even though you see and use it every day -- the term marketing is a bit all-encompassing and variable for a straightforward definition.

This definition feels unhelpful.

The selling part, for instance, overlaps a little too snuggly with a "what is sales" definition, and the word advertising makes me think of Mad Men brainstorming sessions.

But upon digging deeper, I began seeing that actually, marketing does overlap heavily with advertising and sales. Marketing is present in all stages of the business, beginning to end.

At first, I wondered why marketing was a necessary component during product development, or a sales pitch, or retail distribution. But it makes sense when you think about it -- marketers have the firmest finger on the pulse of your consumer persona.

The purpose of marketing is to research and analyze your consumers all the time, conduct focus groups, send out surveys, study online shopping habits, and ask one underlying question: "Where, when, and how does our consumer want to communicate with our business?"

Modern marketing began in the 1950s when people started to use more than just print media to endorse a product. As TV -- and soon, the internet -- entered households, marketers could conduct entire campaigns across multiple platforms. And as you might expect, over the last 70 years, marketers have become increasingly important to fine-tuning how a business sells a product to consumers to optimize success.

In fact, the fundamental purpose of marketing is to attract consumers to your brand through messaging. Ideally, that messaging will helpful and educational to your target audience so you can convert consumers into leads.

Today, there are literally dozens of places one can carry out a marketing campaign -- where does one do it in the 21st century?

Types of Marketing

Where your marketing campaigns live depends entirely on where your customers spend their time. It's up to you to conduct market research that determines which types of marketing -- and which mix of tools within each type -- is best for building your brand. Here are several types of marketing that are relevant today, some of which have stood the test of time:

  • Internet marketing: Inspired by an Excedrin product campaign that took place online, the very idea of having a presence on the internet for business reasons is a type of marketing in and of itself.
  • Search engine optimization: Abbreviated "SEO," this is the process of optimizing content on a website so that it appears in search engine results. It's used by marketers to attract people who perform searches that imply they're interested in learning about a particular industry.
  • Blog marketing: Blogs are no longer exclusive to the individual writer. Brands now publish blogs to write about their industry and nurture the interest of potential customers who browse the internet for information.
  • Social media marketing: Businesses can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and similar social networks to create impressions on their audience over time.
  • Print marketing: As newspapers and magazines get better at understanding who subscribes to their print material, businesses continue to sponsor articles, photography, and similar content in the publications their customers are reading.
  • Search engine marketing: This type of marketing is a bit different than SEO, which is described above. Businesses can now pay a search engine to place links on pages of its index that get high exposure to their audience. (It's a concept called "pay-per-click" -- I'll show you an example of this in the next section).
  • Video marketing: While there were once just commercials, marketers now put money into creating and publishing all kinds of videos that entertain and educate their core customers.

Marketing and Advertising

If marketing is a wheel, advertising is one spoke of that wheel.

Marketing entails product development, market research, product distribution, sales strategy, public relations, and customer support. Marketing is necessary in all stages of a business's selling journey, and it can use numerous platforms, social media channels, and teams within their organization to identify their audience, communicate to it, amplify its voice, and build brand loyalty over time.

On the other hand, advertising is just one component of marketing. It's a strategic effort, usually paid for, to spread awareness of a product or service as a part of the more holistic goals outlined above. Put simply, it's not the only method used by marketers to sell a product.

Here's an example (keep reading, there's a quiz at the end of it) ...

Let's say a business is rolling out a brand new product and wants to create a campaign promoting that product to its customer base. This company's channels of choice are Facebook, Instagram, Google, and its company website. It uses all of these spaces to support its various campaigns every quarter and generate leads through those campaigns.

To broadcast its new product launch, it publishes a downloadable product guide to its website, posts a video to Instagram demonstrating its new product, and invests in a series of sponsored search results on Google directing traffic to a new product page on its website.

Now, which of the above decisions were marketing, and which were advertising?

...

The advertising took place on Instagram and Google. Instagram generally isn't an advertising channel, but when used for branding, you can develop a base of followers that's primed for a gentle product announcement every now and again. Google was definitely used for advertising in this example; the company paid for space on Google -- a program known as pay-per-click (PPC) -- on which to drive traffic to a specific page focused on its product. A classic online ad.

Where did the marketing take place? This was a bit of a trick question, as the marketing was the entire process. By aligning Instagram, Google, and its own website around a customer-focused initiative, the company ran a three-part marketing campaign that identified its audience, created a message for that audience, and delivered it across the industry to maximize its impact.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

In the 1960's, 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

Let's say you come up with an idea for a product you want your business to sell. What's next? You probably won't be successful if you just start selling it.

Instead, you need your marketing team to do market research and answer some critical questions: Who's your target audience? Is there market fit for this product? What messaging will increase product sales, and on which platforms? How should your product developers modify the product to increase likelihood of success? What do focus groups think of the product, and what questions or hesitations do they have?

Marketers use the answers to these questions to help businesses understand the demand for the product and increase product quality by mentioning concerns stemming from focus group or survey participants.

Price

Your marketing team will check out competitors' product prices, or use focus groups and surveys, to estimate how much your ideal customer is willing to pay. Price it too high, and you'll lose out on a solid customer base. Price it too low, and you might lose more money than you gain. Fortunately, marketers can use industry research and consumer analysis to gauge a good price range.

Place

It's critical that your marketing department uses their understanding and analysis of your business's consumers to offer suggestions for how and where to sell your product. Perhaps they believe an ecommerce site works better than a retail location, or vice versa. Or, maybe they can offer insights into which locations would be most viable to sell your product, either nationally and internationally.

Promotion

This P is likely the one you expected from the get-go: promotion entails any online or print advertisement, event, or discount your marketing team creates to increase awareness and interest in your product, and, ultimately, lead to more sales. During this stage, you'll likely see methods like public relations campaigns, advertisements, or social media promotions.

Hopefully, our definition and the four Ps help you understand marketing's purpose and how to define it. Marketing intersects with all areas of a business, so it's important you understand how to use marketing to increase your business's efficiency and success.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.



via Business Feeds