Q: Hi! I own an online soap shop and we are doing good. The income from sales is satisfying and people give positive feedback. However, I wonder whether I should do some marketing? I have heard people talking about it, but I have no idea what it is. I also have no background about product management. Can you give me some hints where to begin?
A: This question is a bit tricky, mainly because I’m sure you have worked on your marketing plan since the beginning without realizing it! You may now think back to your first steps and how you made your dream come true. Let’s say you want to sell soap maybe because you can’t find the scent you like or the shape you can firmly grip or you don’t like liquid bath wash or you simply love to collect soaps! These same items, scent, size, shape are in fact part of marketing.
First baby step
When you begin to start your own little business. You think around your product first. You draw a picture that your soap will be geometric shape so it can stand out from the plain oval in the market. It should have the loofah so people can grab and scrub. The ingredient will be pure organic because you can’t stand the fact that soap is made from animal fat. One last thing to add, it should have the pleasant scent of your hometown local herbs. Then you make your imagination come to live with a real tangible product.
I don’t like it, I love it
At the same time, you may spend your time in the morning shower, thinking who will like my soap? You love it not only because you feel fresh and clean after using it or because you can smell soft sweet vanilla bean on your body, but because you are biased! It’s your own creation. Like a baby. How on earth you are not going to like it, right? Then you start asking your family and friends what kind of soaps they like. This is the survey process. You think of potential customers and you are getting the most related information from them.
A giant leap for a-hem myself
After that you launch your first product line with 5 pastel color hand-palm-size organic scent soaps because your research gives a hint that this set can be sold like a hot cake. Plus, you just got some new information that soap bars are popular among children and seniors groups while the middle age people tend to buy it as a present.
Yeah. You better know it
To PR your product, you conquer every social channel: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You even create your own website so you can invite customers from social networks to buy online here. Then you make sure the customer are happy with your product by making use of nice packaging, replying within a day, and delivering the occasional promotion. And by hard work and a bit of luck, your customers love your products and they keep coming for more! Plus you have new customers who see lovely photos of your soap on the internet.
The cycle of (my soap) life
Then the cycle kinds of repeats itself. You create new products, PR, keep the customer happy, and the money flows to your pocket.
Now, you may be thinking, so which process is related to marketing. The answer is ‘all of it’! According to The American Marketing Association: AMA, marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. If you understand customers and you offer products which meet their demands, then you are on the right track.
So yes! you are doing marketing and from the way you mention good income, it proves that you are doing good.
However, the selling-buying world is like an ocean. Sometimes it stays calm, sometimes it roars with waves. So in my next blog post, I will provide some insights about the marketing mix (4’Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion) which you can apply to your business.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned!
Check out this website if you want to know more about Marketing definitions: http://heidicohen.com/marketing-definition/
Click this link to learn about marketing process in academic way http://toolkit.smallbiz.nsw.gov.au/part/21/103/474