Whether you are a small business owner or an employee at an established, large corporation, it is important to be familiar with basic marketing concepts. There are many, but a few stand out as "need to know information" for any successful marketer. You don't have to take a business course in order to fully understand these concepts; sometimes they will make more sense to you as you put them into practice.

Market Segmentation

One of the most important concepts behind marketing theory is the need to segment your market. The market is the population of consumers. When you segment them, you break them down into smaller, uniform groups. The purpose of market segmentation is to narrow down the population to your ideal target customer. For instance, if you want to sell expensive strollers, it would be wise to narrow your target market down to wealthy women who have had a baby in the past six months.

Marketing Mix

In a Marketing 101 class you would surely learn about the importance of the marketing mix. This is more commonly known as the "4 Ps of Marketing." The 4 Ps are price, product, place and promotion. The idea is that all of these elements need to be addressed in order to reach the target customer. For instance, you must determine the ideal "place" where you plan to sell your expensive strollers, such as a high-end department store.

Product Life Cycle

The product life cycle is an element of marketing that some business owners unfortunately neglect when planning. This concept says that a product or service goes through a series of stages. It progresses from its introduction to the market, to a growth stage and then finally into its maturity and decline. This information is important for a business owner because he must be prepared for the time when he must either upgrade or replace his product or service in order to stay in business.

Market Research

The smart marketer must employ market research before launching a product or service. You must get an idea of what people want and need before making a large investment into the process, or else you risk a financial disappointment. When you conduct market research, you get feedback from your target market (which is determined during the segmentation process) and tweak your product or service offering accordingly.

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