The only three things you need to know about marketing

Open signThere are three things that a budding successful start up needs to understand about marketing and that is the triumvirate of customers, product and competitors. 

Without a thorough understanding of each of these three areas in relation to your business it will be very difficult to stay open for longer than six months, tops.

Strategic marketing is so important to a business that, without it, you have no business.  It is less about the number of followers you acquire on Twitter and fans you amass on Facebook (although this definitely has its place) and more about finding a profitable niche in the market that has your name on it.

Here’s my lowdown on what you need to know.


  1. Who’s likely to buy your product or service and what they might pay for it?
  2. What pain point do they have that your product or service is going to solve?
  3. Are there enough potential customers willing to pay the price you’re asking for you to stay in business?
  4. When do they buy?  Is your business heavily dependent on seasonal traffic and, if so, are you prepared for this?  Don’t miss the window
  5. Can you draw a profile of your customer?  Include who they are, where they live, what they’re currently buying now instead of your product or service and how they are influenced


  1. Can you identify the features and benefits of your product (and are you clear on the difference between the two?  Each feature should have a benefit) 
  2. Do you know what price your customers will pay for your product and is there enough margin in this for you to be profitable?
  3. How is your product different to and better than your nearest competitor’s?


  1. Do you know who they are, what they’re good at and what can you do about that?
  2. Do you know what they’re bad and how you can exploit this?
  3. What can you do to raise the barriers to entry?  Are there natural barriers to entry in the market place or do you have to create some with your business model?

No doubt there are more questions than I have listed here, I’d be interested to hear your views.

Finally, I read this definition of marketing some time ago somewhere on the internet (apologies if it was yours) and I thought it summed up the breadth of marketing quite well.

What is marketing?

If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday”, that’s advertising.
If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.
If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity.
And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.
And, if you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing!

4 thoughts on “The only three things you need to know about marketing”

  1. Super article Janet, actually one of the best I’ve read on the subject of ‘marketing’. The quote about the circus appears to have come from an article in Reader’s Digest, “Promoting Issues and Ideas” by M. Booth and Associates, Inc., and it’s brilliant 😉

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