3. Creating the opportunity for the market and the service or product encounter
Getting the market informed about the products, and of course closing the sales, is a third challenge and until this happens, a business is not complete and cannot continue existing. Crucial as it may be and yet there are numerous blunders on this and it is also not that easy to do.
By this, I mean not knowing the market anymore, but the other way around – the market not knowing you, the service or product you are offering. Once the service or product becomes available or “providable” then the market has to know about it and must have the chance to get an encounter with it. In my experience, I never knew about a versatile flat until I got invited to a sales function. Now, I have in mind to get one in the future for business and residential purposes. In the past, I only have in mind a condominium unit because that is what I know.
The Pasig River ferry boat shut down because there was not enough riders. One reason was that even the wife of the mayor of Pasig City did not know it was operating. In fact, a lot of potential riders did not know there was the ferry because there was not enough marketing activities or campaigning. Sometimes, it is the case that a potential customer does not know the service or product exists or they do not know where to find the service or product. There is a particular American brand that used to be in the Philippine market in the late 1990s. For some reasons, the distributors closed shop for some time. Now that they are back in business, a lot of people still think they are gone out of the market. They could tell where the brand’s previous store was and know not that there are in fact new stores operating. The market has no re-encounter of the products.
Reaching out to the market
There are different ways of reaching out to the market and I will only describe here three types of the approaches in broad strokes – human to human marketing, traditional materials marketing, and electronic technology facilitated marketing.
a. Human to human approach
This is the basic but fundamental approach to marketing. After all, it is people who closes the engagement with the market into a sale. Typically, those engaged in this approach are referred to as the sales force. Globally, direct selling is regarded as one of the finest approaches and perhaps the classic on marketing. Its most important strength is the potential immediate relationship building or turning the market into a customer or client. I know of a Chinese lady who does direct selling. She can immediately sell goods to Filipinos.
b. Materials to human approach
This approach is materially aided marketing and may include the display, exhibits, leaflets and so forth. Of course, services may not have anything to exhibit except sample outputs, such as write-up, an article, edited material or a book written. Banks practically do not have physical products to exhibit, except the foreclosed or possessed properties that they auction, but these are not their products. Sales people are still needed in explaining further, and in building relationships, and in closing the sale.
c. Electronic technology facilitated approach
Today world has achieved many technological advances. Marketing is now aided not just by tangible material things, but by high technology communications as well. A few decades ago, communications technology expanded. Radio and television marketing became very advantageous in terms of reaching more and more of the market. Up to now, there are areas radio and TV can reach and marketing through media remain important. Nonetheless, there is another communications technology revolution that changes the rules of the game – the age of the internet, cyberspace or virtual reality. This time it is referred to as social media marketing, which includes the construction of websites, internet advertising and blogging. As communications technology gets cheaper, more accessible, communications technology facilities, expand its reach and people partake in the cyber or virtual space, this approach nit only gets more and more important but also crucial and highly advantageous. In the cities and other centers of civilizations, people look for information including services and goods through the web. It has its limitations though, and one of these is the relationship that needs to be built. In the end, though, human to human encounter still remains as a necessary ingredient in every marketing and sales activities.