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    Marketing basics part I

    Welcome to a the first of a 3-part series about marketing, thanks to our guest blogger Kirsten Norton. Kirsten is a funny, hybrid type person who has many years experience in marketing (particularly brand licensing). She’s worked at The Narrows ,The Walt Disney Company and even had a stint as a florist back in the day. She currently teaches marketing at Monash University and recently completed a graphic design post grad at RMIT (because it was something she always wanted to do). She believes you have to be ‘interested to be interesting’ and recommends reading this. You can contact her via her website (and she’s more than happy to have a chat about your particular marketing questions).




    Straight up: I do not want to scare you away with hardcore ‘bizo’ talk of competitors, profit, strengths and weaknesses, macro and micro environments. I do not want to draw you a matrix. Porter’s Five Forces pfff. OK – maybe I’ll sneak in some acronyms BUUUUT what I really want to emphasise is that marketing is about an exchange – between you and your consumer. Erk. Consumer. There we go. I said it. Maybe we can all them something else? Paying fans?

    Your skills, your design, your creativity all have value and part of marketing’s role is to communicate that value. Most importantly I think good marketing is all about authenticity and keeping it real. Consumers are pretty clever people. After all – you’re a consumer right?

    • Critical thinking and analysis – be harsh! – think about your product as a consumer would.
    • Numeracy – get yourself some mad skillz – do your sums, make sure you’re turning a profit, build your costs (including your own time dammit) into your pricing, monitor your sales (why are they going up/down?), forecast your sales, do a short course at the CAE if you need to.
    • Be an observer of trends, ideas and anticipate them.
    • Be creative (I’m sure you don’t need help here),
    • Be entrepreneurial,
    • Take (calculated) risks,
    • Have a business focusyour business should make money – what you are producing/creating has VALUE. Put a price on it. (Maybe workshop what kind of price you should put on it….but understand you are producing a unique and valuable product).

    Marketing is more than advertising. It’s more than PR. It’s more than your brand. 

    Marketing is about analysing opportunities or gaps in the market, selecting your target market, developingyour marketing mix (more on this in Part 2) and managing the marketing effort. Or as someone close to me (OK, my husband) would say: “marketing is economics for dummies”. Harsh! We DO get to think about sexy things like branding and media but these are just PARTS of the whole marketing process!

    However, I’m going to hazard a guess and assume you already have a product (whether you’ve found a gap in the market or not) and you’re mainly interested in HOW to promote it. That’s a little like putting the horse before the cart but that’s OK – we’ll work with it. But first a little marketing 101 so you know how it ‘usually’ works...

    As I said, there are four ‘broad’ steps in the marketing process:

    1. analysing (looking for opportunities/gaps in the market and then capitalising on them),
    2. selecting your target market,
    3. developing the marketing mix (PRODUCT, PRICE, PLACE – aka distribution –and PROMOTION)
    4. managing the effort (did it work, how have sales gone? Do you need to tweak something? No point putting a marketing plan into to place if you aren’t going to measure it’s effectiveness).

    This post explains analysis and selecting your target market, Part 2 will cover the marketing mix (excluding promotion because that’s a mega-post all by itself) and Part 3 will cover promotion and managing the marketing effort.

    There are two kinds of analysis: internal and external.

    From an internal perspective (a bit of navel gazing required here!), you need to think about your strategies, costs, points of difference, strengths and weaknesses.

    Externally you need to think about the market, the broader environment,your competitors and customers.

    Think about your product in terms of whether there is a gap in the market or not. Your design should be unique and/or special in someway in order for a customer to choose it over a competitor’s product.

    Think about demographics and the broader environment. Are there growth areas? (I’m thinking baby booms and an aging population), the interest in locally sourced product/locally manufactured product/fair trade/reusable/recyclable/environmentally friendly products. It’s important to think long term and big picture if you want to remain a sustainable and competitive business.

    Internal analysis (acronym alert) – what are your KSFs? AKA key success factors. What must you have in place to be successful? I’d suggest these as starting points:

    • A strong brand
    • Support from your suppliers and retailers
    • Innovation in your product
    • A high level of promotional activity


    A market is a set of all and actual buyers of a product. You need to segment or divide up the market so you can communicate with your target effectively and tailor your promotion accordingly otherwise you have a scattergun approach– you need to be effective and efficient so you don’t waste your precious time and money.

    There are different ways of cutting this particular cake: geographic, psychographic (activities/interests/opinions), demographic, behavioural or a combination of all of the above.

    Is your target market attractive? No, I don’t mean are they hot but rather, is your target market large enough to ensure a profit? Is your market growing or in decline?A good website to check for demographic information (this can be helpful if you are setting up your own store for example) is the ABS Census website.

    Homework: do yourself a favour and check out the Biz Ladies on Design Sponge – based on the US market but still applicable/interesting – LOTS of information.

    Tune in for Part II next week, where the marketing “mix” is explained.

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
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