Do a Google search for “marketing tips” and you’ll have nearly two billion results to sort through. Even with all that potential for marketing knowledge, the topic remains largely misunderstood. Too often, marketing is siloed away from non-marketing activities, leaving a gap in understanding between marketers and non-marketers.

Business professionals become more effective, and their business more productive, when they understand what marketing is, why it’s important, and the broad concepts of how it works.

Who Needs Marketing? Why (Good) Marketing Matters

“Those who worship at the temple of innovation believe that marketing is the cost you have to pay when your product is inferior,” writes brand authority Denise Lee Yohn in Forbes. In fact, the more disruptive or groundbreaking your product is, the more you need an equally innovative marketing campaign.

If, as Yohn says, most business leaders consider innovation the lifeblood of business, then marketing is its oxygen. “Marketing as it was originally intended, in its fullest, truest, and greatest form, is more important today than ever before,” says Yohn.

In a world flooded with products and services, in an age of AI, in a volatile global economy, understanding marketing is critical for sustained career and business success.

Advertising vs. Marketing

Many people conflate advertising with marketing. Advertising, however, is just one piece of the marketing puzzle, one element of many comprising a comprehensive marketing funnel. A relatively small piece, in fact.

Marketing starts longs before a single ad is even considered. It starts with understanding why what you have to offer has a market in the first place, and who that market is.

It’s not the slick ad or the infectiously compelling jingle that frames a smart marketing strategy. It’s empathy with your market. It’s a story and a well-implemented plan that engages and creates a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers.

In broad strokes, that’s what makes an effective marketing strategy. Everything else in the marketing tool kit should only serve that purpose.

Understand Your Funnel

The marketing funnel is often described as a customer’s journey from initial awareness of a product to conversion—making the sale. Another way to characterize the funnel is as a hero’s journey. Your customer is the hero of your story, seeking a resolution to a need in the marketplace. The funnel is your hero’s path to that resolution.

Some elements of a marketing funnel include:

  • Awareness: Lead generation. Cast a wide net at this stage to make all potential customers aware of your product.
  • Interest/consideration: Once aware, some will move a step closer to you, expressing interest and considering in greater detail what you have to offer them.
  • Evaluation: The final step before a purchase is made.
  • Conversion: The hero’s journey finds its destination. A sale is made.
  • Loyalty: If the story is true and the product is solid, a customer becomes a loyal advocate.

The Marketing Strategy Certificate Online from the Kelley School

The Marketing Strategy Certificate program from the Kelley School gives non-marketing business managers a solid grounding in marketing principles, methods, and strategies.

Upon completing the program, you’ll understand the essence of great marketing. With the skills you learn in the program, you’ll know how to create an honest and compelling story, build a successful marketing strategy, and attract your core market.

As you work through the program, you’ll apply what you learn in your own business, turning leads into loyal customers by guiding them through their hero’s journey.

The online Marketing Strategy Certificate is a 12-week program consisting of three 4-week classes. Students can expect to spend three to four hours per week on the course, half of which consists of synchronous instruction. The format encourages lively interaction and collaboration with your student colleagues.

The course curriculum includes:

  • What a Business Professional Should Know about Marketing
  • Growing the Business Using New Solutions
  • Pricing Strategies—Avoid Leaving Money on the Table and Overpricing Our Solutions
  • Communicating Our Value to Drive Purchasing and Loyalty

Instructor Dr. Rockney Walters brings both extensive academic research and real-world marketing experience with top names in the Fortune 500. With his expert instruction, you’ll come away with a solid foundation in the what, how, and why of great marketing.

If you’re ready to take your career and business to the next level, the online Marketing Strategy Certificate from the Kelley School is your own hero’s journey to success.