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Introduction to Marketing

Updated: Apr 21


Progressing into my plan of achieving future readiness from 15 different courses related in Business, I have finished my second course: Marketing! I enrolled into Coursera, completing a course called

Introduction to Marketing offered by the Wharton Business School of University of Pennsylvania.

Marketing is the study of the exchange between a business and its customers. There are 2 different types of markets that propose 2 different marketing strategies.

  1. The first is a Seller’s market where buyers come to sellers. Specifically called a product focus market that induces all business effort into making a product look appealing. Typically these businesses have higher revenue due to low creation cost, thus more profit.

  2. The second one is a Buyer’s market where sellers come to buyers; a customer based market. This strategy consists of creating a product that customers want, leading to customer segmentation.

It’s crucial to understand the world outside of your business in order to create the world inside. Outside, there will always be a connected community among customers, which is how customers know which businesses have the best experience. One bad customer experience leads to a decrease in future customers for businesses.

The main bases of a business are created around 4 essential standpoints.

  1. Product: Customers are looking for products that excite them and are lower in cost. Larger companies tend to be more eye attracting for customers since prices are usually lower here.

  2. Marketing: As an owner, you need to differentiate yourself from competitors and persuade your customers to be attracted towards your products.

  3. Experience: A business is not just a product but rather an end to end experience a customer has from a business. That experience has to be best all throughout in order for the customer to feel valued.

  4. Trust: Businesses have to be transparent and honest with their customers. This leads to customer loyalty driven by trust.

Now, I will be discussing more principle marketing aspects that illuminate a business as a whole.


4 P’s of Marketing:

  1. Product

  2. Place

  3. Promotion

  4. Price

I won’t touch on this topic just yet, but do keep these in mind while reading ahead!


In marketing, there are many key principles to make your business successful.

  1. The first is to know your markets, which was discussed earlier.

  2. You have to know what customers want, and also how your competitors are going to react with their customers.

  3. The customers have a final say in your business. Customers choose what they want to buy, along with other factors, such as:

  • Operational factors: the product cost and delivery price of your products

  • Product features: designs, style, brand reputation, any technology involvement

  • Customizable: meets customer needs

  1. As an owner, you have to commit to being best at what you sell and the customers you service. It's suggested to have a business that is best at something and good enough in two other things. For example, the Old Navy. They are best known for a clothing line with great prices and they are good enough in selling footwear and cosmetic accessories.

  2. Lastly, is to deliver the best quality and version of products to guarantee customer satisfaction.


Next is the STP framework which is another crucial part in Marketing.

STP stands for segmentation, targeting and positioning.

Segmentation: The owner has to identify variables to break the market, such as males and females, or teens and kids.

Targeting: This is a step deeper into segmentation, where now the owner chooses to find the attractiveness of each segment and choose exactly who to target. You choose this specific segment based on your business type. For instance, choosing teens in segmentation, and then specifically targeting sporty teens if you have a sport related business.

Positioning: Once you identify your segment and select specifically whom, you start communicating with it. This is where you understand how to promote yourself to your target segment and position yourself effectively. [Customers should feel attracted and valued. Create visibility for your brand through ads, celebrities etc. ]

*** It is important to understand that it’s risky to have a combination of totally different target segments. Targeting everyone will mean you have to carry products for those everyone. Walmart, for instance, is very successful by having a huge target market, but not everyone can pull it off like them

  • An analogy given by one of the professors; Barbara Khan in the course, introduced an example of selling coffee. Let’s say a customer wanted hot coffee, and another customer wanted cold coffee. It wouldn’t make sense to offer lukewarm coffee to both customers since it would leave them both unhappy. They both asked for different coffees and so give them their demanded coffee. Suggesting that mixing your target segments has higher risk. ***

Focusing further into Positioning, part of the STP framework, is another term called positioning statement, which helps define your brand. When focusing on positioning, here are the questions to ask yourself:

  1. Who is the target segment? {ex. Women}

  2. What is the point of difference that is being offered to that target segment? In other words, what makes you different from your competitors? {ex: The women cloth has an exclusive Swedish design}

  3. What is the frame of reference? In other words, what is the generic idea of your products? {ex. Clothing for work}

***Part of the Positioning branch comes brand positioning which essentially is to position your product to meet the needs of the target segment. It’s a trademark for a specific product or service. This brand positioning can be anything, as long as customers are satisfied. For example, it can be:

  • A contract or a promise a company makes of certain benefits, qualities or values within it’s customer relationship. For example Tesla or MacBook. They are never referred to as what the product is like a car or laptop. But rather a Tesla and MacBook, because of the brand reputation etc.

A brand’s real definition is whatever the customer thinks it is. It’s a community of customers talking to each other, which is where your brand reputation is formed. Thus, it’s important to have a strong brand name and a clear positioning, in order for the customers to feel the same way about your brand.***

In depth of the Positioning subject, I’m going to talk more about the frame of reference and point of difference.

Frame of reference, also referred to as Point of Parity is where you identify the generic idea of your product. Your frame of reference is not associated as unique to your brand and is shared with other brands. For instance, if “clothing for work” is your frame of reference, there are always other stores with the same reference, therefore don’t focus on making this part unique. Further, your frame has associations to consumer views that are necessary for a brand to be considered credible. Such as, in a grocery store, no matter where you go, it should always carry milk, eggs and bread for it to even be a grocery store etc. These are the basics of frame of reference.

Point of difference is what makes your business stand out, and exclusive from competitions. It should be strongly favored by consumers in order for your brand to be different in a good way. Your point of difference conceives a sustainable competitive advantage, therefore it’s essential to have one to really stand out in the crowd. In the previous example, I mentioned exclusive Swedish design which is a great point of differentiation.



In marketing, the focus is on how to promote a product into a market full of competitive sellers. Therefore, it’s important to first start with an excellent product idea. In this course, I learned some essentials any product needs for it to be successful. As an owner, ask yourself:

  1. Is this product relevant?

  2. Is the product distinctive?

  3. Is it feasible?

  4. Is it financially possible?

  5. Is it communicable?

  6. Is it sustainable?


Going back to the concept of Brand Positioning, is another important factor: Experience. A huge part of brand positioning is identifying the experience that exists around your brand name. This experience isn’t just the emotional feel of a product that a customer has, but rather the end to end contact. For a customer, the experience consists of senses, social, behavioral, cognitive and emotional appeal. Ex. When buying a car, the car purchase isn’t the only part. Entering the store and the vibe of customer service whether it’s a loud and a fun environment or a boring, quiet environment. Also, whether or not the company offers a test drive in the car which can enhance any customer experience. This is an example of experiential value called Brand Experience.

Here is a table of examples of what makes a brand weak or strong.


There are 2 different approaches in marketing, which was discussed before. The one I’ll be discussing about now is the Seller’s market, also known as a product focused market/product centric-approach. This approach is when businesses are solely focusing on their products and services, allowing customers to come to the product rather than going to the customer. It’s all about making money and maximizing shareholder value. These companies always focus on the future, how to make money today, tomorrow, in 5 years etc. This approach is based on strong product expertise.

So, how do they do it?

Since this strategy is all about the product, it needs to have a blockbuster product or service idea. However, just a great idea isn’t enough. Companies that manage a product centric approach,, think only about the future, meaning that their current product isn’t the only thing in the business. They need to be steps ahead of the competition, thinking about products they will be marketing in weeks or years from today’s product.

A product centric approach sounds great! Right?

Well, not really.

Here are the many cracks in this approach:

  1. Commoditization(generalized/necessity, like a pencil will always be a certain price, can’t make it expensive etc.): Technology enabled product development (have to have a next new thing in process when one thing is sent to the market)

  2. Smart customers: technology enabled information flow, customers are much more informed, and not so passive anymore, more demanding and savvier because of the internet

  3. Retail saturation(If delivery is your business idea): Technology enabled delivery, products are everywhere, like USPS vs FedEx.

  4. Globalization: They are actively looking for products from other countries, so in their own country you need to stand out.

  5. Deregulation: Products are not produced everywhere, and companies are unique, making more competition.

  6. Data: Information systems enable customer level tracking. Tech allows us to collect and utilize data of customers. You need to know who’s buying what, for how long and what other products are they buying, why they would walk away and extract more value from customers. You should know how to defend your business against another in that means distracting the customer or giving them coupons to stay, which are the valuable customers and who are not, which messages should we be sending to which customers. These systems give good business models, but are not accessible to all companies.

***Do keep in mind that these cracks are not true all the time. Those are just some reasons why a product centric approach might not work out.***


Now I’ll discuss the opposite of this approach: Customer Centric.

What is Customer Centricity?

Customer Centricity is a strength that aligns a company’s development/delivery of its products/services around the current and future needs of a selected customer in order to maximize their long term financial value to the firm.

In detail, this approach requires the company to be willing and able to change its organizations designs, performance metrics, and employee/distributor incentive structures to focus on this long-run value creation/delivery process. They should have a focus on building relationships with customers. Customer centricity is not necessarily only about making money, but rather sales. For example, instead of awarding your salesperson based on how much they made ($), award them on how many they sold. This strategy allows businesses to solely focus on improving customer relationships, allowing the customer to come back to buy your products all the time. Further, customer centricity requires us to look ahead, figure out who the valuable customers are and do things for them to help them recognize that we have their best interests in mind. It’s all about Building The Loyalty!

As we have an understanding of customer centricity, let’s compare it to Product Centricity*

Customer Centricity Product Centricity

  1. Selecting a set of Customers 1) Selecting a set of marketing strategies for a Product

  2. Investing into the right customers 2) Short term oriented businesses with the focus on making to benefit the company in the long profit for today.


  1. All about customer development. 3) All about product development.

***Now that we have a solid understanding of Customer Centricity and Product Centricity, let me ask you which of these following stores, one or many are customer centric?

  • Walmart

  • Apple

  • Starbucks***

I am guessing you picked out one of these stores, however … it’s none of them!

Let’s discuss why these companies are NOT customer centric, even though they might seem like it.

  1. Walmart

  • They know little about their customers

  • No loyalty program

  • Little effort to know what each customer wants

  • But they do know customers as a whole, they know regional differences, certain events. For example, for hurricanes, Walmart would fill their store with water and batteries etc.

  • All about bringing costs way down with higher volume products

  • They are product centricity, very good at making products look appealing

  1. Apple

  • Not so focused on customer importance, doesn’t know which customer wants what

  • But more important on leveraging its product expertise

  • Always revolutionizing their new products

  • Product centricity

  • Online Apple stores can track what items are being bought the most, which helps understand what customers want more

  • Everyone loves Apple, but no one asked for an iPhone. Apple gave customers something they didn’t even know they wanted, a huge reason why it’s not customer centric.

  1. Starbucks

  • Baristas try hard to obtain information on your liking

  • Not customer centric at national level, but only at local level

  • Your Starbucks usual won’t be relevant at any other Starbucks of another place or region

  • A truly customer centric company will identify you and value you no matter what


Throughout this course, I have gathered much information on Customer centricity. Using my knowledge, I am going to state a tip that I believe is crucial with this approach, in order to succeed!

Customer centricity is risky in the sense that you are supposedly sticking with one customer segment. However, the number one rule is to never dispose of customers who are not part of your segment. You might face change in your company, product, maybe your targeting the wrong customers or it just wasn’t working for your sales. Therefore, always target your segment, but keep something for other segments. A minor example are clothing stores. Although made for clothing, they always carry jewelry or accessories of some sort, which could be for customer segments who are not as interested in the clothing.


Remember the 4 P’s: Product, Place, Promotion, Price from Part 1…

Let’s discuss Promotion!

There are 2 different promotion strategies: Non-Communications and Communications. Non-communications strategies are non-direct. For example, it could be coupons sent to households or price discounts.

The Communication strategy is based around targeted media, which is advertising, through TV, digital media, print or billboards. It’s also through a connected community, where opinions on businesses are passed from consumer to consumer. Lastly is just the point of purchase, whether it’s in-store or online.

Another part of communications is product placement. This is an interesting and a successful way to promote your business. Product placement isn’t just where the product is placed but how subtly it is.

Take a look at the following example: {0:00 - 0:40}

In the above example, a James Bond movie included just a few seconds of a BMW being driven.

What does this say about BMW?

Well as the audience watching this movie, you would realize how “cool” or perhaps interesting this car is. “Wouldn’t having this car make you stand out in a pile of other plain cars?”

That is the whole point! BMW was not just in the movie, but they were promoting themselves here by introducing an idea of how you would look like driving a BMW, and that’s the perfect product placement example! There is a belief that anything that looks like advertising is actually less effective than something that is somewhat indirect!


Further into Communication, here are the campaign's essentials, the 6 M’s: Markets, Message Content, Mission, Message Design, Media Strategy and Money. I will be discussing each of these individually!


This is the target segment of the 6 M’s. As an entrepreneur, who do you want to communicate your products to? Who do you want to create your products for?

Message Content

The message of your business should be your positioning. What are you communicating with your customers? What exactly are the key benefits of your brand? How are you showcasing your products to the world?


As a business owner, think about your motives i.e.. your mission statement. What are you trying to influence? Here’s the process customers go through when buying something:

  1. Attention: At what level of attractiveness does a product or service have in order for the customer to even look at it?

  2. Interest: Now, what part of this product or service are keeping the customers interested and engaged? What makes that product or service stand out to them?

  3. Desire: The customer really wants or needs this product, what are their motives for wanting or needing this product?

  4. Action: The customer will buy it, so what made them buy this product or service?

Thinking about these overall steps, and answering these questions as an owner on why the customer would want your product or service, will aid in creating your mission statement.

Message Design

The message is the creative part of your brand. Essentially, it’s asking how do you show what you need to say to your customers? There are 2 different ways you can approach the message design - Rational and Emotional appeals.

Rational Appeals consist of direct product demonstration. This can be implemented through an ad. For example, tv ads would show the way a product is constructed or, how technology plays a role in the product like a vacuum cleaner or a razor/shave ad.

Emotional Appeals consists of the use of positive or negative emotions.

  • Olympic games, for example, use happiness in their ads to evoke a good cry in their audience.

  • Car insurances might use fear through a car accident, or real life stories to engage their audience to be safe through their insurance.

  • You can even combine positive and negative emotions together. For example, germ ads. These usually have fear and humor combined, by illustrating the negative effects of having germs, and cartooning the germs in order to be funny.

Media Strategy

There are 3 types of strategic perspectives used by businesses to reach out to customers.

  1. Paid

  • Television, search advertising, banner advertising

  1. Earned

  • An event, a tournament

  • Campaign where you give out goods, such as poverty sales

  1. Owned

  • Your own website, your company building with your name

  • Your own product, your product advertises itself. Such as cars, the brand name is written behind so other cars can see the type of car


Allocating your money wisely in a business is crucial to the success of higher profits. Therefore, it's important to understand a budget for communicating with your customers. Here are 2 tips to allocating your budget successfully:

Firstly is to set a communication budget as a percentage of sales that way your profits in result are higher, rather than setting a profit as your budget. Secondly is to set a communication budget to beat your competition. In the end, customers are choosing which business to go to out of a pool of many businesses, therefore you should always know what your competitors are doing. Then do better.


Price Sensitivity is a smaller characteristic of marketing, which shows how willing customers are to spend money on products or services. The definition is the availability and awareness of substitute and more substitute means great price sensitivity.

For example, in your hometown, having lived there for many years, you are aware of almost every store. Which means you know what stores are the best to buy from, etc., therefore you are the most price sensitive in this situation. However, contrasting with a tourist or someone on vacation in your hometown, they are not aware of stores in your area. Therefore, they are more likely to spend money, and thus less price sensitive.


Utilizing strong, focused marketing strategies in order to acquire customers are pivotal to achieving business success. But what about customers, what attracts them to products and services? What goes on a customer’s mind? That’s when Psychology plays a role in secretly pulling customers into your business. Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior.

Here are the many ways you, as an entrepreneur, can acquire customers!

  • Prices ending in 9 or 5 [ex. $4.99, $6.95]

  • Weber Fechner “Law”

  • Consumers react to prices in percentage terms as opposed to absolute prices.

  • For example, if a shirt and a pair of jeans cost $30 in total, the customer might be hesitant to buy it. However, if a hat was for $30, and a shirt & a pair of jeans came free with the hat, the customer would be more likely to buy it.

  • Endowment effects

  • A sense of ownership increases a customer’s willingness to pay. The goal is to make consumers feel like they own it before they buy it.

  • Such as, car test drives or fitting rooms in clothing and shoe stores.

  • Reference price effects

  • Buyers compare the current price with a reference price. A reference price is often determined by past prices paid.

  • In infomercials, they will give a set price then lower it down towards the end of video to make it more appealing.

  • Context effects: leading to the choice of the “Intermediate option”

  • When you have multiple options for products, and put a very high priced one in there, customers will tend to buy the middle option choice rather than the cheapest one.

  • For example, imagine 3 cameras on a shelf.

$400 $780 $1900

Customers will see that $1900 price tag and will immediately head for the camera that’s $780, ignoring the $400 one.


Perception is the process of developing an interpretation of a stimulus. Or in other words, deciding exactly what the stimulus means. Perception is the most crucial process in customer behavior since that is where customer forms opinions about your brand, and this opinion gets passed on in the connected community of consumers. What the customer perceives is what affects their action.

The customer process of perception in regards to buying products and services has 3 aspects. First is exposure. The consumer has just heard about a business and gets exposed to it. Second is attention. Whatever it is that they heard about the business has entered their head. Whether it’s a positive or negative opinion that came to their attention, it is forever in their mind. Thirdly, its interpretation. Using the knowledge they have gained, they make a choice/decision on what to do with that business.

If the consumer has interpreted that the business is cheap and affordable, they might want to go shop there. Or if they heard the business is a scam, and another store sells the same products or services for a better price, the consumer might avoid that business altogether. Unfortunately, what is perceived is not necessarily what’s true.

Here is an example of wrong perception. Let’s say you are new to a neighborhood and your neighbor told you that the stores beside the park are not safe. Even though you have never been to those stores since you are new, it has been perceived to you that it is not safe, and now you will simply never go there. You were exposed to those stores, then it came to your attention that it was dangerous, and now your interpretation is to never go



Psychology and Perception

Together, these two ideas can further help you as an entrepreneur to secretly allure customers to your business!

The Stroop Test: This test is proven to show that customers are more drawn to text and words, and it depicts the power of color. Take a look at the following image and read the color of the words, not the actual words! I will discuss the importance of colors in the later parts, but do keep this test in mind!

Similarity in Location: If things are close to each other, they are similar. Using this proven psychology fact, entrepreneurs can manipulate customers to buy more products together, simply by making them look like they belong together. For instance, in grocery stores, beside salad vegetables, employers would place a ranch dressing near it. To customers, the placement of the products suggest that they are meant to be bought together, and so customers will do as planned. Another example is in clothing stores. Mannequins are shown to be wearing outfits, clustering around the stores. Companies use them to suggest to consumers that this shirt, and these pants belong together. They are pushing this outfit into your mind so as a consumer you get fooled to buy them together!

Brand Reputation: There was an experiment conducted where coke and Pepsi bottles had its labels switched. After switching, these bottles were sent to households who disliked Coke or Pepsi. So the household that loves coke, but hated Pepsi, received Pepsi but it had a Coke label. And vice versa. Those households didn’t taste any difference and enjoyed their drink, even though they claimed to hate what they actually drank. Altogether, this experiment depicts how brand names hold a lot of importance to customer enjoyment. Overall, as a company, it’s your goal to associate good perceptions to your products!


Along with brand importance, here are the essential elements to establishing an effective brand:

  1. Brand Name

  2. Logo

  3. Symbol

  4. Character

  5. Packaging

  6. Slogan

  7. Color

Make sure all these brand elements work together to create a unique identity for your product. See your brand from a custom point of view and ask yourself, what would you think about the company’s products or services, if you only saw their brand name/picture etc.? Once you have crafted your brand, it’s important to match it with a brand criteria, so your brand is effective from any angle.

Brand Criteria {established from the marketing course}

  • Memorable

  • Easily recognizable and recallable

  • Meaningful

  • Descriptive and persuasive

  • Appealing

  • Fun and interesting

  • Aesthetically pleasing

  • Rich visual and verbal imagery

  • Protectable

  • Legalize it so people don't copy your name

  • Don't make it look similar to other brands

  • Create an image that’s hard to copy

  • Adaptable

  • Flexible

  • Editable /changeable

  • Transferable

  • Within and across product categories

  • Across geographical boundaries and cultures


A brand plays a different role in creating the overall perception, it could be the colors or the design that allows customers to just make an impression. Sometimes customers won’t be too precise in finding details about businesses, therefore catching their eyes with your brand allows them to just go along with however they feel about your product. Therefore, the hardest thing is the name of the brand because this carries meaning for your business but also customer perception. It’s harder for start up businesses to be able to have a unique, recognizable brand identity such as NIKE, H&M and PINK. The solution to this is to invest into new words. Create something extraordinary, and give it it’s brand meaning through a unique name.


Referring previously to the Stroop Test, we established the importance of colors through that test. The ultimate company goal is to literally own a color. Let’s look at Spotify and IKEA.

Although these businesses are so different from each other, I will always recognize that particular green shade from Spotify, and the bright blue and yellow colors from IKEA. They’re just colors, but the brands have established a strong reputation, where the colors are associated with it.

Further, colors can also be seen as genders, such as Blue with boys and Pink with girls. These perceptions are not true of the color, but in societal terms, customers differentiate blue and pink with gender, specifically for baby clothes or decorations. Another example could be quality. The colors, gold, silver, black and white have a luxurious perception. Such as Gucci, even though their products are expensive, their brand has an expensive perception to it as well, because of the colors.

Here are the many meanings to the many colors, and what people think of them:

  • Red : Love/ Passion and excitement

  • Blue: Aesthetic color/ Associated most with toys for boys/ Productive color

  • Green : Tranquility and health, money, nature, fertility

  • Brown: Reliability, boredom, practicality, earth

  • White : Purity, innocence, empty, spacious/ Creates the illusion of space

  • Black: Evil, death, mourning, slimming / But also luxurious and aesthetic

  • Yellow: Bright, gives energy/ Been shown to make babies cry/ Causes eye fatigue

  • Orange: Excitement, enthusiasm, warmth, caution

  • Lavender: Calms the nerves, relaxation

  • Purple: Royalty, wealth, success, wisdom

  • Pink : Calming, warm


Lately, the world has been revolutionized by modern technology and more efficient products. Companies and Brands are bound to change in a time where customer perception is growing, and customer pickiness increases. It’s crucial to understand the process of Repositioning a Brand in order to adapt and modernize accordingly to customer likings.

***Not all brands change, but by reading how to revolutionize a brand, you can understand what are the most important aspects of a business. So, you can start with a revolutionary brand, and start off strong instead of repositioning your identity later on!***

Here are 5 reasons why brands change!

  1. The identity/execution was poorly conceived

  • Can often be identified by measures of consumer interest brand associations, sales

  1. The target for the identity/execution is limited

  • May need to change to reach a broader market

  1. The identity has become out of date

  • Markets change such that a working position may become obsolete

  1. The identity loses its edge becomes old fashioned

  • Consumers and markets change such that positions and execution that were once contemporary become less

  1. The identity has just become tired

  • Same products over time may become boring to consumers, companies lose their ability to attract attention

Reinforcing and revolutionizing a brand does not mean changing everything. A brand can evolve more gradually to gain more contemporary associations while maintaining familiarity. Here are all the brand aspects, along with which elements change or don’t!

  • Symbols: can update without changing meaning

  • Brand name: can change to reflect evolving identity

  • Slogans: easier to change than the name

  • New products: can be true to the core identity, but add a modern, innovative element

When it comes to repositioning your brand name, you may be entitled to facing challenges here. Think about your brand name in a broader context. Let’s look at an example:

Assuming there’s a company called Boston Chicken. You can tell from the name that they only sell Chicken. What if chicken wasn’t working out, and this company needed to expand. Just by going from Boston Chicken to Boston Market. See how their brand changed with just one word, now they are able to perceive the same brand familiarity but also gain more customers through a variety of products !

Here’s a real life example of brand change, Musically:

Musically was just an app targeting teens to make music videos. Only Music. Once they went out of business because of less users, they revolutionized to a more successful brand identity, TikTok:

Although every brand aspect of TikTok changed, from color, name and logo; they expanded. Instead of just music videos, there are now videos on everything.


From this marketing course, I furthered my understanding of the functions behind just a product in business management, and how a successful business is acquired through the important collaboration between customers and producers. I have concluded that there is so much to business modelling and marketing strategies. My knowledge has expanded throughout this course and I will be implementing my learning into my future business! As I finalize my first Business Idea, I will be revisiting my learnings from this course and create very specific view point of how these marketing strategies will be adopted and implemented in the business model.

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