If you find that your marketing and promotional strategies are not working or achieving desired results, then maybe it’s time to go back to the board. Malcolm McDonald, a marketing academic, said that “the other half of the marketing audit, having considered whom we sell to, is what we sell to them.” An effective marketing and promotion strategy will typically be that one that is rooted in a deep understanding of the product and the market (market segments).

Understanding the product or service prior to setting marketing objectives and developing strategies is a prerequisite for marketing success. It not only helps in defining who the possible users will be, but also sets the pace for how they will be reached. Each product (or service) is unique. As such, using promotional strategies that worked for another product or business is like diagnosing a patient with typhoid without carrying out any tests just because they exhibited certain symptoms the patient before them exhibited.

There are many ways to begin the quest for understanding the product. Some people start by looking at the functional features like components of the product and performance, which form the core. Some look at added values which enhance the product’s basic features such as reputation, corporate image, and style of service and support. Some other people pay more attention to branding and value perceptions.

The company’s name or the brand name of the product often personifies the relationship that develops between the company and the customer. This relationship develops as a result of the company’s or product’s reputation in the market over time. Some brands may be valued at figures that exceed their balance sheet value and it’s been proven over time that a brand’s relationship with customers is a determining factor for earnings. When brands are neglected, their distinctive vales may be eroded and they will no longer command a premium price in the market. A good understanding of this is important for successful marketing activities.

If the brand image of the product is high, the company will have to do only a little in terms of marketing and promotion. But when the reverse is the case, marketing and promotion activities may fail, and the company will have to go back to the basics of redefining the product and the features of the product that will make it successful in the market.