Marketing is the mechanism through which a product or service is rolled out and promoted to prospective customers. The amount of success a business enjoys is derived from the strength of its marketing efforts, which span advertising, sales, promotions and public relations.

It’s vital to your business because, without it, no one would know that your products or services exist, even if you’re the best at what you do.

With so much dependence on marketing, it’s not a stretch to say your world would end if it suddenly disappeared. Here’s a quick reminder of the many ways marketing contributes mightily to your success—and why you’d miss it if it were gone:

Marketing Makes Your Presence Known

For your startup or small business to thrive, it’s essential to promote awareness of your product or service in the marketplace. That means, the community you serve, whether online or offline, needs to hear from you—and the marketing strategies you employ will provide direction to each and every message you send out.

In the absence of effective marketing, prospects and customers may never find out about your offerings. Your business would wither and die.

If you smartly leverage marketing to promote your product, service and brand, your market’s awareness level can be raised to the point where they’re (hopefully) interested, or at least curious, about your offering.

Marketing Helps You Grow Sales

With effective marketing in place, prospects and customers will become aware of your products or services and, therefore, are much more likely to make a purchase. This is an important moment in the marketing cycle because, after buying, your new customers will start telling their friends and family members about their purchases, which triggers additional sales.

If you hadn’t leveraged your marketing to promote your brand and products, these sales would be non-existent, and your business would suffer.

Marketing Establishes Your Reputation

As an entrepreneur, you’ve worked hard to build and maintain a great reputation for yourself because you know it’s critical to fostering trust among colleagues, business partners and prospective customers or clients.

The same applies to your brand. The success of your business rides on its reputation, and good marketing can grow its brand name recognition or product recall. Every time your business meets or exceeds the expectations of your customers, your brand’s reputation gets stronger. As it grows, your company can expand, and sales will increase.

Of course, your brand’s reputation depends on the extent to which you actively engage your community through strategic communication and desirable products or services—and these are made possible through marketing.

Marketing Spawns Competition—and That’s a Good Thing

As Herbert Hoover, the 31st U.S. president, once said: “Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.”

One of the great side benefits of marketing is that it fosters a spirit of competition in the marketplace. When you market your products and services, word travels fast, and soon competitors sprout up to compete with you on price, quality and style.

While this may not sound like a good thing, it is because it forces your business to keep the pricing competitive so it can win over prospects and customers before your competitor does.

Without marketing—and, by extension, competition—the best-known brands would do all the selling while smaller players and newcomers stood on the sidelines with little chance of ever becoming successful. By fostering healthy competition, marketing enables smaller companies to enter, grow and succeed in the marketplace.

Marketing Costs (And Pays)

You can’t reasonably expect to have success in business without first committing to a marketing strategy. It’s mission-critical for anyone attempting to drive sales. Yes, it can get expensive, but that’s simply the cost of doing business.

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, you should expect to spend roughly half your first year’s sales on various marketing programs.

Beyond that point, your marketing budget will likely hover around 30 percent of annual sales, sometimes a little more. As the saying goes, it takes money to make money. And it’s worth it.

Takeaway

There is no business without marketing. As a business owner, your world would end without it. On the upside, a good marketing program will arm your business with its best chances for success.

To maximize those odds, engage your community with a healthy mix of media, including traditional display ads, direct mail, email, banner ads, live events, webinars, blog posts and more. Never be afraid to experiment or take chances with your marketing, provided the change in direction is consistent with your brand’s voice and your company’s mission and values.

And remember this advice from video game director, designer, programmer, and developer John Romero: “In marketing, I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss—and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last.”