Ever noticed how other companies with the same products, services, and almost structure as you become much more successful earlier? It is because of this little thing we call business marketing. You might have the better-quality products and services, and your small but solid fanbase may be gushing over how good your products and even your customer service are but if you are not reaching your target market, then you are going to lose to your competitors.

There are many definitions of marketing. But if you want to really understand what it is, let’s put it this way: marketing is identifying and understanding your target audience and developing products and services that will meet their needs. We have always believed that marketing is the first step towards building a business. You cannot market your products and services after you have decided which products and services to produce. You should have, in the very first place, identified what your audience want.

Marketing is important in all areas of your business—from answering the phone to handling customer complaints to your staff’s uniforms to your email signature. These will all comprise your identity as a business and how others will perceive you will depend largely on how you build your reputation in the industry. Say, for example, a cup of coffee. Bigwig companies like Starbucks and Seattle’s Best have exceptional coffee. But you know as well as we do that there are also many cafes across America that have the same great-tasting coffee as those two companies. How it is, though, that those two managed to be a global empire while others wither and die?

It is because of marketing. Starbucks and Seattle’s Best have exceptional customer service, have a well-defined corporate social responsibility (Starbucks support locally grown coffee beans), and have various gimmicks that would enable them to reach their target market. Combine all of these with great products and it is a surefire formula for success.

On the other hand, local cafes across America could not even bother to instruct their crew to smile at the customers or greet them “good morning.” Some of them may even be crankier than a customer who hasn’t gotten his cup of joe yet. They don’t bother to decorate their shops for the holidays and they don’t have interesting gimmicks also that would bring a throve of customers over.

Marketing is all about the efforts of the company to bring customers to their business. Clients won’t just come knocking at your door. You have to seek them out. Business marketing does that for you.