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by Mike Vestil 

What Is Functional Marketing And How Does It Work?

In order to attract potential clients and persuade them to engage in a business relationship (which is the cornerstone of every effective sales plan), every company requires a well-coordinated marketing strategy. Sometimes it’s important to show your customers that your brand can connect to them on a deeper level than just simple utility. Standing out by means of charm and magnetism is a valid strategy for some businesses, but it may fall short in many others. 

Except in some extreme cases, nobody in their right mind would choose a dishwasher based on their feelings towards the manufacturer. Most would evaluate the capabilities and features of dishwashers in their price range. That’s where functional marketing comes in, allowing businesses to speak to the cool-headed customer trying to make a rational decision. The goal of this article is to present a few simple actions that may lay a foundation for your brand’s functional marketing strategy. These are not some secret magic tips for wealth or even tips for happiness, but a set of very general rules that have been proven to work.

What Exactly Is Functional Marketing?

The exact definition of functional marketing isn’t set in stone, but it usually refers to focusing on the practical advantages of your business in order to reach particular goals. It attempts to persuade a potential client in a fact-based, intellectual approach.

What Exactly Is Functional Marketing?

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Instead of trying to appeal to emotions, which can be difficult to gauge (since they are, by definition, personal and subjective) and strategies involving them can hilariously backfire (like the 2017 Pepsi marketing campaign involving Kendall Jenner), functional marketing focuses on the practical aspects of your brand. It appeals to the rational customer, focusing on facts that make your product or service better than the rest: quality, functionality, or features.

How To Create A Functional Marketing Strategy

You must decide on particular goals and objectives and create a strategy for carrying them out in order to create a useful marketing strategy. Your plan should incorporate all available marketing roles and channels and link them to overarching objectives. Every action your team takes to accomplish your company goals should be included in each phase of your plan.

Not every aspiring business person can rely on an experienced marketing team to come up with a detailed multi-stage plan of conquering the market. Luckily, many underlying processes are universal when properly applied and adjusted towards a specific aim. 

As you go through the steps below, consider that even if you want to learn how to make money without a job, marketing strategies will still need to be in place.

This means that knowing how functional marketing works and how to apply it is a valuable skill regardless of your chosen field. Here are the various steps to consider when creating a functional marketing strategy.

Be Rational

When planning your functional marketing strategy out, you need to set clearly defined goals that lie within the realm of possibility. The more specific you are, the more likely it is that all your hard work will not end in disappointment. Simply wanting to sell more products or have more clients is not specific enough, and such broad goals do not provide tangible results. These rational goals very much depend on the specifics of your business, the trends in your industry, and world events that have far-reaching consequences. 

Unless you’re clairvoyant (or really well-insured), there’s very little chance you will be able to prepare your business for natural disasters or unforeseen issues down the supply chain. However, you can definitely find out more about your company’s market environment or patterns in your clients’ purchasing behavior. Therefore, you will be able to set a sequence of attainable goals which is the foundation stone of your functional marketing strategy.

Write It Down

Where emotional marketing focuses on intangible and hard-to-quantify factors, like emotions and feelings, functional marketing attempts to do quite the opposite. In order to carry out a functional marketing campaign, you need to measure your business’ performance. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your business is absolutely essential for its continuing development. 

Creativity in marketing goes a long way, but meticulousness is even more important. Getting into the habit of checking crucial performance indicators, perhaps in the form of a functional marketing dashboard, can not only help your strategy, but improve your company in the long-term, too. Without collecting and analyzing results, and comparing them to previously set goals, it’s extremely difficult to make informed and effective decisions.

Know Your Business

This leads us to the third step which is getting to know your own company. It might sound absurd, after all you are the one running it. However, defining your niche in the market, and using that to precisely target key customers is an important step in forming a cohesive marketing strategy. You need to find the right channel to address your audience, and form a message that is best suited for reaching them.

Know Your Business

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You’re most likely an expert in your field with a wealth of knowledge that others might find extremely interesting. If that is the case, starting a blog is a great way to attract more clients. For example, you can share your own personal tips for traveling, or write about your experiences in the hospitality industry. This way, you will attract people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say and are more likely to purchase your services or products.

Earning money online as a business is a great thing to do.Knowing how to do it and what works can be difficult. You have to know how to market your products or services, how to target your customers, and how to get them to purchase from you. All of this can be done through a functional marketing strategy

Question Yourself

One of the steps which an entrepreneur might find understandably awkward is identifying one’s weaknesses. There’s nothing to be ashamed of: even the best-run company with a flawless marketing plan can have certain areas not performing as well as they should be. Without recognizing and addressing these flaws, there is little area for improvement. 

On the other hand, noticing that your goods or services compare positively to your competitors can give you the edge your strategy needs. This is where functional marketing thrives: letting your customers know just how much better their life would be with your product. It might, however, be almost impossible to achieve if you do not cross-analyze your business with available alternatives.


All of this precious data collected during the previous steps means nothing if you don’t adjust your strategy accordingly. Your clients are a valuable source of information; even if they do not provide direct feedback, they speak volumes with their wallets. This wealth of statistics will tell you what’s working and what still needs improvement. By adapting your functional marketing plan to these stimuli, you can continue to refine your approach in order to reach the goals you’ve set at the beginning of the whole process.

Functional Marketing - FAQ

Can You Provide A Functional Marketing Definition That Applies To Businesses Of All Sizes?

A functional marketing strategy is a type of marketing strategy that focuses on the specific activities that need to be undertaken in order to achieve desired results. 

It is important for businesses of all sizes to have a clear understanding of their objectives before devising a functional marketing strategy. This will ensure that all activities are aligned with the overall goals of the business. 

Once the objectives have been established, businesses can then identify the key functions that need to be performed in order to drive results. These functions could include product development, market research, advertising, and sales.

What Is A Marketing Functional Strategy In Relation To Other Marketing Strategies?

A functional marketing strategy is different from other marketing strategies in that it focuses specifically on the activities that need to be undertaken in order to achieve desired results. 

Other marketing strategies, such as product-based or brand-based approaches, take a more general approach and do not focus on the specific activities that need to be performed. 

Why does a functional approach in marketing make sense for businesses?

There are several reasons why a functional approach in marketing makes sense for businesses. 

Firstly, it allows businesses to align all of their activities with their overall objectives. This ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal and that resources are being used efficiently. 

Secondly, a functional approach allows businesses to identify the key functions that need to be performed in order to achieve their objectives. This means that they can focus their efforts on these key areas and ensure that they are driving results. 

Finally, a functional approach is flexible and can be adapted as objectives change or new information becomes available. This makes it easy for businesses to keep their marketing strategy up-to-date and responsive to changes in the marketplace.

What Does A Functional Marketing Structure Look Like?

A typical functional marketing structure would involve a team of specialists who are responsible for different aspects of the business' marketing activities. 

The team would typically be led by a marketing director, who would oversee the overall strategy and make sure that all activities are aligned with the business' objectives. 

Underneath the marketing director, there would be a team of specialists who are responsible for different functions, such as product development, market research, advertising, and sales. 

Each specialist would have a deep understanding of their particular area and would be able to provide insights and recommendations that would help to drive results.


With the aid of functional marketing, you will no doubt develop a more recognizable brand, which will in turn, lead to a larger client base, directly translating to increased profits. More importantly, you will be able to appeal to potential customers based on merit instead of resorting to emotional tricks. If your first attempts at functional marketing fall short, you should remember that it’s a continuous process, not a one-and-done thing. 

Keep collecting feedback and reevaluating your goals. Make sure to analyze your metrics daily in order to see which solutions bring the desired results. Don’t stop comparing yourself to your competition in order to find the qualities that make you stand out. If you stick to the plan, your efforts will bear fruit sooner rather than later.

Finally, consider that the four pillars of life, i.e., Health, Wealth, Love, and Happiness, can also be the pillars of marketing. A functional marketing strategy should take all of these into account in order to be truly effective. After all, your customers are human beings with real needs and not just numbers on a balance sheet.

When it comes to these four pillars, I go into detail about how to optimize them in my book The Lazy Man’s Guide To Living The Good Life. If you want to learn more about how you can live a good life by optimizing these pillars, then I suggest you check out my book.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is the author of the Lazy Man's Guide To Living The Good Life. He also has a YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers where he talks about personal development and personal finance.

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