To successfully grow your business, you’ll need to attract and retain a large base of satisfied customers. Marketing emphasizes the value of the customer to the business, and is driven by two main principles:
- All company policies and activities should be directed toward customer needs and satisfying them.
- Profitable sales volume versus maximum sales volume, what should your focus be? Profitable sales volume, of course.
And in order to best do this, you should:
- Determine what your customers want through market research.
- Analyze your competitive advantages and develop a marketing strategy.
- Select specific markets to serve so your marketing is more targeted.
- Determine how to satisfy customer needs by identifying the best marketing mix.
Marketing campaigns are aimed at convincing people to keep using your products or services. As a business owner, you should carefully plan your marketing strategy and performance to keep your market presence strong. For successful marketing, you would require timely and relevant market information. Data can be collected through an inexpensive research program, based on questionnaires given to current or prospective customers, which often can reveal dissatisfaction or possible new products or services. Solid market research can also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. Factors such as population shifts, legal developments, and the local economic situation should be monitored to identify problems and opportunities. Also, keep up with competitors’ market strategies.
The marketing strategy will first identify customer groups which you can better serve than your competitors. Then you tailor product offerings, prices, distribution, promotional efforts and services toward those segments. Ideally, the strategy should address a gap in customer needs that you can offer, which also at the same time has adequate potential profitability. A good strategy will help you focus on the target market you can serve best. Even though you may not have access to unlimited funds you can still see excellent returns while sticking to your budget by focusing on highly targeted marketing. Concentrate your efforts on one or a few key market segments.
Couple of ways a market can be segmented:
- Geographical segmentation: Focusing on the needs of customers in a particular geographical area.
- Customer segmentation: Figure out the segment of people most likely to buy the product or service and target those groups.
There are four key components to a marketing program:
- Products and Services: Product strategies include developing a highly specialized product or service or providing a product-service package.
- Promotion: Promotion strategies should focus on advertising and direct customer interaction. Good salesmanship is essential especially in case of limited advertising budgets. Online marketing is a cheap, quick, and easy way for your business and product to receive high visibility.
- Price: The optimum price is crucial to maximizing total revenue. Usually high prices mean lower volume and vice-versa. By providing personalized service you can often command higher prices.
- Distribution: How do you distribute your products. Working with established distributors or manufacturers’ agents is usually the easiest route to go when you’re a small manufacturer. If you’re a small retailer consider cost and traffic flow when selecting your location, remember advertising and rent can be reciprocal: cheap, low-traffic location means you may have to spend more on advertising to build traffic.
The nature of the product or service is also important in location decisions. In cases where the purchases are based on impulse, then high-traffic and visibility are important. But location is less of a concern for products or services that customers are willing to go out of their way to find. If you’re worried about reaching a certain market that you can’t really pinpoint, selling your product online may be the best route to go for your business. That’s a brief summary of marketing basics.