Archive for the ‘Marketing Plan Development’ Category
As business owners, understanding marketing and its role in growing your business is critical to your success. Especially if you are looking to build a business that continues to grow well into the future. Although there are thousands of marketing tactics, strategies and ideas, if you do not master the basics those will never work. There are three core building blocks to any marketing plan that is essential when you get started marketing you business:
The first rule in marketing is “Know thy customer” so it is critical that you know your market and understand your customer. The key to success here is to niche your market and be selective about who you choose to work with. For example, instead of saying small business owners, try CPAs or service professionals or Women CPAs. As you can see, by identifying a niche, you are able to focus your time and energy on marketing to that segment of the market vs. the entire small business community which is entirely too broad. This is where many business owners fail simply because they do not do their research and do not isolate a defined group that they can focus all of their energy, resources and money towards.
The next step is to identify the exact message you want to send out to your market. If you have done your research you know your customer and their wants and needs and can create a message that resonates with your customers. You have unique position and value that you bring to your customer and the goal is to define that value into a marketing message. But beware, the common “here is who are and this is what we do” message does not work. Really focus on the value you bring and the benefit that your customer gets from working with you.
The last step is to deliver your message to your market. This could be in any form of advertising: Print media, TV, radio, coupons and much more. They goal is to be strategic about the media you choose and to select more than one. In a time where email marketing is at an all time high, it may be a good time to focus on direct mail to stand out. Although it may appear more expensive, if you get more response and have a better return on your investment, it is the better choice. Many business owners fail to invest in their marketing and their message gets lost in a sea of other messages. You have less than 3 seconds to capture the attention of potential customers so use powerful headlines and compelling offers to attract your customers to read on and to take action.
In today’s competitive environment, finding and keeping clients is getting tougher and more costlier to do so it is really important to really get into the minds of your customers and to understand what makes them tick. Knowing your customer intimately is the first step to easy sales.
Now when preparing your marketing plan, don’t confuse “wants” with “needs.” People don’t necessarily buy what they need, buy they’ll most always buy what they want. For instance, have you ever known someone that went to the store to buy a pair of shoes that they needed and came back with a new shirt, pants and a sweater to match the shoes? Or how about the shopper who goes into the supermarket to buy some milk and comes out with a frozen pizza and other treats.
To really get to know your customers you’ll need to ask yourself questions such as:
- How does my potential customer normally buy similar products? Does he shop in the stores, in malls or on line?
- Who is the primary buyer? Does the wife make the decisions or the husband? Is there a procurement department? What is the buying process?
- Where does my potential customer get their information? Do the watch TV, read newspapers or magazines?
- What are my potential customer’s primary motivations for buying? Do they have a pain? What is their financial status? Do they want to look good, be healthy, gain status?
Here are some places to do your research:
>>Wordtracker – type in your keywords and phrases and see if anyone is searching for your product. Some tricks are there are two ways people ask questions… remember you want to use language that people are searching for and check to see if there is a demand for what you are offering.
1) 50% of the people are logical and ask “how to” questions – How to create a marketing plan
2) The other half are more emotional and ask “the best marketing plan”…..
>>The SRDS list – www.srds.com This is a compilation of every magazine and list out there with the volume of readership. This database has demographics and everything you need to research on your niche.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States (annual) Published by the U.S. Department
of Commerce, this publication provides one-stop shopping for a demographic portrait of life in the United States. (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/)
- Drive around your local area – sometimes you can tell a lot about a neighborhood simply by driving around
- Conduct a survey – poll your target to identify certain trends and characteristics.
Ask questions – the best way to find information out about your customers is to ask them directly. Ask, Ask, Ask is the number 1 marketing tool you have in your arsenal.
©Kellie D’Andrea & Associates
Not everyone who starts and runs a business begins with a business plan, but it certainly helps to have one. If you are seeking funding from a venture capitalist, you will certainly need a comprehensive business plan that is well thought out and demonstrates sound business reasoning.
If you are approaching a banker for a loan for a start-up business, your loan officer may suggest a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, which will require a business plan. If you have an existing business and are approaching a bank for capital to expand the business, they often will not require a business plan, but they may look more favorably on your application if you have one.
Every business owner should have a complete understanding of the competitive landscape in their market. Competition is defined as any business that provides a similar service or product in the same market, region and industry. A strategic business owner not only knows who his competition is but also understands the best way to position himself ahead of his competition. The following provides a step-by-step process in creating your competitive analysis. Read the rest of this entry »