June 7, 2013
5 Things to Consider When Creating Your Business’ Marketing Strategy
So you own a small business and want to develop a cost-effective marketing strategy. What should you do? You should read on for five tips on tips to consider when coming up with a marketing strategy for your company.
1. Know Your Audience
Image via Flickr by batmoo
Small businesses commonly think all customers are equal, but to develop an effective marketing plan, small business should identify their most profitable customers and then investigate why they are spending more money than others with your business.
This requires some investigation, so examine what drives their purchases and frequency. Then, talk with them each quarter to find out what they are doing and if you need new inventory or can help them procure new products. Keep the process somewhat formal by having about ten question to ask. Then, get more informal by asking them about their hobbies and families. Conduct a SWOT (strength, opportunity, weakness, threats) analysis and study the results.
You can also broaden your reach by looking at affordable marketing lists. This is especially helpful if you use direct mail and cold calling as a way to advertise, as it gives you contact information of people in your surrounding area.
2. Implement the Plan
Small business experts have a healthy debate over whether marketing strategy is more, or less, important than the actual implementation. These same people agree that strategy is fun, while implementation is work.
In either case, stay focused on the goal. If the objective seems unrealistic, break it down into shorter-term goals that are manageable and realistic. Keep the goals on a scale which matches your business’ capabilities and resources, and do not abandon a goal unless it is necessary.
Also, while it seems obvious, many business plans are implemented without involving the right people or using people who are not trained. Training should take place about 60 days before implementation, and then followed by assessment and refresher courses.
3. Set Appropriate Pricing
Pricing is derived from good expense and financial management. But pricing is what can make or break any small business. A common cause of small business failure is price mismanagement; setting prices too cheap cuts profitability, so the best strategy is to research competitor’s prices, including their total product-service offering.
Small business should also study price elasticity and what drives it, so they do not have to complete on price alone. Pricing also has a quality component. If you sell a product or service at a high price, sell it with additional benefits, such as a consultation or training. This also strengthens relationships and accentuates your expertise.
4. Develop a Strategy
Strategy is what implements a marketing plan. It is the blueprint to carry out marketing goals. The core strategy should focus on marketing, developing strategic relationships, and employee development. Of course, the best strategy is to create ways to deliver exceptional customer service.
Also, be cautious of too much technology. While technology is powerful, it is not for all small businesses, so match your technological efforts to the comfort and access levels of your clients. For example, video e-mails are great, but if they take up too much bandwidth on your small business customers’ systems, the e-mail could backfire and cause them to resent your efforts.
5. Set Short-Term Goals
Image via Flickr by angietorres
Managers work towards a goal when it is near-term. Set your goals monthly or quarterly, at the latest, to make them realistic. Even visionaries can get lost when they start to peer over the horizon. It is better to look a quarter-mile down the road than ten miles ahead.
Remember, a marketing strategy can be as important as the implementation of your product itself.