Marketing - Part 2
January 20, 2015
Marketing success is more than achieving one sale at a time. Successful marketing campaigns fulfill customers' desires and solve problems. They achieve this by:
- Delivering messages consistently and effectively
- Impacting purchasing behavior
- Attracting new customers
- Building relationships
Small businesses must make the use of every marketing dollar...hitting the mark every time. A business must understand its current and prospective customers, and learn what they want in products or services. This is done through market research.
Many small businesses think they cannot afford to do any market research. The fact is, they cannot afford NOT to do market research!
For a new business, market research will answer the following questions:
- Is there a market for the product or service?
- What is the size of the market?
- Is the market growing or shrinking?
- What is the competition?
For an established business, market research will answer these questions:
- What additional products or services might be offered?
- What is the company's reputation in the marketplace?
- Is the company meeting the demands of its customers?
When these and similar type questions are answered, a company can improve on its existing products or services, add additional products or services to meet customer demands, and attract new customers.
There are numerous market research options available for small businesses that can be performed by owners, managers, and employees for little or no expense, such as:
- Talk to existing customers (obtain suggestions)
- Test the market with small amounts of advertising
- Send surveys to existing and potential new customers
- Have in-business questionnaires
- Review monthly activity for business trends
- Determine size of the market (growing or shrinking?)
- Research the competition
- Review pricing relative to competition, product/service value
- Research industry studies
- Interview prospective customers about their needs
- Analyze company’s customer base
- Establish an advisory board to get a “fresh set of eyes”
A Changing Environment
One thing that is constant in business is change. This, also, applies to a company's marketing efforts. Effective marketing campaigns must change over time. It is a constant work-in-progress. Marketing components must be tested to understand what works and doesn't work, and what is most effective and least effect. Variables must be tested for effectiveness; however, only one variable should be changed at a time reviewing for positive or negative influences on:
- Total revenue
- Specific product or service sales
- Customer support requests
- Incoming calls
- Website visitors
- Other variables
Posted by Richard Weinberger, PhD, CPA
Chief Executive Officer
Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants