It does not matter how great your marketing is; if it is not backed up by a solid Business you will fail.
And the best way to get great marketing, together with a solid business, is to get a great Business Plan
Where can you find the right Business Plan?
- Complete Business Plan - click here
- If you require current U.S. information for your American Business - click here
- If you require current U.K. information for your British Business - click here
- If you want someone to write your Business Plan with you - click here
Marketing your business is the important process of communicating the value of your products and / or service to potential customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service. The marketing mix is the combination of product, price, place and promotion for any business venture.
The marketing mix and the 4 Ps of marketing are often used as synonyms for each other. In fact, they are not necessarily the same thing.
"Marketing mix" is a general phrase used to describe the different kinds of choices organizations have to make in the whole process of bringing a product or service to market. The 4Ps is one way – probably the best-known way – of defining the marketing mix, and was first expressed in 1960 by E J McCarthy.
The 4Ps are:
- Product (or Service).
Marketing is integral to the success of a business, large or small, with its primary focus on quality, consumer value and customer satisfaction. The marketing mix blends these variables together to produce the results it wants to achieve in its specific target market.
Products are the goods and services that your business provides for sale to your target market. When developing a product you should consider quality, design, features, packaging, customer service and any subsequent after-sales service.
Place is in regards to distribution, location and methods of getting the product to the customer. This includes the location of your business, shop front, distributors, logistics and the potential use of the internet to sell products directly to consumers.
Price concerns the amount of money that customers must pay in order to purchase your products. There are a number of considerations in relation to price including price setting, discounting, credit and cash purchases as well as credit collection.
Promotion refers to the act of communicating the benefits and value of your product to consumers. It then involves persuading general consumers to become customers of your business using methods such as advertising, direct marketing, personal selling and sales promotion.
When you start a new business, especially a small business, you will have nightmares about two areas:
- Obtaining new business
- Continuing sales through existing customers
The answers to these problems are commonly misunderstood. Most new entrants into business will answer both the above questions with "advertising".
The problem with this answer is that advertising is only one part of many options that can be used to obtain new custom, and maintain sales from your existing customer base. To be successful in business you need to understand 'marketing'.
All too often companies spend a lot of time and money developing their logo and the graphic look and feel of their promotional materials - important aspects of effective marketing - while giving only cursory consideration to their marketing message - an equally important component to successfully promoting your business. Development of your marketing message should be given at least equal time as development of the graphic elements or what is commonly referred to as the "look and feel".
You must make sure that your marketing message will sell.
- Capture the attention of your target market with a headline that clearly defines who you are talking to. If you are selling to retirees your headline might be something like, "If you are 65 or older."
- Identify the problems, symptoms, issues, needs and wants of your target market. You must start with where they are and then move them to the action you want them to take. To continue our example, if you are looking for retired people to volunteer time to a cause your sub-head might read, " And looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of others".
- Provide a brief description of the product. This is the features of your product or service. Be sure you describe features that matter to the target market you are communicating with and that you describe them from the target market's prospective. In other words, talk about what your customer is buying - not what you are selling.
- Describe the benefit and the value that the customer will derive from purchasing your product or service (or from taking the action you want them to take). Again these benefits must be pertinent to the customer group you are selling to.
- Give your message credibility. This could include testimonials, case studies, or money-back guarantees.
- Specifically state the action you want the recipient of your message to take. For example, "Pick-up the phone now and call 111-222-3333 to register" is much more likely to lead to action than simply giving a telephone number and assuming that if the person wants to register they will call the number. Whenever possible, you will also want to offer multiple ways for people to take action (i.e. phone, email, fax, regular mail, and website).
Marketing comprises a number of disciplines:
- Direct Mail
- Internet Web Site
- Design of Promotions
- Press Release
- Public Relations
- Selling Yourself
An example: you take a space at an exhibition to show your range of wares, as promoted on your web site to improve your public relations and sales. You had some leaflets designed and printed that advertised your goods through photography. You ask each visitor a few survey questions about industry, product and needs. At the exhibition you sought leads for a direct mail and telemarketing campaign.
Using mail shots to get the attention of customers is very common and is done via the postal system. E-mails can also be used to do the same job and can be the more cost-effective approach. Promotions such as leaflets, brochures and newsletters are often the main content for mail shots, although there are no limitations.
Mail shots can reach a large audience, cheaply.
Although you must appreciate that most people will show no interest towards your mail, you can reduce this effect by targeting your audience using mailing lists. Further, not only will you be saving money targeting uninterested parties, but also you will reduce the effect of people giving your business a bad image through the continuous receiving of unwanted mail (junk mail).
Telephone calls can be used to make independent sales or can be used as a follow up procedure to mail shots. Once a customer has received and browsed your mail, they may have little or no intention to act and so a telephone call may just build up their level of interest. Telephone sales can be very annoying to most people, so again, it is important that you target your customers to avoid wasting their time and yours.
Sales can be made directly by phone...do you have someone capable of doing this?
If you are trying to make a sale over the phone, many people may never have heard about or seen your product, so you may decide to use telemarketing to draw people to your shop, office or even web site. If they are interested, you can then make appointments for them to visit so that you can offer them personal assistance and information regarding the product or service.
Printing can be used to market your business name on stationery such as letterheads, invoices, compliment slips, etc and advertising such as leaflets, brochures and posters.
Printing can be integrated into many of the areas listed in this article and so you have to acknowledge that it is an integral part of marketing. If not done properly, the quality of your designs and promotions may be affected by the poor quality of the final print.
Having your business name printed on such stationery will give your business a more professional look that customers will be attracted to. Different weights of paper (less than 100g to 400g) can be used for different purposes. For example, heavier paper can be used to print brochures that customers will be impressed by, and lighter paper can be used for extensive use such as letterheads and compliment slips (as the lighter paper is cheaper).
Use quality printing for your stationery, it will pay off.
Exhibitions are excellent for people to view and experience your products or service. Being face-to-face with potential customers and suppliers is arguably the best way to promote your business as any questions or queries can be clarified with you in person: as a result, exhibitions can usually generate business leads. The added advantage of exhibitions is that they usually offer free publicity as journalists and photographers will nearly always be present.
Exhibitions can generate many fresh leads.
It is a good idea to make your display as interactive as possible allowing people to handle and experience your products. The use of video is common although you should limit the length of the feature to, say, three minutes (on a continuous loop) as people do have a limited attention span.
Each year, there are hundreds of exhibitions being held all over the country and cover practically every field of business. You should therefore have no problem of finding an exhibition that suits your product or service.
Surveys and research will keep your marketing focused
Survey / Research
Market research is one of the most important areas of marketing. Without the research, you will find yourself making wrong decisions and unnecessary spending that will eventually lead to business failure. Researching the market will help you find answers to how much you will price your product, who to sell it to and where (to name a few). It will also give you an insight into the best methods of penetrating the market and becoming competitive.
There are two main sources that you can collect information: primary data and secondary data. Primary data involves information that is unique, say, a survey, questionnaire or interview. Secondary data includes information that is already available such as reports, economic trends, market sales figures for previous years, etc.
Internet Web Site
Using a web site to market your business is useful when your product or service is of interest to customers that live outside of your local area. At this point, it is important to identify whether the web site will be used for one of three ways:
- Firstly, a glorified brochure that will act like an on-line interactive leaflet advertising your products or service.
- Secondly, an extension of the above: a leads provider that will allow you to give contact details for your business.
- Finally, for e-commerce where you will actually sell your product or service on-line. If you decide to adopt this option, then you will need to set up a Merchant Services Account so that customers can use credit card transactions on-line.
You have to appreciate that web sites are expensive to run and so it is important that you value the need for extending your business onto the Internet. Further, unless you are an expert at web design, you should consult a professional service to create the web site for you or your business image will be dragged down with the lack of quality.
When you have a web site up and running, you can buy banner advertising (different sizes available), micro button links, or referrals on other websites to help promote your business. You may even decide to issue an on-line newsletter periodically so that you can inform visitors to the site of any news, say, a change in price or the introduction of a new product.
Is your web site REALLY marketing your business?
Design and Style of Promotions
The design and style of your promotions, including those on-line, are important to determine the outcome of their success. Poor design and style will be a put-off for customers and the lack of quality will be seen as a reflection of the product/service you have to offer. It is therefore important that you use professional services to compensate for any lack of skills you have in this area.
Professional design and style can reflect the quality of your business.
When designing, one of the most important aspects that get our attention is the use of color. You should use colors in your promotions that reflect the service or product that you have to offer. For example, finance services usually favor the darker colors such as purple, black, grey and blue: the brighter colors are usually more consumer orientated.
A press release can be used to deliver information about your business to the public through printed media such as newspapers and magazines. Such news may include anything you feel is newsworthy to the public such as the opening of your business, the introduction of a new product or service, an achievement, exceptional performance, etc.
The press can deliver important news to a wide audience.
You should target your intended audience by sending your press release to the relevant media concerning both field of business (finance, Internet, consumer, etc) and location (local, regional, national, global). Press releases are very hard to get published but if you are lucky enough to get your news printed, it can be an essential marketing tool.
To increase the chance of your press release being considered, it is important that it is written in a professional style that will reduce the need for further editing by the journalist (although they usually do change some things).
Public Relations (PR)
PR is all about getting a good image for your business to encourage sales by communicating with the concerning public. This public may include customers, staff, suppliers, the government and so on. PR is achieved through publicity: these two phrases are often confused but to be fair, they are closely linked. PR does not have to be expensive and it can so often be a much cheaper alternative to, say, having an advert in a magazine.
Press releases are usually the best form of gaining good PR but it can also be achieved through business exhibitions, conferences, sponsorship and also donations. Although publicity managers are more common with the larger companies, you may decide to take on this role to make sure that your business is in the spotlight when it is needed and that any public criticisms are justified with a convincing response.
How popular are you with the public?
You should always be looking for personal development to help market your business. There are many ways to do this including further education, courses, cross training and mentoring to help build yourself to become successful: it is always good for a business to have someone that is successful, approachable and in some cases, willing.
You can be your most powerful marketing too.
Mentoring is becoming a common trend and a mentor is someone who, without full-time coaching, can give you an insight into, say, business management, production, marketing, etc at key moments in your development.
Photography is something that can be used in your visual marketing methods such as posters, leaflets, brochures, etc. Photos can also be used alongside press releases as they allow people to visualize aspects of your business whether it be the product, the premises or even yourself! Photos can often say so much about the quality of your business as it gives an appearance that is so much better than plain old text and images (although images do add quality to some respect).
Photos can increase the quality of leaflets, posters and brochures.
It is important that you acknowledge the importance of the quality of the photographs as poor quality will have an opposite effect of reducing interest. As a result, if you are not experienced in the field of photography (this does not include holiday pictures!), you should consult assistance from somebody experienced, possibly a family member or friend.
When the word marketing is mentioned, most people immediately think of advertising. This is not the wrong answer but advertising form only a part of marketing: it falls in the Promotion quadrant of the marketing mix.
Arguably, all businesses need to implement advertising to some degree in order to be successful: this may be when your business is starting up and/or throughout the time you continue to trade.
There are many reasons why advertising is used and commonly it is used for creating awareness of your products/service. Recently, there has been a sudden rise in corporate advertising: trying to build the awareness of the business itself.
Advertising is done through a range of media including newspapers, magazines, leaflets, posters (in shop windows, etc) and so on… It is important that you target your audience to avoid wasting money advertising to uninterested parties.
Identify what advertising is best for your business.
Marketing essentially deals with the interplay of three forces known as the strategic three Cs:
- the customer,
- the competition, and
- the corporation.
Marketing strategies focus on ways in which the business can differentiate itself effectively from its competitors, capitalizing on its distinctive strengths to deliver better value to its customers. A good Marketing strategy should be characterized by
- a clear market definition;
- a good match between corporate strengths and the needs of the market; and
- superior performance, relative to the competition, in the key success factors of the business.
Business Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individuals' and companies' goals.
In its strategic role, marketing focuses on a businesses intentions in a market and the means and timing of realizing those intentions. The strategic role of marketing is quite different from marketing management, which deals with developing, implementing, and directing programs to achieve designated intentions. To clearly differentiate between marketing management and marketing in its new role, a new term—strategic marketing—has been coined to represent the latter.
Marketing starts with the businesses mission:
- How does it define itself?
- What are its goals?
- Who are its customers?
- How does it intend to fulfill its mission?
Small Business Marketing is concerned with facing a set of decisions that larger businesses have already made. Big businesses have an existing business to build upon, whereas your small business has a clean slate upon which to write exactly the right story.
Before sending messages into the marketplace, know your answers to these questions:
- What kind of customer do you want to serve?
- How will your product compete with existing options available to your prospective customer?
- What kind of business image will you need to build in order to gain your prospect’s attention, interest, and trust?
No matter what your business is - marketing is usually a vital part of gaining, satisfying, and keeping customers. Despite this, however, a large number of small businesses still have no marketing plans or targets.
A standard business plan is not the same as a marketing plan, although they overlap in some areas. A marketing plan looks at the strengths and weaknesses of your business, the market(s) you are in, and your competitors, whereas a businesses plan usually looks only at your business in any significant detail.
All businesses must have a strategy as
- resources are finite,
- there is always uncertainty about competitive strengths and behavior,
- commitment of resources is irreversible,
- decisions must be co-ordinated across the business and over time, and
- there is uncertainty about control of the initiative.
A statement of marketing strategy is the key to success in a changing business environment. Marketing strategy provides a unified sense of direction to which all members of the business can relate as, where there is no clear concept of marketing strategy, decisions rest on either subjective or intuitive assessment and are made without regard to other decisions. Such decisions become increasingly unreliable as the pace of change accelerates or decelerates rapidly. Without a strategy, an business is like a ship without a rudder going around in circles.
Market research is essential to help you to find out if there will be enough demand to start up and grow your new business successfully in its first year. Many new businesses fail to undertake basic (and in some cases, any) market research before they start, increasing the likelihood of early failure.
You can also use market research to test a new business idea, to measure customer satisfaction levels, to plan product launches, to analyse competitor activity and to help you develop a marketing plan. Whatever its exact purpose, thorough market research will help you confirm or refine your assumptions about your market and business proposition.
Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing differ greatly, but have the same goal. Selling is the final stage in Marketing, which also includes Pricing, Promotion, Positioning and Product (the 4Ps). A marketing department in an organization has the goals of increasing the desirability and value to the customer and increasing the number and engagement of interactions between potential customers and the organization. Achieving this goal may involve the sales team using promotional techniques such as
- sales promotion,
- public relations,
- creating new sales channels, or
- creating new products (new product development), among other things.
Multi level marketing (mlm marketing) is a form of direct selling. Companies market goods and services through networks of people who are called independent distributors. These people either buy products for themselves from the company and then resell them to consumers. They can also refer people to the company and when someone buys, they get a commission.
Another way that these independent distributors make money is by building their own sales organizations by providing their team with some great mlm training material and receiving commissions or bonuses from the sales generated by the independent distributors in their organization.
Internet Marketing Advice
Most people now regularly access the internet for information, products and services. All entrepreneurs have turned their attention to the World Wide Web because it reaches so many people so quickly and strong and defined Internet Marketing is vital for all businesses.
Sales can be increased dramatically with expenses not being dramatically increased. Any company with a retail outlet have employees and other expenses that are not always needed online. There will still be advertising costs, web design costs, search engine optimization costs, affiliate or joint venture costs but the increase in overheads will not be substantial.
There now exists two types of Internet users:
- those who are in pursuit of the latest and fresh information about anything of interest and
- those who are seeing the Internet as an opportunity to earn huge potential revenues.
There are many ways of making money online, many Internet-based business models that you can follow. The path that you will take will depend on your personal working habits, your interests, and the marketing style you are comfortable working with.
Here are some of the common forms of Internet marketing at a glance.
- Brick and Mortar Online Store- there are various corporate organizations and retail shops that created Internet versions of their brick and mortar store. Even people do not buy online; many marketers use these specific sites to gather product information before making purchases in the real world.
- Online-based Services- various industries have moved online—from dating, travel, banking, and even getting a college degree. You may earn from these as an extension for any of these service industries.
- Internet-based products by Internet Gurus- Internet marketing has the wide array of pioneers and successful marketers who have started the methods and techniques in online marketing—creating sites, pay-per-click advertising, articles marketing, and others.
- Online promotion and advertising- these include pay-per-click advertising programs (such as Google AdWords) that earns from highly-searched keywords, which became the main driving force behind most online-based financial transactions.
- Affiliate marketing- you will join an affiliate program and promote its products and services over the Internet. You will endorse the products or services, find potential clients for the affiliate company, and you will receive certain commission for every sale that you will make out of your marketing efforts. The commissions that you will receive can run from 2 to 50 percent, depending on the terms and conditions stated under the affiliate program. One affiliate click can generate several cents to a hundreds of dollars.
There are 3 keys to Online Marketing success.
- Keyword Research. Find popular subjects and keywords/phrases, using a keyword selector and suggestion tool by Overture and 7Search.
- Writing Articles. Write original content with keywords from your research.
- Quality Content Site. Build a quality content site incorporated with Google Adsense ads that target the subject and keywords of your article and website.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is the interaction among people in which they create, share, or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. There is an increasing trend towards using social media marketing using tools that allow marketers to search, track, and analyze conversation on the web about their brand or about topics of interest. This can be useful in marketing management and campaign tracking, allowing the user to measure return on investment, competitor-auditing, and general public engagement. Tools range from free, basic applications to subscription-based, more in-depth tools.
Social networking users has increased by 25% in the last three years and Facebook, Tumbler and Twitter are far ahead in terms of number of users as compared to other social networking sites. In Africa, the market of social networking is at nascent stage of developments with only 38% of users active at any point of time but in Europe around 2/3rd of total users are logged in at least one of the social networking sites with over 60% of users logged in at Facebook and around 15-17% on Twitter at any point of time. In Japan, the number of users onTwitter had grown by more than 500% in the last two years alone. These are the few indicators for the popularity of social networks around the globe and this growth is reflected in the United States.
Most of the social networks are free for the users, which allow marketers to reach target audiences at a very low cost, which is a major driver for the growth of social networks. Moreover, the ease of use, user-friendly interface and instant information sharing features of the social networks are the major drivers for the social networking market. However, concern over the identity thefts and security of personal information remain the restraining factors for the growth of social networks around the globe.
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets". Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them.
With 500 million Tweets a day and 230 million active users, people turn to Twitter to bring them closer to the things they care about, whether it’s the news that affects their lives or the businesses down the block. Nearly 60% of tweets are sent from mobile devices meaning that around 150 million people are constantly using twitter.
Twitter has a market capitalization of around $33 billion and on February 5, 2014, Twitter published its first results as a public company, showing a net loss of $511 million.
Including e-mail in your marketing mix is not as simple as transferring more traditional message formats into electronic formats or abandoning more expensive mediums in favor of e-mail delivery. Maximizing your business’ e-mail marketing potential involves two ongoing tasks:
- Analyzing the strengths and limitations of each medium in your marketing mix
- Developing messages that work harmoniously across multiple mediums to achieve your objectives
With so many blogs on the Internet how do you make yours known and get people to read it. How do you have the most often read blog on the market that you are promoting? There are so many people that are trying to all accomplish the same thing, how are you going to stand out?
There are several things that you can do to make your blog a success. The first thing that you should know is that you should have your blog URL pointing to your market. For example, if you are trying to promote and sell from your blog then you want your URL to include the product name as doing so will give you an extra advantage.
The next step would be to customize your blog. Rather than having the same old blog interface like everyone else has, make your unique and interesting to look at. This will also help anyone from getting your blog confused with others that look just like it. There are so many types of blog software on the market that having your own look should not be that difficult to accomplish.
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