Put simply, marketing is about matching every part of your business with your clients…
- You meet their needs
- They are aware that you meet their needs
- They are motivated to buy from you
- They are motivated to keep buying from you.
- If you don’t achieve these outcomes, clients may not buy from you. It won’t matter if you make the best product in the world or are very good at client service or administration—marketing is vital to the success of your business.
The marketing process involves three steps:
- researching—so that you know who your clients are and what their needs are. Then you can match your business with their requirements
- developing and implementing your marketing plan
- reviewing and improving parts of the marketing process
Research your market environment
Your research involves both market research and consumer research. Market research involves researching your industry and your competitors and establishing who your target clients are for your goods or services. It’s finding out:
- who your clients are, what their needs are and how much they are prepared to pay
- who your competitors are, what they sell and at what prices
Consumer research then involves finding out the behaviours, whims and preferences of clients in your target market to determine the best ways to market your product to them. Consumer research is also called marketing research.
Only once you’ve completed your research can you decide how to position your goods or services in your target market and develop a marketing plan to achieve your goals.
Develop and implement your marketing plan
A marketing plan identifies the tactics you’ll use to attract and keep clients. It also documents key points about your marketplace and the people and businesses in it so that someone (including you) can read through it, review the research supporting your plans, check the conclusions it draws and the actions it contains. This means you’re able to review it, reflect on it, alter it and adjust it—before you’ve spent a cent.
A marketing plan can contain the following:
- Summary of your market and consumer research results This could include:
- a description of your target market
- why there will be a demand for what you’re selling
- your present market position, including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- the impact of current or anticipated marketing conditions
- the results of your consumer research
Your marketing objectives and measures of achievement:
- the marketing objectives you wish to achieve
- your measures of achievement—the way you’ll define and measure the success of your marketing efforts
Your marketing strategy and tactics:
- your strategy for achieving your marketing objectives
- your tactics to achieve your objectives. These are usually expressed in terms of the marketing mix. The marketing mix contains the five Ps of price, product, place, promotion and people
Action plan for achieving your objectives. This could include:
- the specific actions necessary for implementing your marketing strategy and tactics and communicating it to stakeholders such as staff, especially salespeople
- the people who will be responsible for implementing your marketing activities
- the cost of each marketing activity
- a time schedule for the implementation of your plan
Marketing budget This will show the funds you plan to spend and the marketing activities you plan to spend them on.
Review and improve
If your marketing plan is written down, it can be much easier for you to see how well it has performed. Once you have completed and implemented your marketing plan, make sure you regularly consult and review it as your business grows. Determine how well it has increased your sales and profits and make any necessary improvements. Where possible, establish goals and benchmarks so that you can further identify where improvements can be made.