Is marketing really effective for small businesses? Marketing can be highly effective, but success really depends upon how well a business defines its marketing strategy. If you’re just starting out, or you’re planning ahead for 2014, now is a great time to take a look at your current marketing strategy to see where you can improve it.
Marketing strategy 101
Know what your customers want. In the immortal words of the Cheshire Cat, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Nothing can take the place of market research, and good marketing strategy is based on knowing what your customers want. If you’ve developed your marketing strategy based on what you think your customers want, you could find yourself on the outside looking in. There are many different ways to conduct market research, but businesses succeed by delivering what their customers want.
Target your ideal markets. Identify the customers your business can serve better than anyone else can. The broader your target, the harder it will be for your business to make everyone happy. At the same time, a very narrow target market will limit your company’s ability to succeed. In the age of the Internet, it’s much easier for small businesses to focus on one narrow target because it’s easier than ever before to reach potential customers outside of your geographic area. Ultimately, your target market will be some combination of geography and customer base. Use your research to guide your decisions about how to limit your target market without compromising on what your customers want.
Balance your market mix. Classic marketing strategy combines products and services with pricing, distribution and promotion. Once you know your target, and you have a good idea of why your business can better serve the target than your competitors can, you can balance the elements of your marketing mix. Maybe you have more specialty products and services than your competitor does, or maybe you can compete by offering a better price on certain goods or services. You’ll want to promote those areas where your strengths really overlap the customers’ needs.
Build your marketing strategy. Once you have the first three pieces in place, you can build an effective marketing strategy that makes sense for your business. Your strategy may include website design, print materials, promotional products, or various forms of advertising. You’ll need to showcase your strengths and be ready to step up to the plate to meet customer needs that your competitors have either missed, or aren’t meeting to the customer’s satisfaction.
There’s a lot that goes into planning an effective marketing strategy. It helps to have an experienced partner along the way. Grantstreet Creative has been providing exceptional creative marketing support for businesses of all sizes for more than 20 years.
If you would like more information about building a marketing strategy that works for your business, contact our Creative Director, Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation.
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