It begins with customer knowledge and goes round to customer service before it begins all over again. Along the way, it involves product development, pricing, packaging, distribution, advertising and promotion, and all the steps involved in making the sale and serving the customer well. The marketing wheel of fortune Every successful marketing program — whether for a billion-dollar business or a hardworking individual — follows the marketing cycle illustrated in Figure The process is exactly the same whether yours is a start-up or an existing business, whether your budget is large or small, whether your market is local or global, and whether you sell through the Internet, via direct mail, or through a bricks and mortar location.
Just start at the top of the wheel and circle round clockwise in a neverending process to win and keep customers and to build a strong business in the process.
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Get to know your target customer and your marketing environment. Create and project marketing messages to grab attention, inspire interest, and move your prospects to buying decisions. Once the sale is made, begin the customer-service phase. Work to ensure customer satisfaction so that you convert the initial sale into repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising for your business.
- Starting Your Own Dog Walking & Sitting Business - The Complete Guide.
- Mystic Souls: Nineteen Remarkable People Tell Their Stories;
- Die Europäische Union als globaler Akteur: Eine Einführung (Studienbücher Außenpolitik und Internationale Beziehungen) (German Edition).
- Twelve Red Herrings.
- Global Consistency of Tolerances: Proceedings of the 6th CIRP International Seminar on Computer-Aided Tolerancing, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands, 22–24 March, 1999.
Talk with customers to gain input about their wants and needs and your products and services. Combine what you learn with other research about your market and competitive environment and use your findings to fine-tune your product, pricing, packaging, distribution, promotional messages, sales, and service. And so the marketing process goes round and round. In marketing, there are no shortcuts. Marketing and sales are not synonymous People confuse the terms marketing and sales.
They think that marketing is a high-powered or dressed-up way to say sales.
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Or they mesh the two words together into a single solution that they call marketing and sales. Selling is one of the ways you communicate your marketing message. Sales is the point at which the product is offered, the case is made, the purchasing decision occurs, and the business-to-customer exchange takes place. Selling is an important part of the marketing process, but it is not and never can be a replacement for it.
- Axton Landing (Adirondack Trilogy Book 1).
- Von der Leichtigkeit des Steins: Wie man mit Steinen balanciert, von Wackelsteinen, vom Steintanz, von wachsenden und wandernden Steinen und wie man diese leicht zerkieken kann (German Edition)?
- Plessy v. Ferguson (Landmarks of the American Mosaic).
Without all the steps that precede the sale — without all the tasks involved in fitting the product to the market in terms of features, price, packaging, and distribution or availability , and without all the effort involved in developing awareness and interest through advertising, publicity, and promotions — without these, even the best sales effort stands only a fraction of a chance for success.
What are the differences? As part of the reward, you win repeat business, loyalty, and new customer referrals.
Marketing a start-up business If your business is just starting up, you face a set of decisions that existing businesses have already made. Existing companies have existing business images to build upon, whereas your start-up business has a clean slate upon which to write exactly the right story. See Chapter 2. See Chapter 3. See Chapters 6 and 7. A business setting out to serve corporate clients would hardly want to announce itself by placing free flyers in the grocery store entrance.
It needs to present a much more exclusive, professional image than that, probably introducing itself through personal presentations or via letters on high-quality stationery accompanied by a credibility-building business brochure. They can help you identify your customers, determine price and present your product, size up your competition, set your goals and objectives, establish your market position and brand, and create marketing messages that talk to the right prospects with the right messages.
See Chapter 4. See Chapter Almost always, the smartest route is to look inside your business first, work to shore up your product and service offerings, and strengthen your existing customer satisfaction and spending levels before trying to win new prospects into your clientele. Part V of this book offers a complete game plan to follow.
Too often, small business owners feel overwhelmed by uncertainty over the scope of the marketing task. They may have all kinds of other questions that get in the way of forward motion. And they delay launching their marketing efforts as a result. An accounting firm might want to attract six corporate clients. A doctor might want to attract patients for a particular new service. A weekly newspaper might want to gain new subscribers. By setting your goal first more on this important step in Chapter 5 , the process of creating your marketing plan see Chapter 22 for how to write a plan in ten easy steps becomes a focused, goal-oriented, and vastly easier activity.
Chapter 1: A Helicopter View of the Marketing Process How Small Business Marketing Is Different All marketing programs need to follow the same marketing process, but the similarities between big business and small business marketing stop there. Budgets, staffing, creative approaches, and communication techniques vary hugely between an international mega-marketer like, say, Coca-Cola, and a comparatively micro-budget marketer like, well, like you.
This book is for you. Dollar differences As a small business, you already know one difference between your marketing program and those of the corporate behemoths that loom over you in all directions: The big guys have the big budgets. They talk about a couple hundred thousand dollars as a discretionary line-item issue. You talk about a couple hundred dollars as an amount worthy of careful consideration. The advice in this book is scaled to your budget, not to the million-dollar jackpots you see referenced in most other marketing books.
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Staffing differences Look at the organization chart of any major corporation. Nearly always, you find a marketing vice president. Under that position you see a bunch of other professionals, including advertising directors, sales managers, online marketing managers, research directors, customer service specialists, and so on. In contrast, strong small businesses blend marketing with the leadership function. The small business organization chart puts responsibility for marketing in the very top box, where the owner, in the essential role, oversees the process as a hands-on task.
Creative differences The top-name marketers routinely spend six figures to create ads with the sole purpose of building name recognition and market preference for their brands — often without a single word about a specific product or price. Small businesses take a dramatically different approach. They want to develop name recognition just like the biggest advertisers, but their ads have to do double duty. You know firsthand that each and every small business 13 14 Part I: Getting Started in Marketing marketing investment has to deliver immediate and measurable market action.
Each effort has to stir enough purchasing activity to offset the cost involved in creating and running the ad in the first place. The balancing act, discussed in Part III of this book, is to create consistency in your marketing communications so that they build a clear brand identity while at the same time inspiring the necessary consumer action to deliver sales — now. Strategic differences In big businesses, bound copies of business plans grace every bookshelf, whereas in many small businesses, the very term marketing plan provokes a guilt pang.
If you just felt this typical reaction, turn to Chapter 22 for the antidote. It provides an outline for putting your plan in writing — without any mysterious jargon and with advice and examples scaled specifically to small businesses like yours. Truth is, creating a marketing plan is pretty straightforward and reasonably manageable. If you invest a bit of time up front to plan your annual marketing program, then implementation of the plan becomes the easy part. The small business marketing advantage As a small business owner, you may envy the dollars, people, and organizations of your big-business counterparts, but you have some advantages they envy as well.
The heads of Fortune firms allocate budgets equal to the gross national products of small countries to fund research into getting to know and understand their customers. Meanwhile, you can talk with your customers face to face, day after day, at virtually no additional cost at all. Because the whole point of marketing is to build and maintain customer relationships, it stands to reason that no business is better configured to excel at the marketing task than the very small business.
Think of it this way. Because marketing is the process by which your business gets and keeps customers, that means marketing is the key to keeping your business in business. Put in terms like that, marketing is the single most important activity in any business — including yours. Go for it! How did they hear about me? Why do they buy from me? How can I reach more people like them? Successful businesses use the answers to these questions to influence every product design, pricing, distribution, and communication decision they make. Once you know the difference between the two, you can direct your marketing efforts at the moneymakers.
This chapter places your perspective on the only boss that really matters in business: that person over there with an open billfold. Geodemographics, also called cluster marketing or lifestyle marketing, is based on the age-old idea that birds of a feather flock together — that people who live in the same area tend to have similar backgrounds and consuming patterns. Geodemographics helps you to target your marketing efforts by pinpointing neighborhoods or geographic areas where residents share the age, income, lifestyle characteristics, and buying patterns of your prospective customers.
Collecting information about your customer People with the profile of your current customers are apt to become customers as well. By knowing everything you possibly can about the person who currently buys from your business, you can direct your marketing efforts toward others who match that same profile.
Do-it-yourself fact-finding You can get a good start on conducting customer research without ever walking out the front door of your business. For example, you can group customers into those living within a certain number of miles of your business, customers living within various regions of your state and within neighboring states, customers living in other countries, and so on. If your business generates substantial foot traffic, find places where customers naturally pause and be there to conduct formal or informal research — depending on your business environment.
Whether you survey all customers or limit your effort to every nth customer every tenth one, for example , keep the question period short and maintain a log of the answers. Spread your interviews over a span of time so that your findings reflect responses from customers during various days and weeks. One other important reminder: Be sure to respect and protect the privacy of information you collect from customers. A cardinal sin in small business is to treat a long-standing customer like a stranger.
They know that if a customer asks for directions to the restroom, that person is likely to be a first-time patron. On the other hand, a waiter who overhears a customer recommending a certain menu item to a tablemate can assume that the patron is a repeat guest.
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The important thing is to find ways to treat your loyalists like the very important business insiders they are. What kinds of cars do they drive? How long do they spend during each visit to your business? Do they arrive by themselves or with friends or family members? Do those who arrive alone account for more sales or fewer sales than those who arrive accompanied by others?
Where do they pause or stop in your business? Create a postcard-sized survey and use it as a contest entry form.
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Callers will tolerate only a certain number of questions. Include an offer for a brochure, a product sample, or some other incentive to inspire a reaction to your ads. As prospects respond, collect their addresses and other information to build an inquiry profile. Work with your Web site hosting and management firm to discuss available reports and how to mine the information you collect.