A definition of marketing and an understanding of marketing's importance to the success of your business is necessary for all small business owners and managers. You also need to have an understanding of various marketing tactics and strategies.
For example, do you understand 'what is viral marketing'? Or the importance of marketing mix to your success? Can sales management software help you to increase sales? How does marketing work and impact business growth and success?
Understanding how to develop effective marketing programs, and how to execute those programs, is important to your business success.
A definition for marketing: Much is written about marketing. But what is the definition of marketing?
Do a search on the internet and you will find millions of results.
My definition is that it is the foundation of all selling.
When building a business plan, you need to use marketing insight to focus your efforts on the marketplace and on your customers' needs. Use a marketing plan outline to get started.
Specific activities will help you identify your customers (through target marketing and marketing segmentation); help you define your customers' needs and wants; and help you supply those needs and wants better than your competition.
Popular small business marketing concepts or approaches include Guerilla Marketing and, more recently, it includes social media marketing and building your brand through online social networks (an understanding of 'what is viral marketing' is important in today's environment).
Marketing planning will also help you address competition issues, such as how to build effective strategies to differentiate yourself from your competition, how to define market share, how to better understand what is market share, and how to increase your market share.
Your plan will need to have key performance indicators built into it to ensure that you are on track for the outcomes you need and want for your business.
Your plan needs to address how you will reach your existing and/or target customers: will you build a postcard marketing program or a specifically targeted and personalized direct marketing campaign? Will you focus on personal selling or on telemarketing? Will you use sales management software to increase and manage sales?
What type of social media will you use to engage your customers and prospects: with so many social media platforms to choose from, it's important to only utilize the ones that actually serve your business purpose. If you're wanting to connect with your community both Facebook and Twitter can be highly effective at engaging your audience; LinkedIn is a professional network that gives you access to other professionals inside your industry, and outside of it. There are many tactics to use; test them to see what works best for your business.
You need to understand how to define marketing mix in the context of your overall marketing strategy.
A review of sample marketing plans will help guide you through the steps you need to take to develop your plan.
For example, if you operate a software company (that is, sales management software) and need to focus on software marketing activities, you will need to thoroughly understand your industry and market, which has undergone significant changes recently, and how to specifically market those services.
And taking what you've discovered in your research and activities will lead you to developing your tactics, strategies and objectives (see a sample marketing plan excerpt of objectives).
Once you've developed your marketing plan, you must continually update and improve your plan. Develop a marketing communication plan to address changes in the market or in the economy. Your plan will be more relevant to your business if you keep it current and updated.
Your marketing plan needs to include market research on (and choosing the right market research process) customers, competition in business, suppliers, other stakeholders, the industry as it is related to your products or services and related to the geography of where you want or plan to sell, and the market environment you operate in.
Your marketing plan and marketing research plan will help you develop the right program for your business and will help you to build your own business definition of marketing.
You will need to target your market through a comprehensive market segmentation and through comprehensive market research (including competitive intelligence).
You can use an example of a marketing mix program to develop your own mix strategies however test elements of the program to ensure that it fits your business.
Your plan needs to consider different marketing tactics or approaches, such as online social networks (very do-able for small business owners - from a competition, time and resources perspective) or in-person networking at local business organizations.
Align your strategies and your implementation with specific and measurable goals and objectives.
If your business is related to selling services, then you will need to expand your marketing mix to include packaging/physical evidence, process and people - the 4 Ps (for product) grow, or extend, to 7 Ps for marketing services.
Build a marketing program for your services to focus on developing your people to deliver the best service
Your market activities also need to include marketing mix strategies for product (for example, product differentiation), price and pricing strategies, place and/or distribution (which is one of the forgotten 4 Ps of Marketing), and promotion (also known as marketing mix promotion).
Your mix is the core of your marketing plan; make sure you develop it carefully.
To thoroughly understand the definition of marketing and its importance and relevance to your business, think about what it might be like to be dumped into the icy ocean and trying to swim (to save yourself); without knowing how to swim.
The swim analogy to marketing: How do you sell your products or services without a strategic marketing plan to guide you in the small business sales of those products and services: helping you segment your marketing, focus on your target market, develop your marketing objectives and strategies and produce the marketing mix tactics that will allow you to enact your plan?
And once you understand "What is Marketing?" and develop your plan using the marketing insight you gain through your activities, your marketing concept will become a very key element of your small business success.
Marketing is a requirement for all businesses: without marketing strategies and tactics your business will struggle to survive.
Not all marketing activities are planned: you might be building your brand recognition through a social media campaign (that's marketing); you might be conducting market research to analyze your competitors and/or segment and target your potential market or to develop the most desirable features, advantages and benefits of your products or services (that's all marketing).
Marketing is pretty all–encompassing; and a challenge for many business owners. The additional challenge is recognizing that the different stages of your business life–cycle: start–up, mid–cycle, mature or late–in–life.
During start–up you need to develop your marketing strategies to grow sales; for example, you might want to use a market penetration pricing strategy to build sales quickly.
During mid–cycle, you need to grow your customer base (often through lead generation) and that need requires different marketing strategies, such as cold calling on prospective clients, email marketing, newsletter and blog sign ups and distribution (all to grow your list of prospects).
During the mature cycle, you need to build your marketing efforts around your brand; your competitive advantage can be in your reputation, history, and identity and on what differentiates your business from your competitors.
Marketing your products and services is not something that you do once (such as a marketing plan) and then never change or do again. You need to be continually researching and building your strategies and tactics to be ahead of the market, and ahead of your competition.
The market is constantly evolving; ever more rapidly with the impacts of globalization and technology. You need to invest resources into marketing to ensure that you build and sustain your business.
If you need support in your marketing efforts, or if you'd like a review of your marketing plan, contact us for more information on our marketing services.
If marketing is not your core strength, or if you don't have enough staff to commit to developing your marketing efforts (and acting on the plan), outsourcing your marketing strategy and implementation will allow you to concentrate on developing your business.
Start with a marketing plan that includes the necessary research, strategy development and implementation action plan. We provide you with the plan tactics, budget, schedule and key performance measurements.
Execute the plan yourself or have us at Voice Marketing Inc. manage the execution for you.
Once the plan is implemented, we report on the actions we've taken, the performance of the tactics employed, and on the results.
You'll feel confident that your business marketing is being effectively managed and continually evolving.
We specialize in providing services to small business owners and understand that marketing efforts must be customized for each business' unique needs.