The first step in preparing your marketing plan is look at where you are today. You must know who is your target customer. You must know the workings of direct and indirect competitors. You must understand your industry and where you stand in it.
In order to market to your target customer, you must know who they are, what they want, and what motivates them to buy. In order to understand your competitors, you must know who they are, how they do what they do, and how you are better than they are. In order to understand your industry, you must know its current status, its history, its anticipated future, and any possible trends.
Good marketing enhances your brand when you can say what is important about your product in three or four words. For example, “Best tasting chicken, ” “A world apart, ” and “It’s the real thing. ” Your brand must be simple and easy to articulate. You can still have a longer tag line, but your brand should be recognizable by a three-four word statement. Think about major brands, and you will see they all use these short, simple statements that relate to their product.
The foundation for your marketing should be to deliver a message that helps brand your product and conveys your unique selling proposition. You must know your unique selling proposition, and you must be able to articulate it clearly and succinctly. You can use it to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Your unique selling proposition should be responsive to your customer’s wants and needs.
When you prepare your marketing program, look at how big companies market and learn from them. You must be unique and focused, and you must know how much marketing is required to reach your purpose. You also must know when your marketing has become tiresome to your customers, and they tune you out. While you are conducting a marketing program, watch its results closely. Make adjustments in your program and do more of what works best and stop doing what does not work.
Part of determining what works best is determining which marketing efforts get results. You should track the results and determine how much profit is generated from the cost of the marketing program. There are many ways to track results, and online tracking is the easiest. One accurate tracking method is asking customers how they heard about your product. You can also send out coupons for bonus gifts, and you can track the results when customers bring in the coupons.
When your marketing program has been successful, you should ask yourself if you can repeat the program. You should also ask yourself whether there were any other factors the contributed to your success. For example, did a major competitor go out of business? You should also ask yourself whether the results will change if you do the marketing at a different time of the year. You should ask yourself how much profit was generated by the marketing cost and look at the ratio. In your industry, should the profit ratio to the marketing cost be 4/1, 6/1, 10/1, or what?
The results of good marketing should enhance your brand and create value for your brand. The results should also help you gain new customers and retain existing customers. The results of good marketing should fall within the industry ratio. Really good marketing may result in creating new opportunities and ideas for your company.
Jo Ann Joy, Esq. , MBA, CEO Copyright 2006 Indigo Business Solutions. All rights reserved. You may contact Jo Ann by phone at (602) 663-7007, by fax at (602) 324-7582, by email at joannjoy@Indigo Business Solutions.net, and by mail at 2313 East Ocotillo Rd. , Phoenix, AZ 85016. Contact Jo Ann for free copies of any of her articles. For more information about these and other important legal and business topics, please visit our website at http://www.IndigoBusinessSolutions.net . Copyright 2006. Indigo Business Solutions is a registered trade name. The future of your business starts here!
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About the author: Jo Ann Joy is the CEO and owner of Indigo Business Solutions, a legal and business consulting firm that is a “one stop shop” for small businesses. We offer both legal and business services. We provide all professional services that a business requires without being “referred out" to other professionals.
Jo Ann has a law degree, an MBA, and a degree in Economics. She is a strategic business attorney who works closely with businesses to greatly improve their chance of success. Her background includes commercial, corporate, contract and real estate law, accounting, financial planning, mortgages, marketing, product development, banking, and business planning and strategies. She ran a successful business for 10 years and has written and given presentations on many different legal, tax, and business subjects.
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