One of the things I commonly hear is 'I haven't got any money to spend on marketing' or 'I need to wait until I'm making money before I invest in marketing'.
This perhaps stems from the fact that some people may have advertising in their head when they think about marketing, but this is just a small part of the marketing mix.
My view is that marketing should be at the very heart of a business and hence a company can't afford to not at least invest time in thinking about their marketing.
As the image above illustrates, I think marketing should be integral in determining a companies business direction and it is vital whether a company is in its infancy or well established. The 4p's are a part of this, but by no means all of it and at the heart of everything should also lie your target market(s).
It sounds so simple, but if you have a product that appeals to a group of people at a price they are prepared to pay and can let them know about it and make it easy for them to get hold of it, then you potentially do have the start of a successful business. Presumably you're all nodding your heads right now thinking you've got it sussed, but now I'm going to challenge you to see if you can answer the following 10 questions..
- Who are the people who are most likely to buy your product or service?
- Are they the people you want to buy it and if not why not?
- Who are your competitors and how does their offering differ from yours? Think laterally here, your competition could be in a different market sector.
- Why do or would your target market buy your particular product or service generally and Vs the competition?
- What do you say about your product or service in your marketing materials and does that reflect the above?
- How does your pricing compare and is it appropriate to your place in the market?
- Are your customers happy with your offering including your customer service, and if not how could it be improved?
- What else could you be offering your customers/potential customers both product and service wise?
- If you are promoting your business are you focusing on your target market both in media and message?
- Finally, do you have a definined, measurable and creative marketing plan taking all the above into consideration?
If you have been able to answer all these questions fully if only to yourselves, then be pleased that you are at least getting the basics right. As long as at the heart of this you have a product or service that people really want or need then I would hope and suspect your company is doing well.
If you can't answer some or all of these questions then it's likely that any marketing activities you are doing (and I'm not just talking advertising here, but also website, networking etc..) are probably not working as hard for you as they could. By taking the time and effort to think about these questions or by bringing in an expert such as myself, I am going to stick my neck out and say your sales and profitability will improve.