Business Information

Effective marketing for your company

. Effective marketing involves understanding the product or service you sell, its unique features, its strengths and weaknesses. It involves understanding your customers, their values, habits, needs, likes, dislikes and financial resources.

It also rests on a good understanding of the market environment, likely business opportunities and threats from competitors. It involves assessing your product or service’s current market position, setting precise objectives to improve that position, and then making measurements of how successful your campaign has been.

The last factor – measurement - is a key part of marketing. You are likely to waste the marketing dollars you spend on hunches and instincts, unless you back them up by solid research and statistics. Unless you measure your marketing campaigns, you won’t know if you have been wasting money.

Marketing can involve some fairly complex mathematical analysis, particularly in the field of statistics. But even simple analysis can be useful.

For example, say a restaurant wants to increase its profile in the local community. Before spending money on a marketing campaign, the restaurant should determine what its current profile is. It might do this by surveying shoppers in a local mall, perhaps asking them to name three local restaurants.

The relative number of times the restaurant gets mentioned should give a rough idea of where it stands in relation to its competitors. (This is based on the assumption that the people in the mall make a representative sample of the restaurant’s customer base.)

The restaurant could then carry out it its marketing campaign, followed by a similar survey. It can judge the effectiveness of the campaign, based on the percentage increase of awareness in the second survey.

If there is no increase or only a small increase, the business knows that it needs to take a good look at its marketing strategy and reassess where it can spend money effectively.

Of course, this assumes that other factors are not in play. If your competitors are simultaneously making a big marketing push, your business may face an uphill battle. You will struggle to increase your market share when there is tough competition. In that case, successful marketing might mean just holding ground against your competition.

Equally, sales can go up and down irrespective of marketing. You may find that there is a big sales increase after your marketing campaign, but the increase may merely reflect a seasonal upturn in business.

The key to cost-effective marketing is narrowing down the target range. A business rarely has the whole local community as its potential customers. The more precisely you can identify your (potential) customers, the more accurately you can direct your marketing.

You can segment your customers by a variety of criteria – geography, disposable income, gender, hobbies, age or occupation, to name a few. A golf accessories store might analyse its customer data, and find that a certain percentage of its customers are retirees. It might then mount a marketing campaign with the specific goal of increasing business with that age group.

Being specific will help you make your marketing more effective.With a particular audience in mind, you will be able to target particular publications, radio stations or websites that will reach that group of people.

By focusing on particular objectives, you can more easily measure how effective your marketing has been. For example, you can monitor sales levels among the target group in the months following the campaign. You can also carry out customer surveys to find out how much of the campaign has reached your target group.

Keep in mind that marketing is more effective where it is methodical, follows strategic thinking, and is based on measurable facts and figures.

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Business Roadmap provides practical business advice for small to medium sized businesses that are trying to overcome problems, or are trying to achieve their vision and full potential. Visit the Business Roadmap website for further information.

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