Market Your Way To Success

    August 13, 2003

Many people hold the belief that all they have to do is have a good product or service and business success will miraculously happen. Nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, you do need a good product or service, but you also need to let people know your company exists. You must have a good marketing strategy.

Marketing Strategy A good marketing strategy will encompass specific customer groups, also known as target markets. Often small businesses serve their customers better than their larger competitors. They can offer customization, service, delivery time, and even pricing in some cases. However, larger companies have volume advantages, which can also equate to lower prices. It is important to know you cannot be all things to all people. Analyze your capabilities and also your limitations within those capabilities.

Marketing is a complex subject; it deals with everything from determining customer needs, supplying them at a profit and keeping them in your customer base. Your marketing results can be improved through a better understanding of your customers.

Key Points in Marketing Success

Your marketing success will be higher if your focus is on solving your customer’s problems. Let your customer know how you can make their life easier. Far too often companies spend most of their time focusing on how the customer can help them.

Profitable sales volume is usually a better goal than just trying to get more sales. The problem with focusing only on increasing sales is that if you have not determined your profit margins, you could actually be losing money with each sale.

Determine the needs of your customers through market research. Then you can decide on which specific markets to serve and determine what products or services will satisfy their needs.

Market Research Market Research provides you with information about your market. One way to do this is to survey your current customer base. You can conduct the survey yourself or hire a firm to conduct surveys. Surveys can be good, to a point. Remember – your current customer base is only as good as your previous marketing and promotions campaign. So, although you may obtain great information from your current customers, there could be potential customers out there who don’t know you exist, or if they do, they have not done business with you yet.

With good market research information, you can identify areas of great satisfaction by your current and prospective customers, and also areas of dissatisfaction that can be addressed.

Target Marketing Identify your target market and focus your promotions, publicity and advertising efforts to that market. The reality is that owners of small businesses have limited resources to spend on marketing activities. Developing a more tightly focused approach in what they are is important for their success. There is little room for error or wrong choices when it comes to investing their marketing dollars. Actually, large companies also have little room for error, and yet, with the way some foolishly throw money into campaigns, you would think the opposite were true.

Market Mix Four primary areas you need to gain insight into are your products and services, pricing, promotion methods, and distribution.

Products and Services. What are the specific products and/or services you provide? Can you explain your offerings clearly including features and benefits? By gaining a clear vision of your product and service offerings, you will be able to focus your attention to specific customers and markets.

Pricing. Setting prices is about creating a balance between what you need to stay in business, make a profit and the market’s perception of what your product is worth. A mistake many start-ups make is to charge the lowest price without evaluating if it makes business sense.

Promotion. This includes everything you do to let your customers know you exist. Promotions include advertising, events, tradeshows, brochures, sales letters, direct mail, press releases, web sites, e-zines, affiliate programs, premiums, samples, and product demonstrations.

Distribution. How you decide to distribute your product or service will be based on who your market is and what their needs are. Some possibilities include retail outlets, hiring a sales force, direct mail campaigns (including catalogs), telemarketing, the Internet, television and radio.

Nothing is set in stone with marketing. What worked last year, may not work this year. With the use of the Internet there are even more options available. Your success will be determined by your ability to be flexible, open-minded, and educated as to who your market is and what your offerings are.

Kathleen Gage is an award winning entrepreneur, corporate trainer and keynote speaker and author. She is the co-author of, 101 Ways to Get Your Foot In the Door; Success Strategies to Put You Miles Ahead of the Competition. To get more tips on how to get your foot in the door of your prospects and clients visit