Marketing is key to strategy for business

Marketing strategy

Marketing includes a combination of tactics designed to identify, attract and retain profitable customers and to differentiate your business from your competition. Marketing encompasses everything from your company name and logo to your website, brochures or sales materials, advertising, trade shows, networking, public relations, personal sales calls and community involvement.

In developing your marketing strategy, it’s important to study your competition and often helpful to use comparable businesses as a guide.

However, what works for one business may not work as effectively for you. Marketing strategies need to be tailored to your specific business, key objectives and target market (customer base).

You must also consider your budget when developing your marketing strategy. Start-ups and small businesses typically have limited budgets and have to get the most bang for their buck.

The more targeted your marketing efforts, the greater the return will be on your marketing investment. Start by identifying and creating a detailed profile of your ideal prospect. What motivates them to buy? How many prospective customers are there, and where are they? What are the most effective ways to reach your prospects?

Next consider how your product or service meets the needs of your prospects. How is your product or service different or better than your competitors? Are you cost-competitive? It’s important to determine and clearly articulate your value proposition. As you create your marketing message, focus on relevant benefits and speak the language of your prospects.

To maximize your return on investment, focus on your highest potential markets. If your market is local, that’s where you should direct your marketing efforts. Examples of businesses that primarily have a local market might include private-practice physicians and other health care providers, as well as local restaurants. Regional, national or broad-based marketing is typically not appropriate in those cases.

If you have a global niche market that doesn’t require face-to-face interaction with your customers, your marketing focus may be exclusively online.

If your business is seasonal, invest in marketing during peak buying periods. Develop your marketing budget based on your target market and the strategy that makes sense for your business. Avoid wasteful spending, but try to establish a budget that allows you to have a sustained marketing effort. Attracting and retaining customers on an ongoing basis is critical to your business success, and marketing is an important part of that process.

Need Advice?
Schedule your free, confidential consultation, contact Kimberly or call (231) 631-2119 today.

Article by Tanya Berg, SCORE Mentor
Published in the Traverse City Record-Eagle Jan. 30, 2011