Sunday, July 13, 2008

Marketing, What is Your Plan?

score_tjpg_noah This article was written by Robin Noah, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

Marketing! The myth and the realities intersect.  Too often I hear “…takes too long, I can’t afford it, I am too busy, and I need a hit now…"  These are somewhat mythical statements.   The reality is that the essence of marketing has to do with understanding 2 things: 1) knowing what the end result you are looking for is and 2) focusing on your customer’s needs and wants.  For example fix into your thinking process that growth comes about by what I call the GET:

  • Get more customers
  • Get customers to repeat buying
  • Get customers to buy more products
  • Get customers to buy your upper level products

Most business persons know the GET.  Yet what I hear more of is “I can’t get ….  “Can’t get” is focusing on the loss, how about putting your energy into getting what you want?  Open your circle of attraction.  Look for what you want not what you have not gotten.

The simple answer is really a question...”How can I get more business (cash flowing in)?”  The answer is that the bigger the customer base the larger the revenue stream.  The more people know about you the more opportunity for increasing your customer base.

So what can you do?  First set aside some time to map out a plan; set a direction for increasing your business cash flow...  Consider this time an investment in managing your business.

Here are some ideas: Start by:

  • Listing what your needs are:  For example is it increasing sales - getting more leads, or to get your customers to buy more and more often because they are  greatly satisfied or is it to have a steady cash flow or is the focus on profit.
  • Making sure that your promotional message is presented as a customer solution.  Drive your customer towards success.  Your message needs to quickly answer the silent question, “What is in it for me?” 
  • Studying your pricing – can you increase the pricing on all or some of your products?
  • Venturing out to other market segments that are potential clients. No one can afford to be everywhere so be selective.
  • Introduce an incentive plan for your existing customers for referrals.  Incentives can be some special pricing for your product line.
  • Find someone to take a critical eye to your web site.  Does your web site draw visitors/customers? There needs to be a reason for the visitor/customer to return to your site.
  • Get a blog started
  • Get to know other business people in your area.  Work out a combined promotion.
  • Talk to The Business Development Manager at your city hall.  They often have programs that impact the business community. 
  • Attend local business community events and promote your business.

You may have done some of these things and found that they did not work for you.  If that is the case then get some help to analyze why your activity did not work and go forward with another activity.  Make sure you follow up your efforts to determine how they work for you.  Track the activity and responses. Ask yourself “Did the action get the result I was looking for?”    The greater challenge is knowing what you are looking for and how to get it.