6. Start the Business

MARKETING - Start your Marketing program

What is Marketing
Marketing is a process that involves activities and strategies resulting in products being made available to customers which provide satisfaction for those customers and yet leave profits for the company involved.

Some have explained marketing as the process where goods are sold to customers who keep coming back for more. Marketing is concerned with how products are disposed of in such a way that there is a win-win situation between the company providing the product and the customers who buy the product.

Marketing produces a win-win situation because:

1. The customers end up with products that meet their needs.
2. The company providing the products end up with a good profit.

Marketing is based on finding out what the customer wants so that the company can satisfy that want with what the company supplies. It is very much customer oriented and heavily takes into account all activities that are needed to accomplish both of these goals. Most of the larger businesses are very familiar with the importance of good marketing and usually have the funds to employ experienced consultants to carry out research and advise on the best ways that products or services are put before the customers.

What is important to remember is that marketing calls for a lot of customer knowledge and that the whole aim of the exercise is to give the business the necessary information to enable it to eventually sell its goods and services without having to take the risk of relying on guess work.

The 2 Main Principles of Marketing
There are 2 main principles of marketing.

These are:

  1. Every activity of the business should be directed towards finding out what the customer needs and satisfying that need.
  2. The volume of sales is not as important as the possibility of sales. That is, there is no point in selling goods or services that produce no profit even if the sales figures are substantial.

The small business should therefore look at finding out the needs of customers through proper marketing research and then analyse the situations to come up with a sound marketing strategy. The business should determine whether it is going to do target marketing or any other form of marketing and must also identify the marketing mix that will satisfy the customer’s buying habits.

The Importance of Marketing to Business
There is a basic concept in business that satisfying the demands of customers is one of the most important objectives in any business. Customers who are not happy will not buy and if the customers do not buy you will no longer have a business. In today’s competitive market there is generally a number of suppliers that can produce the products or services that your business supplies.

Customers who are looking for value and for service will therefore pick a supplier who completely meets their needs. If the needs of a customer are fully met they will start to rely on that supplier and will have no need to look elsewhere in the future. This situation will continue while the needs are being met and while other products are not brought to their knowledge that are better in quality or performance or better priced.

The Company That Satisfies the Customer Wins
This means the company that is able to best satisfy the needs of a customer will become the most successful in the marketplace. This is further complicated because the needs of customers are constantly changing along with the trends or developments in society. It is necessary for a business to determine what the future requirements of a customer would be rather than just planning to satisfy the current needs.

The company that is able to do forward planning and see what the market will need in the future will win out. Customers today are becoming more and more sophisticated and demanding because of the choice that they have in the marketplace and because of improved communications from advancement in technology.

Difference Between Advertising and Marketing
Advertising is the presentation of your products, ideas or business to the market in order to induce consumers to buy your products or support your firm. Marketing is the process by which your products or services are introduced to the marketplace so that your potential customers can see whether it is something that they are prepared to purchase.

Too often people have advertising and marketing confused. Marketing is a process that sometimes takes time. It is the whole process or strategy that is geared to giving people the right perception of your business and what you have to offer. Advertising is simply about having the word out there about your business using the various mediums of advertising such as radio, television etc.

You need to know the difference between advertising and marketing because it can result in a successful advertising campaign or a campaign that will lose you money.

Marketing Tips for the New Business
Here are some marketing tips if you are new to business:

  • Know who your customers are or who want to be your customers.
  • Develop a customer referral program.
  • Make sure your store front location is visible if foot traffic or passing vehicle traffic is important.
  • Mix into the local community by being involved in sponsoring and local events.
  • Join up a local organisation and start networking.
  • Send out press releases if possible about your products or services to the local news media.
  • Keep your website open and fresh with new content which will draw people back again and again.
  • Develop a website which will really be an advertisement for your business including how you do things (as well as your products).
  • Advertise where your target market will be rather than where you would like to advertise.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Marketing
Avoid the following mistakes and save yourself a lot of headaches, heartaches and money:

  1. Make sure your marketing plan is flexible.
  2. Do measure results.
  3. Check everything out. Do not rely on what others say.
  4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  5. Make sure you have a marketing plan.
  6. Do not allow your ego to be in the way of having your feet on the ground.
  7. Do obtain the help that you need when you need it.
  8. Do not fix things that are broken – such as your advertising campaign.

Market Positioning
Positioning is about how your target market is defined in relation to your competitors. A good position is where:

  1. It makes you unique.
  2. Your product or service is considered a benefit by the target market.

These conditions are important if you are to get good positioning. It is important because you are competing with all the action that is going on out there with other firms competing for your customers. Unless you can stand out with a unique benefit, whether it is quality, price or design, then you may have a little chance of having the attention of those who you are targeting.

For you to position your product correctly you need to ask:

  1. What is your marketing environment?
  2. What is your competitive advantage?

Your marketing environment is to do with finding out how the market is currently satisfying the needs of your customers, what is needed to take those customers away and what is the position of your present competition.

Your competitive advantage is to do with finding whether your products are of better quality, whether you have a lower cost, whether you offer anything that is unique or whether you are the first on the market with this product (known as first mover advantage).

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
In developing your marketing, it is important to develop what is known as the Unique Selling Proposition or USP. The USP basically answers the customer’s questions of why they should do business with you instead of your competitors.

Developing your USP differentiates your business in the eyes of your potential customers as well as allowing your sales people to focus on delivering the promises laid out by your USP, thus improving your own people’s performance.

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