Many first-time business owners think that by simply placing an ad in a local newspaper or a commercial on a radio or a television station, customers will automatically flock to purchase their product or service. This is true to a certain extent. Some people are likely to learn about your invention and try it, just out of curiosity. But hundreds, even thousands, of other potential customers may never learn of your business. Do develop an adequate marketing program.
What you as a potential business owner must do is maintain a thorough understanding of your marketing program, and use it to extract advantages from the marketplace. Go over different strategies and techniques until you understand how to apply them to get the results you desire. Remember, your aim is not only to attract and keep a steady group of loyal customers, but also to expand your customer base by identifying and attracting, new customers and to reduce risks by anticipating market shifts that can affect your bottom line.
The Four P's of Marketing
To help you accomplish this aim, your marketing plan should include strategies typical of any marketing plan. The plan should especially include what marketers dub as the four P's of Marketing:
Review your plan. Make certain it contains the strategies listed below and on the next page and then determine how these strategies will be applied by you. Include a brief explanation for each strategy.
Describe Your Target Market
- By age
- By sex
- By profession or career
- By income level
- By educational level
- By residence
Identify and describe your customers (target market) by their age, sex, income/educational levels, profession/career and residence. Know your customers better than you know anyone - their likes, dislikes, expectations. Since you will have limited resources target only those customers who are more likely to purchase your product. As your business grows and your customer base expands, then, you may need to consider modifying this section of the marketing plan to include other customers.
Identify Your Competition
- By market research data
- By demand for product
- By your nearest direct and indirect competitors
- By the strengths and weaknesses of competitors
- By an assessment of how competitors businesses are doing
- By a description of the unique features of your product
- By the similarities and dissimilarities between your product and competitor's
- By a pricing strategy for and comparison of yours and the competition's
Identify the five nearest direct competitors and the indirect competitors. Start a file on each identifying their weaknesses and strengths. Keep files on their advertising and promotional materials and their pricing strategies. Review these files periodically determining when and how often they advertise, sponsor promotions and offer sales.
Describe Your Product
Try to describe the benefits of your goods from your customer's perspective. Emphasize its special features - i.e., the selling points. Successful business owners know or at least have an idea of what their customers what or expect from them. This type of anticipation can be helpful in building customer satisfaction and loyalty.