Research And Develop An Actionable Strategy For

Marketing

Powerful, Targeted, Marketing Is Your Best Bet

For many startups and small businesses, Marketing is often a four-letter word. Its results can be uncertain, the time and resources spent can be difficult to track, and it is not often a part of many Entrepreneurs skill set.

But to ignore it generally implies an unbalanced organization struggling for adequate deal-flow and unable to connect with potential and existing clients in a meaningful manner.

According to a 2014 study by Inc. Magazine, on average small businesses typically spend less than 4% of gross revenues on marketing. Yet, almost every study of successful start-ups, high-growth organizations, and major international brands suggests that spending closer to 15% or more is required to be competitive and grow. In reality, many of the biggest companies – Microsoft, Oracle, Coke – have marketing budgets of 20% to 40%.

And no, it is not just about spending more money. Are you prepared for growth? What tactics are appropriate? Who are you targeting? Do you need help finding or developing an internal team?

It’s hard to target a message to a 35-year-old middle-class working mother of two. It’s much easier to target a message to Angelina, who has two children under six, works as a nurse, and is often looking for quick healthy dinners and ways to spend more time with her kids and less time on chores.

There are many ways I can help get your marketing on track. Here are a few things to think about.

5 Core Marketing Functions

1. MARKETING STRATEGY

Developing a marketing strategy is vital for any business. Without one, your efforts to attract customers are likely to be haphazard and inefficient.

The focus of your strategy should be making sure that your products and services meet customer needs and developing long-term and profitable relationships with those customers. To achieve this, you will need to create a flexible strategy that can respond to changes in customer perceptions and demand. It may also help you identify whole new markets that you can successfully target.

The purpose of your marketing strategy should be to identify and then communicate the benefits of your business offering to your target market.

Once you have created and implemented your strategy, monitor its effectiveness and make any adjustments required to maintain its success.

This guide helps you identify which customers to focus on and your key objectives in reaching them. It explains what to include in your marketing strategy and how it can be used as the basis for effective action.

2. BRAND PLANNING

Brand strategy is the action plan for putting the brand to work. The communications system that provides structure and guidance for all points of contact within a business, both internally and externally with the customer.

It directly supports the business strategy and influences the total operation of a business to ensure consistent brand behaviors and brand experiences in all points of contact and channels of communication.

To keep brands fresh, relevant and at the forefront of customers’ minds, it is vital to have strong links between core brand values and positive customer experiences. The brand is brought to life through innovative products which are developed and driven by the brand strategy or action plan. Your brand strategy is the discipline of planning, of setting a course for the long term to achieve specific brand goals which are aligned to the business plan.

3. MARKET RESEARCH

Accurate and thorough information is the foundation of all successful business ventures because it provides a wealth of information about prospective and existing customers, the competition, and the industry in general. It allows business owners to determine the feasibility of a business before committing substantial resources to the venture.

Market research provides relevant data to help solve marketing challenges that a business will most likely face–an integral part of the business planning process. In fact, strategies such as market segmentation (identifying specific groups within a market) and product differentiation (creating an identity for a product or service that separates it from those of the competitors) are impossible to develop without market research.

4. IDENTIFYING TARGET AUDIENCES

A target market is a defined group most likely to buy a company’s products or services. Selecting the best target market for your business is the most important but difficult part of the marketing plan. Often, business owners will make many excuses when asked why they have not chosen a target because they believe that targeting limits their opportunities.

But if you don’t focus on the best customer for your business, you are missing out on opportunities to increase sales. When you narrowly define your niche market, your messages are clear, your offerings are precise and your marketing efforts are more effective, even to those not within your target market.

And no, you don’t need to define only one target. Both college students and CEO’s may purchase your product or enage your company, but they do so very differently.

5. BUDGETING

Whether you run a small business or a multi-million dollar corporation, marketing is essential to your profitability and growth. Yet many small businesses don’t allocate enough money to marketing or, worse, spend it haphazardly.

I recently got to know a business that had developed a cool new product with good potential. However, it became apparent that Product Development hadn’t involved Marketing. The result? The week before launch, the business found itself with a fantastic product, but without any plan or budget to market it.

Products and services don’t sell themselves. By ignoring marketing until it’s too late, many small businesses risk hitting a brick wall and, quite possibly, failing.

But how much money should you allocate to marketing? And how can you spend it wisely?

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WHO IS BRUCE?

There are few people you’ll meet who can claim to have been a successful Management Consultant, Entrepreneur, Restaurateur, Executive Creative Director, Designer, Marketer, and IT Professional.

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