Marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. Marketing includes advertising, selling, promotion and much more. Entrepreneurs will usually run their ideas past family, friends, business associates and anyone else though the best way to really test the market and any demand is via good marketing. It is key you do this via the best and most relevant overall marketing channels. This will make a world of difference.
Doing market research
Market research is a key part of developing your marketing strategy. It is about collecting information that provides an insight into your customers thinking, buying patterns, and location. In addition, market research can also assist you to undertake an initial sales forecast, monitor market trends and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.
Work out your USP
A USP is the unique reason your customers buy from you and not your competitors – it’s what makes your business stand out from the crowd. It is important to define what you do differently and be able to convey that to potential customers. Commonly, this reflects your special knowledge or skills. This is in fact a massive aspect and avenue when it comes to marketing and how marketing all works.
Your USP may be having a new or unique offering or providing exceptional service. Start developing your USP by answering the following questions:
- What do you love most about your products and services?
- What special skills or knowledge do you have?
- What makes your customers come to you instead of your competitors?
- How do your customers benefit by purchasing your products or services?
- Which aspects do you generally highlight when you describe your business to strangers?
Make sure above all else you are SMART
Marketing goals will help you to define what you want to achieve through your marketing activities. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
You will also need to allocate a budget to your marketing activities. Your marketing budget will need to include elements such as:
- website development and maintenance
- search engine optimisation strategy
- design of branding
- printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, signage, etc)
- donations and sponsorships
- employing staff to undertake marketing activities.
Marketing research is the systematic and objective search for, and analysis of, information relevant to the identification and solution of any problem in the field of marketing. The key words in this definition are; systematic, objective and analysis. Marketing research seeks to set about its task in a systematic and objective fashion. This means that a detailed and carefully designed research plan is developed in which each stage of the research is specified. Such a research plan is only considered adequate if it specifies: the research problem in concise and precise terms, the information necessary to address the problem, the methods to be employed in gathering the information and the analytical techniques to be used to interpret it.