sabato 24 settembre 2011

How to Fill Up Those Unassigned Hours

Learn and apply the basics of how to design the perfect marketing strategy that works best for your type of business.

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Marketing is defined as the management process which helps in identifying and satisfying customers? needs ? profitably and efficiently. It encompasses market research, pricing, promotion, distribution, selling, customer care, and much more.

This page will show you how to plan and implement your marketing strategy. It covers: Objectives of all marketing.
Reviewing your market.
Creating a marketing strategy.

Marketing objectives

Every marketing activity you undertake should help you to achieve at least one of the four results below.

You retain your existing customers, provided they contribute to your profitability.
A poor retention rate means you have to spend heavily on promotion and sales, to replace the customers you have lost.

Your customers make larger purchases.
Replacing two $2,000 orders with a single order for $4,000 improves your profitability, as you halve the cost of selling and admin.

Your customers purchase more products from your range.
It is generally much easier, and therefore more profitable, to make an additional sale to an existing customer than to make a first sale to a new customer.

You win new customers.
Identify your best customers and target new customers with similar profiles.

Research the Market

Researching the market allows you to target and understand promising market segments which suit your strengths for the new marketing strategy.

Who are the users of products like yours?
Divide them into different categories to help you spot your best opportunities.

What do the users value most in products like yours? How do they choose between different suppliers?

How do you reach the customers? Or, put another way, how do your customers purchase your product? The obvious channels might include direct sales, wholesalers, retail, agents and distributors and the Internet.
Consider alternative channels and influencers. For example, one accounting software company built its marketing strategy on using the accountancy profession as a channel to reach smaller businesses.

What size is your market? Is it expanding or declining? What are the key trends?
Be realistic. For example, the market for a high street shop is probably restricted to people who already visit the town centre.

What are your competitors doing?
Profile your competitors and their products. Ask their customers why they prefer the competitor?s products to yours.

What other factors influence your business environment?
For example, government expenditure, imports or new technology.

Building your marketing strategy

A well designed market strategy will support the competitive strategy of your business, and is one that you need to draw up once you have chosen the way to go.
In other words its one of the functional strategies, that make up the strategic implementation process.

Successful strategies take a deliberate step-by-step approach, focusing on a limited set of well-defined objectives. Questions arise as follows:

Which market segments, and which individual customers, will you target? Aim to consolidate your position in your existing market segments before you try to enter a new one.

What adjustments will you make to your product mix , to increase sales and profitability? Almost all products (and services) have a product life cycle.
Many products need to be constantly updated, to maintain their market position.
Re-packaging, re-sizing, and discovering new uses and new users is all part of this innovative process of renewal.
Extending the life cycle of an existing product is some times preferable to regularly developing and launching new a marketing strategy.

How will you price each product?
How will you distribute each product?
How will you promote each product? Personal recommendation is often a key source of new customers.
Consider ways to increase the number of introductions, starting with thanking each person who recommends your business.
Consider all the options (eg direct mail, e-marketing, PR, advertising and so on).

How will you sell each product?
Include a review of terms and conditions (eg credit terms) for each customer.

How can you improve customer service? This can have a major impact on customer retention and sales, at minimal cost.

How will you fulfill the orders? This might require new production capacity, or new skills.

How will you measure the effectiveness of each marketing activity? When considering any marketing strategy, start by testing to see what works on a small scale.

You need to be guided by generic models in order to analyze and design the best solution for your marketing campaign. Professional accountants use these models to derive professional opinions for client business, and the interpretation could get a little complex.

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