Marketing Strategy Foundations; Knowledge is Power

So you know you need to Market your business or product – but where do you start? It could be that you’ve just started your business, and you need to start attracting some customers – or, you just need to communicate with existing customers and maybe grow your business with them. Whatever your business objective, Marketing can support you in achieving your goals.

So many ideas. So many opportunities. So many tasks! How do you find time – on top of everything else – to get your Marketing underway? And whilst you have all these ideas and thoughts, do they actually come together in a cohesive marketing plan and strategy that aligns with your business?

In today’s digital environment, the Internet can provide you with a myriad of tools, free templates and quick tutorials on how to get started. These three elements – the knowledge foundations of your business – are critical prior to developing a marketing strategy.

1. Know Your Customer
2. Know Your Product (or Service)
3. Know Your Competitors

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

Who will buy your product, and why?
Is it going to suit a specific gender or age group?
What about only people within a certain area?
This is where you will often hear the terms psychographics and demographics come into play – you need to try to define your key target customers.
Remember, the more broad your target customer, the harder to direct communications to them that are relevant, meaningful, and in turn, likely to cause the reaction you want.
In contrast, if your target customer is too narrow – ie. It will only suit 25 year old females – then you are significantly limiting your business and growth opportunities.
Once you know who your customer is, you can start thinking about what communication channels are going to work for that customer – What do they read? What websites do they visit? What do do they like to do in their spare time – tailor the message to appeal to them.

KNOW YOUR PRODUCT
Bottom line is – how do you sell a product if you don’t know anything about it?
What are it’s key attributes? What makes it better than what is already in the market? Why would YOU buy your product? What is it’s unique selling benefit? Is it the first of it’s kind – and if it is, how do you create a NEED for it? Apple’s iPad was (and is) a brilliant example of where there literally is no need for a product of it’s type, but Apple’s clever marketing made you feel that you had to have it – you needed to have it. Really; who needed a giant phone that wasn’t a phone, or a small flat laptop that couldn’t actually do 90% of the things that a laptop could do? Who cares? I wanted one – so guess what? I got one!

KNOW YOUR COMPETITORS
All right – you know your customers, and you know your product – but how does it match up to everything else in the market? Think about your product’s features, benefits, price, location – is there anyone else in the market with a similar offering? How do your competitors actively promote their products or services? The “Four P’s” is the perfect model to follow – Product, Price, Place, Promotion. In each of these aspects, where do your competitors sit, what strategies do they employ, what features/benefits does their product/service provide that yours does not (and vice versa!) It is critical to understand what your competitors are doing, as this can help to identify your niche and opportunity within the market.

Time to get started!

So there is no time like the present – why not get started now? Get out your pen and paper (yes, you can put away the computer for a little while!) or better yet – get your team or a bunch of peers together, set up a white board, and “doodle it out”. Remember, your interpretation of the product you are offering, might be completely different to someone else’s. Keep an open mind.

If you approach any Marketing or Advertising agency knowing the above three elements, you are off to a great start! If you can develop a strong and cohesive marketing plan that supports your product and business, and implement it successfully – with or without someone’s help – well, the possibilities are endless.

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