Attention getting, isn’t it? This is the figure that is being bandied about as the amount that the UK must pay in order to exit the European Union. It’s a phenomenal amount of money, and it got me thinking as to whether or not the Brexit vote outcome would have been the same, if more of the facts had been known upfront.
Now I’m not encouraging a political debate, but it does emphasise how vital it is to glean the fullest possible picture before following a course of action. This is 100% applicable when developing a Marketing Strategy for your business.
I’m often asked by business owners what the best Marketing Strategy is for their product or service. My answer is always the same. Good Marketing Strategies and Plans flow from gathering information to understand the context in which your product is operating. This will highlight any issues your Plan needs to address and opportunities that you should capitalise on.
That way your Marketing Plan (which is an action plan to execute your Marketing Strategy), will uniquely meet the needs of and be appropriate for your business. It will attract far more new customers and profits, than a hit and miss Marketing approach.
So, where do you start and what’s the key information you should garner?
Before the beginning of your new financial year, when you’re drafting your annual Marketing Plan, take a look at the market in which your product operates. Google articles about that market online and find out if it’s been growing or declining. How is the market segmented, for example, by type of product, buyers, price – which segments are growing fastest.
Take a look too at how your industry is performing overseas. Are there any new trends? Perhaps you’ll spot a new technology that’s been launched globally in your industry and one which you can introduce locally. That could give your product a competitive advantage!
Review the activities of your major competitors by visiting their websites and their social media pages. How are they positioning and pricing their product? What promotions have they been undertaking? Have they launched any new products?
Is there anything you can take onboard from your opposition and do better? Can you spot a gap in the market that none of your opposition is targeting and which could be profitable for you?
PESTLE is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. Your business doesn’t operate in a vacuum so you need to take stock of these factors and possible changes to any of them in the next 12 months which could impact your business.
Perhaps you have an architectural design business. The “Greening” of buildings should be a key environmental change that you take account of in your Marketing Planning.
Make sure you’re recording your monthly sales and sales by customer as this will allow you to review your figures when doing your Marketing Planning, spot any trends and take early action.
For my book, The NEW Entrepreneur: A Practical Marketing Guide For Growing Your Business NOW, I interviewed Dial a Nerd’s MD, Aaron Thornton. He related to me how, by being on top of their sales figures, they’d been able to identify that their market was radically changing and to act on this timeously.
Previously Dial a Nerd targeted small business owners and householders, providing them with IT hardware and a solution for their IT problems. With large retailers beginning to offer cheaper priced IT hardware, their market was being seriously dented.
Today, Dial a Nerd has a profitable business and a new target market. It focuses on medium- to larger-sized businesses as an IT partner that supports networks and advises its clients on the best IT solution.
Bottom line – Marketing that works really does start with meaningful input.
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