Without a good marketing plan your chances of failure are excellent! The less value you place on it, the greater your chances of failure. Pretty bold statements but let’s examine why they are true by looking at several definitions of marketing.
The American Marketing Association defines it as:
The process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers for selling that product or service.
… it can be looked at as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, delivering and communicating value to customers, and managing customer relationships in ways that also benefit the organization and its shareholders.
Marketing is the science of choosing target markets through market analysis and market segmentation, as well as understanding consumer buying behavior and providing superior customer value.
Peter Drucker says that:
The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy.
No big deal you might conclude but therein may be the greatest challenge you will ever face in your business life. Businesses don’t spend millions and billions of dollars to get their messages to prospective buyers because they like spending. They do it because it is tough and it is tough because they are selling to human beings who are infinite in variety and there is no “one size fits all to understanding how to communicate what you have to sell to them.
It has been said that “If psychology is the “systematic study of human behavior,” then marketing is the “systematic study of human behavior in the marketplace.” In laymen’s terms, I like to simplify the concept to mean that if I understand what and why people want to buy a product or service then I can tailor a marketing plan to demonstrate how my product or service will fill their need or want. Maybe an oversimplification but also illustrative of the challenge. Without the right knowledge and training the process of researching and developing the answers to these questions can be one of the most daunting businesses face.
Once you have identified your market the next step is a solid marketing plan. You need to create a demand for your product or service that is sufficient to get a prospective buyer to step forward with an opportunity for you to sell your product. The best business plan and organization and strong leadership still won’t have a chance of success if it can’t find someone with the desire and resources to buy its product or service. Sadly, even companies with the foresight to develop a business plan often give the marketing piece a cursory review at best and instead rely on the perceived quality of the their product or service to drive sales and revenues. It doesn’t work in today’s world – period. So let’s look at the basics.
Essentially a marketing plan explains how your business will approach your target buyers. That concept can become complex for a variety of reasons unnecessary to address here. It identifies the target markets the methods to create prospective buyer awareness, and determines what actions are needed to set the stage for a sale or engagement and the resultant revenues whether its purpose is a new product or a new company or a new market segment. Often overlooked are the research and its value in developing fact based versus emotional decisions. You may be in love with your idea but unless others are you are at the starting gate for disaster if you begin to act without solid support for your actions.
Assuming you figure out all of the above the next or maybe even the greatest challenge in today’s world is how to reach the buyer’s for your product. Certainly banging on doors and endless phone calls for appointments has have generally lost their ability to reach them. Even if you do, we are faced with the challenge of developing a relationship with them strong enough to develop a strong enough trust for them to seriously consider our solutions. Testimonials are wonderful but they don’t tell you whether the product will work for you and your team. And this is where an accomplished marketing professional can be a game changer.
Roughly 83% of buyers today will go to a company’s website before making a decision to contact them. Sad from my view because the omission of a key point to a particular shopper or slick promises on the website can play a role in the decision and potentially cost a company the loss of customers. And even if the website is exceptional, if no one see’s it because of search engine selections then the expense is a waste. The real trick is to find out what it is that moves your buyers and then tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. Channels of distribution are endless and picking the wrong ones will be a money dump. Even the “sharks” have trouble agreeing on the best way to market a product and they have all been phenomenally successful at building businesses.
In short if you don’t have marketing knowledge and experience it is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to sort through the morass of challenges needed to design and implement an effective marketing plan. This factor alone plays a major role in the mortality of so many smaller businesses today.
Our marketing consultants have firsthand experience at all levels of business from small startups to national and international businesses whose names are household names in many instances. Just as importantly their knowledge of local markets and buyers is invaluable in providing affordable services to you. For a free initial consultation please contact Barney Kramer, 209.444.6549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.