Many people tend to think that the definition of marketing is how you promote your business but is covers much more.
Marketing involves thinking about all the myriad ways your prospects and customers ‘experience’ your business and making sure the message they get is positive and consistent.
It encompasses everything from how you design your packaging to how your team answers the phone.
As you begin to think about your marketing strategy remember you are creating a brand, in other words, a personality for your business.
Your brand image is important for distinguishing you from the competition. Think about Virgin - their fun image trickles right down through their advertising to the jokes their cabin crew tell over the intercom.
Work out what your businesses personality is and then let it flow through all elements of your marketing plan.
The components of marketing plans basically cover the 7 P's as follows:
Is your product still relevant? (particularly if sales are down) Does it need an upgrade? Should you look at developing new lines or products? What else do your customers want? Are there complementary products you could sell?
Do your price points need adjusting? What are your competitors charging? Should you run a price promotion eg. two for the price of one? Should you offer different payment terms? eg. payment over a number of months, a different price for paying in cash etc.
Is your distribution plan working? Could you sell your products more effectively in other places?
There are so many ways to sell your products these days inc. having retail outlets, telemarketing, mail order, through joint ventures, online through websites etc.
How high is the awareness level of your business/product? Are your marketing communication channels working? Many people think that promotion is the definition of marketing but is is only one small element.
This area of your marketing plan outlines how you intend communicating to the market about your product.
It may include advertising, PR, direct mail, newsletters and all the other communication devices and media available for getting your message out there.
Positioning is all about how your customers and prospects perceive you and what key attribute they associate you with.
For instance, do your customers perceive you as offering ‘quality’ or ‘good value’ or ‘service’ etc. Is this still consistent with what you want? Is it how you want to be positioned vs. the competition? If not, what needs to happen to change it?
Is your packaging still working? Does it need refreshing to generate renewed interest? Is it appealing to your target? Is it conveying the right message?
Packaging is important for first impressions. Does it stand out and does it convey what your product stands for?
There is a whole science that goes in to creating the packaging for groceries in supermarkets – it can make or break your product if it doesn’t capture attention on the shelves.
Are your staff reflecting your brand message or personality?
Your definition of marketing should also include your staff. Are the first impressions they generate of your business in alignment with your marketing strategy? For example, if you're a top-end beauty salon, do all of your beauticians look beautifully neat and well groomed?
Business Coaching Questions: