“A simple guide to marketing” is my own system based on personal experience.
Read it, reflect upon it, takes notes and if you have a better system, or ideas for improvement, share your knowledge on my blog.
Marketing is simply planning. I carry out market research in order to find out how to best bring together my product (as a seller) with customers (as buyers) in order to exchange my product for money. I write my marketing plan, implement it, manage it, and monitor all activities by controlling every stage of every action. I collect all data to analyze performance and to access results. It is simple because it is a system, but as we all know, “It is not what you do. It’s how you do it”. Therefore the actual process of this system will rely on your own input.
I have my own system of how I approach Marketing for my company; the actual process I go through. Remember, successful Marketing is a planning of your strategy and once it starts it never stops; therefore you have to understand that marketing is an ongoing process. I look at Marketing as a process of nine steps, where the last step becomes part of the first step of my next plan.
Here they are:
M – Measuring financial capability – step 1.
A – Accessing target and ability to promote and distribute – step 2.
R – Routing to save time and resources – step 3.
K – Keeping complexity out – step 4.
E – Evaluating objective and subjective aspects – step 5.
T – Testing market to prove or correct targeting – step 6.
I – Implementing marketing plan – step 7.
N – Navigating through uncharted waters – step 8.
G – Gathering data for analyzing performance and results – step 9 (becoming step 1 for the next marketing plan).
Marketing is not just few ideas in your head – it has to be written down as a marketing plan. Every step that you will be introduced to in this article has a general presentation of how I approach marketing and what I take into consideration for formulating a marketing plan.
1. Measuring financial capability is a very important step. As you know, your marketing plan must be aimed at a minimum 12 month period. It doesn’t matter if you are opening a new business or have taken over an established one. Your first step is to work out and decide just how much money from your total established company budget you will allocate for Marketing (5%, 10%, 15% or more). Your prime focus is to gain the best return possible on this investment. As soon as you decide that figure, you need to put a special system in place to manage, monitor and track your spending, throughout the whole process. Always stay in control of your spending.
2. Accessing target and ability to promote and distribute. Your target is your existing or potential customers, or both. Knowing as much as possible about your customer is vital. Take time to do your due diligence thoroughly as it will help you to write a more realistic marketing plan. When you have made your assessment of customers it will be easy to decide how to best promote your product to them and by what means to distribute it. Here is where your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis will help you to find out what you have (as a producer or seller) and what you must improve in order to have a product that you can successfully promote, sell and deliver.
3. Routing to save time and resources is the next very logical step. You must calculate the most efficient distance from point 1(Where you product is physically held for sale or delivery), to point 2 (your customer’s correctly established delivery location). These calculations become your blue print for logistics if you deliver product physically.
4. Keeping complexity out is something you have to work out in order to make your message to your customers precise, concise, straightforward and very simple. This must apply to the main promotional message of your product; including, the message of benefits for your customer, purchasing instructions, and instructions of how to use your product. This aspect also applies to the design of your product. Any complications or too much complexity could be a ‘turn off’ point for potential customers. Think like a customer at this point and not as a seller: “Fast, easy, great benefits and value for money”.
5. Evaluating the objective and subjective of your marketing plan is quite a challenge, but if you understand what is involved it will be much easier, especially after all the previous steps.
Evaluating the objective:
Now you must confirm your promotional plan with all components involved: physical or digital advertising, direct marketing (direct mail or email), public relations or whatever means you have chosen to promote and advertise your product. You also have to confirm actual content, time line of production (including schedules for your suppliers or agents) and proceed with initial briefings for necessary corrections with everyone who will be involved.
Evaluating the subjective:
Which will involve two steps: analytic step, which is based on your company analysis of your product; and actual, which is analyzed after feedback from a few independent individuals who tried your product (in my case they are the first readers of digital books I am selling). With your objective and subjective data reviewed, you are ready for the next step.
6. Testing market to prove or correct targeting is you last step before the real action. Set up some testing stations with your product in random places or specifically identified areas. Conduct surveys online or send some people into the field. Collect all information, analyze it and make any necessary changes to your marketing plan. Next it is necessary to meet with everybody involved at this stage to implement any final corrections. After that meeting you must be ready to finalize the ‘Executive Summary’ for your marketing plan. Every component of your marketing plan has to be confirmed as doable with every task assigned. Basically, your marketing plan must be ready for implementation with everybody involved knowing their specific task.
7. Implementing marketing plan is one of most exiting steps you will experience. It is the time you turn your marketing plan into action. Whatever you planned must now be executed. I love this number 7 step, because ‘7’ is also a lucky number. This step is highly emotional and your aim is to stay calm and focused; you are in control of every action and therefore you must take full responsibility to complete your task. Your main task is to lead your team. Manage your people, support them, keep them focused, stay in control and monitor all activities and data.
8. Navigating through uncharted waters I consider a specific step, because even if you do not plan for it- it will take place. I accept it as an unavoidable but manageable step in marketing. Just as in real life, unexpected surprises and discoveries of new opportunities do occur; it is a usual part of any plan. Just look at the recent economical recession that took many by surprise. Some common surprises in the marketing business are: unexpected bad publicity, newer and better product launched by your competitors during your campaign, or your suppliers went out of business and you have to find new ones in a hurry. Do not panic- make changes, adjust and keep going. With unexpected surprises you might discover new opportunities. What opportunities? To give you an example: you receive a call from a buyer you’re never heard of wishing to place a big order on your terms and conditions. The only hassle your company now faces is increasing production to satisfy demand. The good thing about unexpected surprises and arising opportunities is – once you know what they are, you can manage them.
9. Gathering data for analyzing performance and results is the last step, but also the first step for your next marketing plan. During the whole process you must have a system in place that collects all data and information from the beginning of marketing planning and even after it ends. This is your golden collection of knowledge and business wisdom. This is your real experience of marketing and it is now your own ‘know how’.
Remember, Marketing is not a dogma or doctrine- it is a planned strategy and can be quite unique and specific for each company; but some important components must be considered very seriously and they are: budget, market research, target or who are your customers, product relation and demand, correct price determination, logistics and monitoring systems. For that to work properly you need a written marketing plan. Take it seriously, regardless if your company is big or small.
Now you know what I do and you can do the same. However, remember, “It’s not what you do. It’s how you do it”. Your input will be directly proportional to the actual outcome. Good Luck!
My warmest regards,
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