This course is designed to provide a basic overview of marketing. It is a practical program with real-world examples and helpful tips. The course is directed to small business owners who are interested in reaching a broader customer base.
Duration of the course: 00:30:00
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Slide 4 Course Outline
There are eight topic sections within the course. Each section covers a different aspect of marketing.
The course begins and sets the tone by defining what marketing is. It then describes in some detail how to conduct market research and prepare a marketing plan.
Slide 5 Course Outline
Practical, high-impact marketing strategies are also described to help you consider ways to win new customers.
In addition, “next steps” are outlined to directly engage you in the marketing process….. You can’t learn ---without doing and these suggested actions will help you understand and apply key marketing principles. Lastly, numerous additional resources are identified to assist you.
You will notice a button in the top right section of each slide that says Course Outline. Clicking on that button will bring you to the course outline – which will give you quick access to any section of the course.
OK, let’s get started. To advance to the next section, click on the continuation button on the bottom of your
Slide 6 What is Marketing?
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.”
A lot of words, but the key word is ---- “satisfy.” Your products and/or services should provide a solution to an unfulfilled need in the market place. The process of marketing BEGINS with discovering what products customers need and want to buy. You'll be facing an uphill battle if you provide something you want to produce and then try to convince someone to buy it.
The marketing process continues by establishing prices, letting potential customers know about products &
services, and then making them available – while generating profits for the business.
Simply put, marketing is based on the importance of customers to the business. Two key principles stand out. First, company policies and activities should be focused on satisfying customer needs. Second, profitable sales volume is far more important than maximum sales volume.
Slide 7 Market Research is Key
It all begins with research. You can’t be successful selling in or to a “market” you don’t understand.
Market research does not have to be costly, nor does it have to be a complex process. It can be as simple as
surveying a crosssection of your customers.
Other market research techniques include analyzing demographic data such as population changes, gender, income levels, age ranges, education levels and other information.
Whatever method you use, your focus should be on gathering enough information to determine who your
potential customers are; what their needs are; and what products they would consider buying from a business like yours. Market research should answer questions such as:
•Who are your existing customers and potential customers?
•How would you describe or profile your customers?
-Where are they located?
-And, most importantly, are you offering the kinds of products and services customers want --- at the best place, at the right price, and in the right amounts?
Slide 8 Market Research is Key (cont)
Market research is not a perfect science, but understanding your market is critically important. There are many ways to conduct research, simply and easily. Some helpful methods include:
•Use the Internet. It is an incredible research tool. Use it, with “search engines” to find local demographic data, competitors, view site maps, find documents and much more.
•Develop simple customer surveys. They can be very helpful and you will be surprised at what you can learn.
•Review local maps. They are a great way to understand an area and to put a “market” in perspective.
•Use economic development agencies and trade groups. They are powerful resources available to help find all types of market and demographic information.
•Review Census and Labor Department data and publications.
•And lastly, don’t be shy about learning from your competitors – studying their customers, what they sell, traffic levels and any other market information you can find out.
Links to multiple demographic resources are available at the conclusion of this course.
Slide 9 The Marketing Plan
OK… you’ve done your research, so how do you pull it all together to reach your customers? The answer is
preparing a meaningful marketing plan.
The marketing plan is the heart of any business. It is a blueprint of strategies designed to help you win customers. Your marketing plan – which is generally included within the overall business plan, should consist of several key components. These components or strategies include: identify your target market; define your products and services; outline your pricing strategy; describe how your products will be distributed; develop a promotion strategy; review your competition; and prepare a marketing budget.
Each of these components or strategies will be discussed in the following sections. All of them are important. However, it’s important to note that once your target market is identified, your plan is designed to apply strategies around the marketing mix or 4p’s of marketing – product, price, place and promotion.
Slide 10 Identify Target Markets
Owners of small businesses usually have limited resources to spend on marketing. Concentrating their efforts on one or a few key market segments - target marketing - gets the most return on investment. There are two methods used to segment a market:
That is, specializing in serving the needs of customers in a particular geographical area. For example, a
neighborhood convenience store may send advertisements only to people living within a one-mile radius of the store. And, customer segmentation…
That is, identifying people who are most likely to buy your products or services --- and then targeting those groups.
For instance, if you are in the business of selling surf boards, you want to target people who are engaged in or at least interested in the sport of surfing. Reaching out to baby-boomers in a retirement magazine may bring in a few energetic prospects, searching for their youth, but you probably won’t sell a lot of surf boards.
Identify your target market by location, age, gender, education, income and interests. Learn to know your
customers better than anyone.
Slide 11 Description of Products and Services
The product aspects of a good marketing strategy relate to the actual goods and services being sold and how they satisfy the customers’ needs and desires. Your plan should clearly identify and describe your products and services, as they relate to supporting the needs of your customers.
Remember, it’s all about the customer. Product strategies may include concentrating on a narrow product line, developing a highly specialized product or service, or providing a product with an unusually high-quality service program. Other product decisions will focus on the product name, packaging, warranty and other factors. Bottom- line -- the product has to meet the needs of the customer.
Slide 12 Pricing Strategies
Pricing is about setting the price, including establishing discount levels, for your products and services.
The right price is critical for maximizing revenue and profits. Generally, higher prices mean lower volume and vice- versa. However, if your products or services are unique and different from competitors, you may be able to charge higher prices without a reduction in volume.
There are a number of pricing decisions you can make to support a sound marketing strategy for your business. Everyday we come in contact with pricing strategies applied by other entrepreneurs. Learn from the success of others and your own buying habits. It is important that you keep abreast of changes in the marketplace because these changes can have an effect on your bottom line.
Slide 13 Promotion
Promotion is a key. It is important that you develop a strategy that uses various media to promote your business and that you monitor which promotional activities are most effective. Promotion includes advertising, sales promotion and publicity. It refers to the various methods of promoting your product, brand or company. Promotion strategies include advertising, providing incredible customer service, Internet banners, search engine optimization, radio spots, flyers, coupons and darn good salesmanship. Because small firms often have limited funds to spend on advertising, it’s absolutely critical to deliver consistent good salesmanship to retain customers. In terms of decisions, you will have to consider advertising options, sales and promotions, and the image you want your business to reflect to the public.
Slide 14 Location, Place & Distribution
Place refers to how the product gets to the customer. Specifically, it refers to the channel by which a product or service is sold or distributed.
Retail businesses should consider the cost and traffic flow in selecting a site, especially since advertising and rent can be reciprocal -- that is a low-cost, low-traffic location likely means spending more on advertising to build traffic. Manufacturing and wholesale firms must also consider the costs associated the distribution of their products.
In terms of your marketing strategy, you will need to consider ease and cost of product distribution. Decisions will focus on customer convenience, speed, transportation, warehousing and eCommerce options.
Slide 15 Competition
You will be surprised at how much you can learn from your competitors. There is nothing wrong with becoming a student of your competition. Many successful marketing strategies have been born from ideas tested by others.
As an initial strategy, identify five business competitors in your area. Start a file on each, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Keep files on their advertising and promotional materials, as well as their pricing strategies. Review these files periodically. Remember, a company is not likely to continue a strategy if it doesn’t work. Pay particular attention to strategies that are repeated.
And, always, ask yourself – “what can you do to improve upon what your competition is doing?”
Slide 16 Marketing Budget
Operating an effective marketing plan with meaningful strategies requires money. You will have to allocate funds from your operating budget to cover research, advertising, promotion and all costs associated with marketing. Develop a marketing budget that is realistic and based on facts. Remember, it takes money to make money.
Slide 17 Measure Performance
A good marketing plan and strategy include a process to evaluate the results of your efforts. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” And, “if you can’t manage it, it’s probably not worth doing.” A lot of truth here.
Measuring performance means addressing questions like:
•How does the performance of my company compare with industry norms?
•Do I know for certain my marketing efforts are effective? How?
•Is my company doing all it can to be customer-oriented?
•Are my customers satisfied?
Think about these questions. These are sample questions, but are representative of the types of questions that should be asked to create benchmarks --- so that performance results can be measured over time. Obviously, you want to make certain that whatever marketing efforts you implement – have a positive impact on performance.
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