Relationship Between Consumer And Marketing
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THE BEST MARKETING IDEALS
You know the stories: There’s the legendary tale of a Nordstrom clerk who refunded the price of a consumers tries, even though Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires, And who could forget the one about a Midwest express employee who lent his own suit to a passenger whose luggage had been lost?
Reserved for world- class companies, these stories tell of the loyalty- boosting customer service most entrepreneurs would kill for. The problem? Most entrepreneurs don’t have the foggiest ideal how to provide this kind of service. In the words of Jay Goltz, 42, founder and president of Artists Frame Service in Chincago, and author of The Street Smart Entrepreneur (Addicus Books), ‘’You read books, go to seminars, hear speakers talk about great customer service, but it doesn’t always work.”
There are, however, a few things that almost always work. Consider the following five ideals the equivalent of “Once upon a time…,’’ the beginning of your own tales of legendary consumer service.
HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
“Find and retain quality people,” advises Ron Zemke, founder of performance Research Associates, a Minneapolis service quality consulting firm, and co-author of De-livering Knock your Sock Off Service (Amacom Books). “You can’t create world-class customer care if you hire run-of-the mill employees”.
Customer service employees who excel have the right personality for the job, according to peter Baron, 38 founder and principal of Socket Public Relations in Relations in Tucker, Georgia. “The people we hire (are) high-achievers who take charge”, he says. According to Baron, this type of person is best suited to doing whatever it takes to make customers happy.
Ask the right questions when interviewing candidates, advises Goltz. Artist Frame Service’s interviewing protocol probes deeply into prospective customer service employees’ past job experience. “I ask them to tell me about how they handled their worst customer service experience,” Goltz says. “You can catch a(candidates)attitude that way.”
In today’s tight labour market, it can be tough to find the right people. Zemeke suggests asking your best customer service employees to identify other people like themselves, “If you have good workers,” he says, “use them to recruit(other)
MAKE SERVICE A CORE VALUE
Even the most eager to please employee must know what’s expected in a variety of customer service –related situations. But that’s not easy. For instance, how could Midwest Express train its reps to lend their clothes to stranded passenger? It couldn’t, says Leonard Berry, a Texas A&M University marketing professor who cited the Midwest Express story in his book Discovering The Soul of Service(Free Press).
“There’s no way to write a policy manual that instructs employees on what to do in every conceivable situation,” argue Berry. “But by building the ethics of excellent service into the (organizations)core values, even without the rulebook, your employees will know what to do, ”Making service a core value keeps it fresh in everyone’s mind, says Berry. The process of embedding customer service as a core value starts at the top, he emphasizes.
“The best way to perpetuate a concern for excellence is to have excellence at the highest levels of management,” says Berry.
Just as you cant tell people what to do in every situation, you cant tell them exactly what great service is either, Berry says. Instead of detailing your values, inspire people by example. Tell them stories about your company’s great service-appeal to their hearts as well as their minds.
EMPLOWER FRONT-LINE EMPLOYEES
Fear may be the biggest factor blocking greats service. By providing extra-special service, employees may fear overstepping their bounds. To counter this fear, entrepreneurs must empower employees to do what’s necessary to achieve their customer service vision.
At Socket Public relations. Baron’s employees are empowered to stop billing clients who are dissatisfied with a press release or other job. “It definitely sends a message”, he says. “It gives each employee the knowledge and discretion to make sure the actual time they deliver is high quality. If they’re engaged in an activity they don’t think is valuable to the client, they decide whether to charge or not”.
Giving employees the discretion to provide free service isn’t always the best form of customer service empowerment, however. At Sonic Innovations, a Salt Lake City hearing-aid manufacturer company president, Andy Raguskus, 53, empowers customer service employees to make a whole range of decisions in an effort to make customers happy.
“They’re free of offer refunds, swap one product for another, send out free batteries or provide free consulting services”, says Reguskus. “They have a wide range of latitude. “He stresses, however, that this type of empowerment only work if customer service reps aren’t reprimanded for making bad decision. That means backing them up if they give away something they shouldn’t have in an effort to please a customer. “If employees make a decision I wouldn’t have made, I won’t burn them for it”, explains Raguskus. “Nine times out of 10, our reps make fabulous choices”
SOLICIT AND USE FEEDBACK
Before you know how much power to give employees, you have to know what’s important to customers. For instance, Sonic Innovations has two types of customers: users, often elderly and hearing impaired, and professional audiologists who dispense its products. While a user may require an explanation of the difference between analog and digital hearing aids, about programming. Knowing what’s important to each type of customer is essential.
How do you find out what customers want? Listen and take notes, says Fred Wiersema, co-author of The Discipline of Market Leaders (Perseus Books) and editor of Customer Service (Harper Business). “The one thing that can make up for all deficiencies is being in touch with your customers,” he says. That means using a variety of approaches to encourage customers’ letters, calls and other feedback.
Use computer systems to record as much of this information as possible. Customers of Lenel Systems International, a security management systems firm in Pittsford, New York, are asked to provide an identification number when they call. Service reps than enter the number when into computers to retrieve customer files, including all past problems reported regarding Lenels software and hardware.
“Our customer service databases has a tremendous amount of information”, says Rudy Prokupets, the company’s executive vice president of research and development, and chief technology officer. Lenel also uses its Web site to gather service data. Customers who access the site are prompted to enter a unique password, identifying themselves and funneling comments or complaints into their file. “We have a feedback area on the site”. Adds Prokupets. “And we make sure we respond to it”.
Don’t restrict yourself to computerized solutions, however. Wiersema recommends that entrepreneurs regularly call a few randomly selected customers and simply ask about the company’s service. “Make sure you get directly in touch with the customer,” advises Wiersma.
Porkupets agrees about the value of direct experience. “We like to send services people into the field to see real installations,” he says. Once they come back, they’re changed people.”
PICK THE RIGHT CUSTOMERS
Nothing will work if you’re trying to serve the wrong customers, “Small businesses don’t do a very good job of segmenting,” says Zemke. “If you’ve been serving everybody and not thinking about who your core customers are, you’re going to be in trouble when business changes,”
Some customers are too demanding, reducing your ability to serve those who are more easily satisfied. Others are too small to make serving them worthwhile. To differentiate, say Zemke, “Define your core customer, the one you would live or die for. Figure out who’s going to be the customer you’ll go to the mat for, with all kinds of value-added services”.
You can use data-based tools, such as projected life-time revenues, to identify the best clients. Or, says Zemke, you can simply listen to your gut instincts. “Ask yourself, who would you go out in the middle of the night to make a delivery for?” he suggests. Then try to figure out what traits make those accounts so valuable to you, and match new prospects to the profile. Otherwise, warns Zemke, “You can spend on awful lot of time romancing marginal customers”.
Baron says Socket uses two traits to decide whether customers can be successfully served. First, customers have products or services that are likely to be successful. “If we feel their expectations are out of line with what they have to offer, we decide then and there it’s not a good fit,” he says.
Equally important, Socket clients must be people who are easy to work with, “If we have a customer who’s hard on our employees, we walk,” Baron says. “We put our people first.” SUMMING UP SERVICE
Even the five best customer service idea may not need to be used every day. Baron say it’s only three or so times a year that an employee stops billing a client for customer service reasons. The number of times he turns down a client for service-related reasons is about the same, he says.
And don’t expect to see instant or constant customer service improvements when you do apply them. “Take the long view, have a game plan and make choice,” says Berry. “This calls for prioritizing, sequencing and planning. Pick your spots so you get the most leverage and the most return for the investment you make.”
High-impact move you can make include Berry’s recommendation of requiring each employee to submit an idea once a month for their job description and part of their job evaluation as well,” he says.
Wiersema advises entrepreneur to spend an hour each week listening in on customer service phone calls. “You’re going gain an appreciation for (recurring) problems,”
Perhaps your first move, Berry says, should to institute a formal measurement system to calculate the true cost of mediocre service, “If business owners take the time to properly measure the revenue lost to customers who left due to poor service and the extra costs involved in reperforming a service that wasn’t performed properly the first time, the number they come up with will be so large, it will never again be an issue as to whether service quality is important in their company,” promises Berry. It’s instant religion.”
Whatever it takes to institute that religion, it’s worth it. That’s because these live customer service ideas are more than business tools. They’re stuff of corporate legends-yours. You know all the other stories of great customer service. Now go out and create your own.
PLAN MARKETING STRATEGY
Here, consider the following:
– How will the product be introduced?
– In what sizes?
– In what form?
– What is the behaviour of the target market?
– How will you position this product against those already in the market?
– What sales volumes do you want to achieve?
– What share of the market do you hope to capture?
– What profits are you looking at?
– Over what period?
– How will you attain this?
You should go on to analyze the business attractiveness of the proposal of product concept vis-à-vis the marketing plan and performance target. You need to ascertain if sale will be high enough to return a satisfactory profit to the business. Here, you will look at:
Packaging and distribution costs
Finally, estimate the minimum sales and maximum sales you need so that you can know the range of risk before hand, and if you can cope with it. It is wisdom to consider both outcomes, so you won’t be caught napping!
DEVELOP THE PRODUCT
If the product idea passes the business test, it is next brought into physical existence. All this while, it has existed only on paper as a description or at best, a model. This is where real costs are incurred for the cost of bringing the concept to existence is likely to be much higher.
This stage will confirm whether the idea can be translated into a technically and commercially feasible product. If not, it is wise to stop here, note the information gathered, and keep for future use. It is better to halt things at this stage than to go ahead with a bad idea or, a good idea that is not practicable in view of present circumstances. The idea can be kept till the fullness of time when it will be both practicable and viable. Patience and objectivity are the key qualities required here.
This is to enable you learn how consumers and dealers react to the product. Having developed it, a wise entrepreneur will first test market-it by inducing a few units in a sample space of the target market. This is because if his test-marketing is not conducted in the targeted market, the feedback may be wrong, and this can mislead. The higher the unit price of the product, the wiser it is to first of all, test market.
This can also yield valuable information about buyers, dealers, marketing programme effectiveness, market potentials and other matters. It can really yield several benefits, but the primary one is to provide a more reliable forecast of future sales.
If product sales during this stage falls below target levels in the market place, there may be the need to modify or drop the product or the marketing plan. This stage provides enough information to make a final decision about whether to go ahead, commercialize and launch the product or not.
HIT THE MARKET
If the product is concluded to be both feasible and viable from the proceeding stages, than it is now safe to: seek approval of relevant approving and professional bodies e.g NAFDAC, Copy Right Commission, Dental Association, Standards organization, etc.
Cross cheek quality of both product and packaging.
Cross cheek distribution outlets ensure proper timing of product launch for optimal benefits and sales. Questions that should preoccupy you now could be:
– When should I introduce the product?
– To whom should I first present it?
– How will I introduce?
The conclusion from these findings will help create a definite product launch plan. To conclude our creating the product’ exercise, we have seen how to effectively bring our products into existence from concept. It is important that we get this right from the start, because if we have good product, we will;
Enhance our confidence and moral in selling it.
Save ourselves from much hurt and pain, usually experience from the realization that one has a ‘Failed Product’ on hand, a bit too late.
It is important for us here, to ask “why do many new products fail”. This will help us have an understanding of the land mines involved. Actually, there are several factors, amongst which are: Insistence on pushing a Favourite idea, even with negative marketing and business research findings.
The product idea is good, but the market size in the market plan stage is overestimated.
The actual product is not designed as well as is should be.
The product is incorrectly positioned in the market. The product is not advertised/promoted effectively.
The product is over-priced. Where the new product development costs turn out to be higher then expected, where market is encroached faster than expected. Improper planning and research, If we objectively carry out all the necessary 8 steps highlighted as well as pay rapt attention to these subsequent aspects, we will be able to avoid most of these above listed bobby traps and land mines. May God give the grace.
YOUR PRODUCT AT THE MARKET PLACE
Having seen how we can effectively create our products from concept, we will now consider it, at the market place from two angles. Namely:
(i) How to introduce your new product at the market place, and
(ii) How to manage it at the market place.
INTRODUCING YOUR PRODUCT
The way you introduce your product largely depends on your objectives, nature of your target customers in terms of their name, class, location, value as well as the nature of your product, being a high or low unit cost product, technical or non-technical, consumable or long range uses product.
But, whatever the nature of your target market, nature of product and your objectives, the key determining factor is the state of cash flow and finance.
Can you afford to spend on promotions?
Can you afford advertising? What type and what medium?
How long can your cash flow hold out before sales starts coming in?
In launching a new product, marketing management skills come to bear. Depending on questions raised above, you can set a high or low level for each marketing variable such as price, promotion, distribution, product quality.
You can also choose to set out on the following:
(i) Introduce to meet preferences of one of the corners of your target market, i.e a single-niche strategy.
(ii) Introduce to meet preferences of two or more corners of your target market that is, a multiple niche strategy or,
(iii) Introduce to at least half of your target market i.e mass-market strategy.
For a small business, a single niche makes the most sense. A small business has insufficient resources for capturing and holding the mass-market from the start. Larger business! Its best bet is to develop a corner of the market, satisfy, grow along and this will not attract competitors for long. Slowly and surely you will cover the whole market before they realize it!
For a bigger business, it makes sense to go after the mass-market, since it carries a lot of overhead, and most likely, more facilities and resources as well.
It will be important at this state to note the customer adoption process, accept its reality, and seek ways to enhance it.
Customers go through various stages of behaviour towards any product. The wise entrepreneur will hasten the transformation of existing/potential customers from the state of relative unawareness of product to the state of activitely adopting it.
The stage are:
(1) Unawareness about product
(2) Awareness about product
(3) Interest in product
(4) Desire for product
(5) Conviction about value of product
(6) Adoption of product
Introduction of the product at the market place shifts existing/potential
Customers from state of unawareness to awareness about product.
The packaging and placement of your product will transform people from awareness to interest in the product.
The promotion and information you pass about what your product can do identifies and which need/want it fills, creates the desire for it.
The price and product quality create the conviction of its value.
The summation of introduction, package, placement, promotion, price and quality ultimately if positive, leads to adoption and a sale is made.
The wise entrepreneur will seek effective ways of facilitating a potential/existing customer’s movement through these stages without dilly-dallying.
MANAGING IT AT THE MARKET PLACE
Your product has been created, and introduced in the market. Your customers have progressed from unawareness about your products, to adoption. Now, you are making sales. The journey has just started.
Since this is a freedom in market system, any body can set up his or her business. Adam Smith’s idea of a “laissez Faire” economy included:
(1) Free Trade
(2) No attempt by the government to fix prices or regulate the quantity or quality of goods.
(3) Freedom for the individual to enter any occupation he might choose and to do, so no any location he desired.
(4) Determination of wages by unfettered bar gaming between employee and employer.
(5) Strict limitation on the functions of government to include only: (a) defence and maintenance of domestic and maintenance of those public works which could not be made commercially profitable. All of these accept the principle of free trade accrued a welcome reception no the new nation.
A condition of complete laissez fair never developed no the united or elsewhere. Today we live on a “mixed economy” where both private and public institutions exercise control of the economy.
Nevertheless, today a vast amount of economic activity proceeds with little or no direct government intervention.
The price system, competition, and the profit motive are at the heart of the “mixed economy”, just as if it were a private enterprise, laissez faire system.
The price system and competition continue to function in influencing consumer choices and investment decisions.
In order words, we have a vast system of trial and nor, of successive approximation to an equilibrium system of price and production. The matching of supply and demand, and of price and costs is instrumental in solving the three basic problems of any economic system, ie
(1) What things are to be produced?
(2) How they are to be produced, and
(3) For whom they are to be produced.
This will be explained no details for real understanding:
(1) What things will be produced is determine by the votes of consumers not every two years at the polls, but every day is their decision to purchases this item and not that. Of course, the money that they pay into business each registers ultimately provides the payrolls, rents, and dividends that consumers receive in weekly income. Thus the circle is a complete one.
(2) How thing are produced is determined by the competition of different producers. The method that is cheapest at any time, because of both physical efficiency and cost efficiency, will displace a more costly method. The only way for produces to meet price competition and maximize profits is to keep cost at a minimum by adopting the most efficient method. The price who gives carrots and kicks and coax his dickey forward, the pricing system deals out profits and losses to get what, how, and for whom decided.
(3) For whom thing are produce is determined by supply and demand in the markets for productive services: by wage rates/and, rents interest rates, and profits all of which go to make up every bodies incomes – relatives to every one else and relatives to the whole.
Of course, the character of the resulting upon the initial distribution of property ownership and no acquired or inherited abilities.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONSUMER AND MARKETING
Yes! Relationships exist between consumer and of marketing. The two are complimentary. Without consumers, there will be no marketing and without marketing, there will no consumer.
Lets me explain these in two perspectives:-
PROMOTION: This is one of the way which relationship is established between consumer and marketing.
Marketing institutes may bring out a promotion to a consumer and say, if you bring these products, this is a discount that will be deducted or this is what you will win. This for instance will establish the relationship will it will bring to pass the law of olemand and supply which states, the higher the demand, the higher the supply.
For example, in Nigeria, celtel Nigeria are currently doing some promotions, when you buy a celtel line that is #150,00, you have an instance bonus of #200,00,Now tell me, wont and demand increase their sells? And who me they selling it to?
So invariably, consumers, marketing have a strong relationship, and can’t do without another.
- EXHIBITION THROUGH TRADEFARE
This is another from of brachiating a consumer with a marketer. It can be said to be one of a way of acquires ones need and want. Trade fare can be said to be the act of displaying goods and commodition at a particular place at the lower rate. Here the consumers are motivated to buy certain goods and product at a cheaper price/rate.
Nevertheless the relationship that will be seen here is mutual. The marketer will be fare to the consumer and vice versa.
Although, the products sold there should be originals and the marketers are said to be experience in the field.
In the world of business operation there are so many ways that customers relate with marketing. What is really means here is that, there are alots of ways that customers get in contact with goods and services. One of such ways are through the electronic Media Viz-a-viz Radio, Television, Cinema, Video, and Computer.
Due to logistic reasons one will only discus how Radio and Television serve as a strategic medium whereby customers relate with marketing.
RADIO: Radio is one of the million ways through which customers relate with marketing. The Radio serve as a means of communication whereby the value, essence and the significance of each goods and service is being communicated to the customer. Through this electronic media, the customer gets to know the real essence of a particular goods. For instance, lets consider Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) as a case study. One will have to understand that MTN, in selling their recharge card must undergo some series of Advertisement.
One of such advertisement is jingle. Getting down to the deep meaning of Jingle, one will pay that jingle is a short song or tune that is easy to remember and is used in advertising on radio. MTN used jingle as their method of advertising thereby communicating some lasting message to their numerous customers which will entice them to rush in and patronize the company. This jingle create a lasting impacts thereby leading the customer to see the goods and services as the best in the market. It makes the customers to be hungry for the good which will accidentally lead them to pour out their soul and rush for the products in the market. Through this jingle, the market and the customer form a perfect and tight relationship which brings them so close in all ramifications.
Another method through which the customer relate so deeply with marketing is by the use of Bonanza through the radio. The dictionary meaning of Bonanza is; “a situation in which people can make a lot of money or be very successful” (Wehmeier, S.;2000). This is a seasonal method of making money through the Radio Media. A marketer after marketing his products organizes some Bonanza by using this same products. For instance, the 7 up company normally organizes some Bonanza in order to speed up sales. In the light of this, the company can produce some of their drinks with free-drink on the cover and even some of the drinks may carry lots of consolation prizes. These may lead to a change in the world of the customers. What I am trying to say here is that, the customers may channel their demand to 7 up drinks in order to win a free-drink and other consolation prizes. When these happens, there is likely to be an increase in the price of a particular commodity. Therefore, when there is much influx of customers on a particular goods, there is bound to be an increase in the price of that same commodity. Here, the customer and the marketer is seen robbing minds together and relating in a cold and perfect way.
TELEVISION: Television is one such visual display unit through which the products of the marketer is displayed on the visual screen for customers to make their right choice. Through the television, the customer gets in contact with a particular goods thereby making himself satisfied by making the right selection. The most outstanding ways used to advertise product for sale on the television is through television splash. TV-splash can be seen as an article in a television that is intended to attract a lot of attention.
When a market present a commodity on a screen, he beautifies and decorates it with fine and nice colours in order to attract a customer. He makes it in such a way that, if the customer sees such product, he will rush for it immediately. By seeing this commodity on the screen, the interest of the customer will arouse which will lead him to get in contact with the market agents thereby purchasing the product forthwith. Therefore, when using TV-splash in Advertising a products, one need to decorate and paint such products in order to march with the taste of the customer. For example if one is organizing a TV-splash on cake making and decoration, one need to expatiate on the significance and usefulness of cake during August- occasions. At the same time one need to choose the right colour to march when decorating the cake. In the light of this, one has to explain the different colours and what it stands for. When all these has been put in proper place the customer will certainly have need of it. According to one popular slogan, which says, “package your products and people will price it”. Be that as it may, TV-splash being one of the major ways in Advertising on the television brings the customer to the market. Just as a sheep is laid to the slaughter so also the customer is channel or laid to the market for commodities thereby enriching the marketer.
Therefore, viewing all this method of Advertisement on the Radio and Television, one has to posit that through all these medium the customer has related in a better and perfect way with marketing.
MISCELLANEOUS MEDIUM OF MARKETING:
Marketing has a lot to do with consumers respond to a particular product or services. Through this medium consumers and producer related.
Example of consumers relationship with marketing is through:
(1) BILL BOARD ADVERTISING:
Through this medium, entrepreneur or a firm communicate with consumers about their product or services, the general market now become aware of their current services, it might be the company’s new product and services. How do they respond? This depend on presentation of product tagline on the bill board. This also help to increase the volume of demand and supply for the firm.
(2) INTERNET ADVERTISING:
This is known as cold marketing, it need a lot of response and hard work to be able to convince the available consumer to your product. The world is a global village because of the use of internet. You send your website with traditional on online and ask questions. You also try to communicate with your consumers by sending them direct e-mail respond. Example of companies websites like ebay.com and Amazon.com altract thousands of consumers to their website because of the use of internet add a message board on your website. People will visit your website to ask questions and answer other people’s questions.
Add a quest book on your website people will go there to leave their opinion. This help to connect the consumers behaviour towards your goods and services.
What advertising can do for your Business?
- Remind customers and prospects about the benefits of your product or service.
- Establish and maintain your distinct identity
- Enhance your reputation
- Encourage existing customers to buy more of what you sell
- Attract new customers and replace lost ones
- Slowly build sales to boost your bottom line
- Promote your business to customers, investors and others
What advertising cannot do your business?
- Create an instant customer base
- Cause an immediate sharp increase in sales
- Solve cash flow or profit problems
- Substitute for poor or indifferent customer service
- Sell useless or unwanted products or services
Advertising’s two important virtues
- You have complete control. Unlike public relations efforts, you determine exactly where, when and how often your message will appear, how it will look, and what it will say. You can target your audience more readily and aim at very specific geographic areas.
- You can be consistent, presenting your company’s image and sales message repeatedly to build awareness and trust. A distinctive identity will eventually become clearly associated with your company, like Tasty Fried Chicken’s happy chicken. Customers will recognize you quickly and easily – in ads, mailers, packaging or signs-if you present yourself consistently.
What are Advertising’s Drawbacks?
- It takes planning. Advertising works best and cost least when planned and prepared in advance. For example, you’ll pay less per ad in newspapers and magazines by agreeing to run several ads over time rather than deciding issue by issue. Likewise, you can save money by preparing a number of ads at once.
- It takes time and persistence. The effectiveness of your advertising improves gradually over time, because customers don’t see every one of your ads.
You must repeatedly remind prospects and customer about the benefits of doing business with you. The long-term effort triggers recognition and helps special offers or direct marketing pay off.
GETTING READY TO ADVERTISE – DRAWING THE BLUEPRINT
- Design the framework
- What is the purpose of your advertising program? Start by defining your company’s long-range goals, then map out marketing can help you attain them. Focus on advertising routes complementary to your marketing efforts. Set measurable goals so you can evaluate the success of your advertising campaign. For example, do you want to increase overall sales by 20% this year? Boost sales to existing customers by 10% during each of the next three years? Appeal to younger or older buyers? Sell off old products to free resources for new ones?
- How much can you afford to invest? Keep in mind that whatever amount you allocate will never seem like enough. Even giants such as proctor and Ganble and Pepsi always feel they could augment their projections, simple addition and subtraction can help you determine how much you can afford to invest. Some companies spend a full 10% of their gross income on advertising, others just 1%. Research and experiment to see what works best for your business.
- Fill in the Details
- What are the features and benefits of your product or services? When determining features, think of automobile brochures that list engine, body and performance specifications. Next, and more difficult, determine the benefits those features provide to your customers. How does your product or service actually help them? For example, a powerful engine helps a driver accelerate quickly to get onto busy freeways.
- Who is your audience? Create a profile of your best customer. Be as specific as possible, for this will be the focus of your ads and media choices. A restaurant may target adults who dine out frequently in the nearby city or suburban area. A computer software manufacturer may aim at information managers in companies with 10-100 employees. A bottled water company may try to appeal to athletes or people over 25 who are concerned about their health.
- Who is your competition? Its important to identify your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what your competition offers that you don’t and vice versa, helps you show prospects how your product or services is special, or why they should do business with you instead of someone else. Knowing your competition will also help you find a niche in the marketplace.
- Arm yours with information
- What do you know about your industry, market and audience? There are many sources of information to help you keep in touch with industry, market and buying trends without conducting expensive market research. Examples include National Research Bureau and Ministry of Commerce. Public, business or university libraries are also a good option, as are industry associations, trade publications and professional organizations. You can quickly and easily learn more about your customers by simply asking them about themselves, their buying preferences and media habits.
- Another more expensive, alternative is to hire a professional market research firm to conduct your research.
- Build your Action Plan – Evaluating Media Choices
- Your next step is to select the advertising schedule. In most cases, knowing your audience will help you choose the media that will deliver your sales message most effectively. Use as many of the above tools as are appropriate and affectively. Use as many of the media budget by taking advantage of co-op advertising programs offered by manufacturers. Although programs vary, generally the manufacturer will pay for a position of media space and time costs, or mailer production charges, up to a fixed amount per year. The total amount contributed is usually based on the quantity of merchandise you purchase.
- When developing your advertising schedule, be sure to take advantage of any special editorial or promotional coverage planned in the media you select. Newspapers, for example, often run special sections featuring real estate, investing, home and garden improvement, and tax advice. Magazines also often focus on specific themes in each issue.
- Using other promotional Avenues
Advertising extends beyond the media described above. Other options include imprinting your company name and graphic identity on pens, paper, clocks, calendars and other give away items for your customers. Put your message on bill boards, inside buses and subways, on vehicle and buildings; on point-of-sale displays and shopping bags.
- You might co-sponsor events with nonprofit organizations and advertise your participation; attend or display at consumer or business trade shows; create tie-in promotions with allied businesses; distribute newsletters; conduct seminars; undertake contests or sweepstakes; send advertising flyers along with billing statements; use telemarketing to generate leads for salespeople; or develop sales kits with brochures, product samples, or application ideas.
- The number of promotional tools used to deliver your message and repeat your name is limited only your imagination your budget.
THE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN
You are ready for action when armed with knowledge of your industry, market and audience; a media plan and schedule; your product or service’s most important benefits; and measurable goals in terms of sales volume, revenue generated, or other criteria.