Are You Spending Your Marketing Dollars in the Right Places?There are so many different ways to market your business. The challenge is deciding which are best suited for your enterprise and where to invest your marketing funds and time.
There are a number of factors to consider, including:
- Your target market
- The products and services you offer
- Your unique value proposition
- The marketing channels you use
- Your internal marketing staff
- Your external marketing resources
- Your marketing budget
- Measuring the effectiveness
What is your target market?
There are demographic characteristics you can use to define your customers, including age, gender, job function, industry, retail, business services, etc. There may be additional characteristics that are specific to your business, such as the types of challenges you solve. For instance, a company that specializes in extinguishing oil well fires.
What products and services do you offer?
Some businesses sell products that can be seen and are easy to understand. Furniture, automobiles, and food are good examples. If you sell services, written descriptions, case studies, and testimonials help create the mental picture needed to “see them.” As an example, an energy consulting business would use these techniques to demonstrate how they save money for their customer.
What is your unique value proposition?
Other businesses have similar products or services to yours. Your business has unique strengths. Identifying these strengths will help you craft your unique value proposition. Wikipedia defines this as: “… a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer that value will be experienced. A value proposition can apply to an entire organization, or parts thereof, or customer accounts, or products or services…Developing a value proposition is based on a review and analysis of the benefits, costs and value that an organization can deliver to its customers, prospective customers, and other constituent groups within and outside the organization.” Talk to your employees and customers about their perceptions of the value of your company. This will be helpful in determining what makes your organization unique and different from your competition.
What marketing channels are right for your business?
The Internet has established itself as a legitimate place to market your business. For some consumer-oriented companies, it is the only tool they use. They build virtual businesses using an e-commerce platform on their website to sell a host of different products. For others, it is one of a number of different marketing methods used. They will use a website and have physical stores to sell their products. As an example, automobile websites tell you all about the features and functions of a car. You can also find out where to purchase the car and which makes, models, and colors are in stock. The customer will still visit a dealer to take a test drive before they buy.
For Business to Business (B2B) services, the Internet is used as the online brochure for the company’s products and services. Additionally, the web provides information through links to other associated sites like government publications and regulations. It can also be used to provide thought leadership consisting of authoritative information or helpful suggestions through blogs and white papers.
Speaking engagements and trade show participation continue to play an important role in certain industries. Other marketing channels include networking events, direct mail, promotional products, sponsorships, public relations news releases, writing books, and e-books, blogs, TV, print media, billboard advertising, and others that may be applicable.
What internal resources are available to support your marketing efforts?
Do you have a marketing department, a marketing person, or is marketing a part-time function for one of your staff? How you internally staff the marketing function will have a direct bearing on the types of services you need from your vendors.
How do you select the right marketing vendors?
Determine which services you need. Create a check list of you can to evaluate potential resources. Different vendors will have different capabilities. Compare theirs to your list. Ask for customer references from those who have implemented services similar to yours. Ask the references about the support they received as well as what they would do differently the next time they purchase similar services. Price is important but other considerations can also influence the selection.
How much do you have available to spend on marketing?
There are always more places to spend available marketing dollars than there are dollars to spend. Many companies allocate a predefined % of annual revenue for marketing and then spend the dollars as the sales force and/or marketing department identifies ways to use the dollars.
How do you measure the impact of marketing?
There are different metrics to measure the effectiveness of each type of marketing. The metrics need to be compared to the dollars spent, the number of leads, and resulting sales.
There are a number of different factors to consider when determining how, when, and where to market your business. All of them are important and each one should be considered carefully before moving forward.
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