Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Four Components of Every Marketing Effort

There are four components to every marketing effort. All four of these key components must be given careful consideration—for each can cause the failure or success of your marketing.

The Product
The Message
The Prospect
The Media

Consistently successful marketing requires knowledge and mastery of these four factors that, together, can produce the desired results.

Rating the Four Marketing Components

PRODUCT – You have to do your research.
Is the product or service you're offering going to meet an existing need or demand?
Who needs or demands it?

You must know the exact demand or need you are trying to fill.

Can the product be priced profitably and competitively?
Does the product offer value?
How about quality?

Do the best you can to objectively evaluate your product—from the prospect's point of view.

MESSAGE – This includes the offer you're making (FREE booklet, bill me, FREE gift w/order, etc.), how you say it (the words), and how you present it (design elements).

Have you made an enticing offer?
Does your headline grab the attention of your hottest prospects?
Have you made your promotion look uncluttered, easy to read, professional?
Once again, you must put yourself in your prospect's shoes. How will your message be perceived by them?

PROSPECT – Who are the best candidates for your product or service?

Will apartment dwellers be interested in your lawn tractors? Not a chance.
Will the small business owner who spends only $2,000 per year on
marketing be interested in my consulting services? Probably not.
Sending the right message about the right product to the wrong prospect can be a total waste.

MEDIA – How will you get your message in front of your hottest prospects?
Direct mail?
TV? Radio?
Print ads?

This element of your marketing is just as important as the other four. Spending the money for a professionally written and designed ad will do you no good if you place it in the wrong publication.
How sure are you of the media you've selected?
Have you had success with them in the past, or are they untested for you?
Are detailed demographics available?
Do the best you can to rate your overall confidence in the media you plan to use.

In general, people want to spend money, be affluent and feel good.

People do not want to budget or be austere. They do not want to be involved with things that require work, cause risk to what they already have, or that are time consuming.

Use this knowledge to rate the four components of all your marketing efforts, then make needed adjustments as are indicated by the formula. You'll be amazed what happens to your response rate!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What is Marketing Research?

"The secret to success is - find out where the people are going and get there first." - Mark Twain

Basically, marketing research is just what the merchant did with the peanuts. Find out what catches customers' attention by observing their actions and drawing conclusions from what you see. To put it more formally, in the words of the American Marketing Association, marketing research is "the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services."

Marketing research is an organized way of finding objective answers to questions every business must answer to succeed. Every business owner-manager must ask:
 Who are my customers and potential customers?
 What kind of people are they?
 Can and will they buy?
 Am I offering the kinds of goods or services they want - at the best place, at the best time, and in the right amounts?
 Are my prices consistent with what buyers view as the products' values?
 Are my promotional programs working?
 What do customers think of my business?
 How does my business compare with my competitors?

Marketing research is not a perfect science; it deals with people and their constantly changing likes and dislikes which can be affected by hundreds of influences, many of which simply can't be identified. Marketing research does, however, try to learn about markets scientifically. That simply, is to gather facts in an orderly, objective way; to find out how things are, not how you think they are or would like them to be; what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell them.

Why Do It?

It's tough - impossible - to sell people what they don't want. (Remember the Nehru jacket?) That's pretty obvious. Just as obvious is the fact that nothing could be simpler than selling people what they do want. Big business has to do market research to find that out. The same reason holds for small business.

Business owners often have a "feel" for their customers - their markets - that comes from years of experience. Experience can be a two-edged sword, though, since it comprises a tremendous mass of facts acquired at random over a number of years.

Information about markets gained from long experience may no longer be timely enough to base selling decisions on. In addition, some "facts" may be vague, misleading impressions or folk tales of the "everybody knows that..." variety.

Marketing research focuses and organized marketing information. It ensures that such information is timely. It provides what you need to:
 Reduce business risks,
 Spot problems and potential problems in your current market,
 Identify and profit from sales opportunities,

Get basic facts about your market to help you make better decisions and set up plans of action.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Return of the Friday Fun

Serious topics will resume Monday. For today, we celebrate a one business day reprieve of Tax Day with some fun to head in to your weekend.

I think I may have had this pair as employees once:
The new employee stood before the paper shredder looking confused. "Need some help?" a secretary asked. "Yes," he replied. "How does this thing work?" "Simple," she said, taking the fat report from his hand and feeding it into the shredder. "Thanks, but where do the copies come out?"

Funny, yet believable:
When the office photo-copies began to look faint, the business owner called in a local repair service. The friendly technician after inspecting the equipment, informed him that the machine was in need of a good cleaning. The tech suggested that someone might try reading the operator’s manual and perform the job themselves, since it would cost $100.00, if he did the work. Pleasantly surprised by his candor, the owner asked, “Does your boss know you are discouraging business?” “Actually, my boss demands we explain this to all our customers. After people try first to fix things themselves, we end-up making much more money on repairs”

The businessman dragged himself home and barely made it to his chair before he dropped exhausted.

His sympathetic wife was right there with a tall cool drink and a comforting word. "My, you look tired," she said. "You must have had a hardday today. What happened to make you so exhausted?"

"It was terrible," her husband said. "The computer crashed and all of us had to do our own thinking."

And perfect for this time of year:
A business owner on his deathbed called his friend and said, “Bill, I want you to promise me that when I die, you will have my remains cremated.”

“And what,” his friend asked, “do you want me to do with your ashes?”

The owner said, “Just put them in an envelope and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service. Write on the envelope, ‘Now, you have everything.’”