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Marketing Basics

Disclaimer: Although the information and recommendations provided in our site are presented in good faith and believed to be correct, e-Clarity LLC, makes no representations or warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of the information. In all cases we urge you to seek professional advice.

Once you have set up a business that is capable of delivering the services it promises and managing the resources and capital so that you can make a profit, the most urgent business need will be to find, service and keep customers. Here is a general outline of a marketing plan:

  • Begin with market analysis and strategic planning: who is your target market and how will you communicate to them?

  • Identify the best way to brand your services and differentiate yourself from the competition: What makes you better?

  • Find ways to reach your target market and convince them that you have the answer to their needs. What does the customer want?

  • Find the opportunities where your services can be sold. How will you convince them to buy your product?

  • Qualify your prospects to insure you are selling to the right customer base. Who is your ideal customer?

  • Make proposals, presentations and negotiations designed to win contracts and sell services. How do you get to the right people with the right proposition?

  • Carry out and measure your performance, and adjust accordingly. Are you doing what you say you will?

Marketing should be a priority. This might include creating brochures and business cards, attending networking events, writing proposals, and finding opportunities to obtain contracts and to submit proposals. Whatever steps you have to take to conduct marketing, it should be a priority all the time.

Examine how you are spending your hours and create time on a consistent basis for marketing activities. Everywhere you can, cut wasted time and set your schedule to the task of generating business. Time management is essential to focusing your efforts on the task of marketing. So is clearly identifying goals and objectives and finding ways to energize your positive actions towards reaching your goals.

Here is a five point marketing plan:

  1. Create a situational analysis. This should include a description of your service offerings, the advantages and disadvantages you are facing in your marketing effort, and what challenges your competitors are posing. The analysis should also include the outside forces that can affect your business in the next year.
     

  2. Create a simple description of your target audience. This involves the demographics and psychographics of your ideal customers.
     

  3. Identify your marketing goals for the next twelve months. Specify numbers, time periods, and how you will measure results. Answer the questions of how much income you want to generate and how many sales will you have to complete to achieve this income objective.
     

  4. Specify the strategies and tactics that you will use to reach your goals. Give an overview of each step you must take to attain your marketing objectives. For example, describe how you will advertise to your ideal customer, what steps you will take to measure the results, and how you will alter your plan if the strategy does not work. This section should contain such things as advertising, public relations, direct mail, road shows, and any other channels you will use to promote sales.
     

  5. The last section should include a budget of costs related to all activities you have planned. This should be adjusted as you see what works and what is not effective.

This plan should be measured and changed as the realities of the marketplace show you what needs to be adjusted. The plan works best as an evolving document, changing as events unfold.

Resources

Over one hundred marketing tips from Small Business Administration

Small Business Administration preparing a marketing plan

Marketing psychological secrets of how the brain works from Psychotactics

Marketing your product from CCH Business Owner's Toolkit

Seven rules for legal advertising from Nolo Law

Business town developing a marketing plan

Internet Business Marketing from Cumbrowski

7 Internet Marketing Mistakes That Are Destroying Your Business by Danex

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