If you are considering conducting a marketing campaign for your business, where do you start in the planning? The first step is to audit what you are currently doing internally in terms of marketing. The first section here, Internal Audit can be broken down into the following categories:
What segment of the market are you targeting? This can be broken down into geographic region – Galway city, city and county, Connacht, nationally or internationally, by gender, by socio-economic group, etc. Your marketing should only target your potential customers, targeting anyone else is a waste of resources. Knowing who your customers are is a vital first step in actually securing them as customers. Once you have them identified you need to conduct a SWOT analysis on your business.
This analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the business. These are internal factors such as product quality, customer service, staff, etc. Opportunities and threats are external to the business such as potential new markets, new technology which will make delivery of your service more cost effective etc. It is important to be honest when reviewing your SWOT. In my experience owners/managers of companies tend to overstate their strengths and opportunities while ignoring their weaknesses and threats. This does not do you any favours because you are only fooling yourself. A frank and honest approach will build your marketing plan on a solid foundation.
Once you have confirmed who your market is you need to decide how you are going to target them and with what offering. What you are offering them beyond the product or service itself you’ll know from your SWOT. For example, you might be selling a car, but beyond that you are selling reliability, fuel efficiency, value for money, extensive guarantee, after sales service etc. Identify what your market is really buying, and then sell it to them.
Now you need to review your marketing mix. This is one of the core elements of marketing. It includes:
Product (Service ): What are you offering the customer and in what formats? To continue with the car example, most brands have ranges – small cars, saloons, estates, luxury – each of which targets a different segment in the car market. These are sold on different basis, the small car on price and efficiency, the luxury car on comfort and image. The marketing has to reflect these features.
Price: What is your pricing strategy? How does your pricing compare to that of your competitors? To a certain extent this will be dictated by your product and your market segment, for example all hotels offer accommodation, but the pricing strategy of a one star will be very different to that of a five star. The price is led by the quality of the rooms, features of the hotel, location, season and so on.
Distribution: How are you getting your product to your customer? The main offering of a restaurant will be a sit down experience which is then their main method of distribution. The restaurant can add to this by also offering take away. Take away pricing strategy may offer a reduced rate as the customer is not taking up space or serving time and so is a reduced cost. A phone in delivery service can be offered with food price reduced, but a delivery charge. The restaurant could also offer online ordering, which would be a forth distribution channel.
Promotion: Review how you are currently promoting your business. This includes advertising, direct marketing, promotions, PR, website etc. How much are you spending on each of these and how much return are they generating. In general you need all the marketing tools available to you for a broad marketing campaign, but within markets some elements work better than others. You need to know which is which so you can focus your budget where it is generating the best return.
For the month of February, Micromarketing is offering free Internal Marketing Audits. If you would like to avail of this offer you can call 091 539787 or email [email protected]
In next months article, I’ll look at the elements of the External Marketing Audit