So you've got the greatest product or service in the world. Unless people know about it, your business will fizzle. Marketing and advertising is how you spread the word about what your company has to offer, and marketing services are a top priority for any new business. Once you embrace that concept and learn the ABC's of the marketing mix, you'll be laying the foundation for a successful operation. With a successful marketing and advertising plan you will:
- Build awareness about your business through your own efforts or by using marketing firms.
- Create your brand or image using business marketing materials and strategic advertising.
- Develop your customer base for up-selling and cross-selling.
- Use strong marketing and advertising messages that differentiate you from the competition.
- Understand and identify the best marketing mix for your target audience.
Establish a budget for your marketing mix
Typical expenses for a marketing mix include market research, marketing communications, advertising, publicity, events, promotions and marketing services consulting. According to the SBA, established businesses may get by with a marketing and advertising budget of 2 percent of gross sales, but as a start-up, you may need to devote 10 percent or even more of your expected gross sales to marketing and advertising.
Research your market and marketing mix
A first step is to identify your customers - who they are, what their needs are, where they shop, and what they spend. Marketing firms are experts at gathering this data. Professional marketing services will tell you that there are two types of market research: primary and secondary. Primary is research you conduct yourself via focus groups, Internet surveys, consumer polls, and more, often assisted by marketing companies. Secondary is research you buy from marketing firms or that you find in newspaper and magazine articles. When you learn who your customer is, then you can build a marketing mix to reach them.
Choose your marketing mix
Newspaper advertising? Postcard mailings? E-newsletters? Promotional products? Word-of-mouth? Decide on your mix of marketing and advertising that makes the most sense. If you suffer from analysis paralysis, consider professional marketing services to get you on the right path.
"100+ Marketing Ideas" from the SBA. Find ideas for guerilla marketing techniques from expert Jay Conrad Levinson.
Put a marketing and advertising plan on paper
Writing a marketing and advertising plan is key to creating a campaign that meets your goals and stays within budget. Your business marketing plan should include basic information about your business products and services, positioning, your target market, your overall business marketing strategy and your market research. In addition, your plan needs to detail the ways you'll promote your business and how you'll measure the return on investment in marketing and advertising and on your marketing services.
business marketing software at Business.com.
Get professional help from marketing firms
Marketing companies will guide you through the entire process of defining your business marketing strategy, establishing an effective marketing mix and selecting the right marketing services for your budget.
corporate branding at Business.com
- Stay alert to trends that might impact your target market, product or business marketing strategy.
- Hold a monthly business marketing meeting with employees or associates to discuss strategy, status, and to solicit marketing and advertising ideas.
- Keep an eye on how the competition is marketing by monitoring ads in the local media. There are marketing services that can monitor the competition for you and send regular reports.
- Regularly reassess your relationship with your marketing firms to make sure the marketing services you receive meet your ever-changing needs.