What does it take to market a product or a service? And, what are some effective marketing strategies that’ll ensure your target market finds you? Start by determining what your target audience really wants. What can they afford? And how can you entice them to take a closer look?
Develop compelling marketing strategies and then execute them with great diligence!
Four P’s of marketing strategies
Marketing is the act of promoting what your company does with the intention of selling. Your marketing strategies contain four P’s – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Therefore, COMPLETELY nail down each of the for P’s of marketing before you launch your idea.
Product is determined by much more than just an idea. Your idea must be FULLY evaluated and proven BEFORE you try to turn it into reality. So, put great deal of research and calculation into it to fix upon the total cost and market value of your product.
The total cost to make your product and the market value, in turn, determine the price that you’ll ask for your product. Also, consider your competition. For example, what is their pricing structure? Will you be priced competitively or or will your high quality and uniqueness make you stand above your competition? Therefore, after you answer these questions correctly, price your products accordingly.
The place is simply where your customers reside. It reveals where they’re located. Be sure to ask if you need to physically be there. Then, find out what web sites they frequent. And, determine what they search for online. The point of this is to help them find you easily.
Plan your promotional strategies based on your industry and your target market. What entices your target audience? After you reveal the answer, promote your product effectively and they’ll come running to you with their money in hand. Therefore, promotion is the marketing strategy that will lure them in.
Easy enough so far? Let’s break down your marketing strategies and look at how to develop them effectively. Be prepared! A venture of this magnitude requires much due-diligence.
Your marketing strategies must include market research
Understand what your target audience finds important and appealing. This is usually an underestimated hurdle. Also, know what they can afford or may be willing to sacrifice for. This is a science in itself. Serious market research is a necessary prerequisite. And, it’s an on-going process that takes place before, during, and after your product launches.
One of my marketing strategies is to ask you if you’ll please share this post so those with entrepreneurial tendencies can find it and check it out.
Please click on at least one…
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Trust the data
What YOU think your target audience wants may not actually be the case. Unless you’re an extraordinary visionary like Elon Musk, or the late Steve Jobs, don’t be stubborn about this. So, do your market research and TRUST the data, even if it goes against your thinking. This data will help you mitigate the risk and move the odds in your favor. Therefore, it’ll allow you to develop very effective marketing strategies.
Satisfy a need
One very rewarding obligation when executing your marketing strategies is satisfying a need within your target audience. This may entail solving a problem or filling a market niche that will benefit them. And, usually the problem or need already exists. Also, they may or may not even realize the need exists. Therefore, you can reveal it to them.
CREATE a need. While performing your market research, develop marketing strategies that will more accurately target those needs and reveal where they CAN be created. Then, create the best ways to satisfy them.
Market research tools
To start out, you need the right ideas. You can find some great tools to help with this. For example, use the Business Idea Center of Entrepreneur magazine web site. There, pick an industry. Now, you can surf into product idea paradise.
Once your ideas are established, put them to the test. This is where the many market research tools will shed some light. These tools will gauge the potential for success of your marketing strategies.
Local economic indicators
The SBA (Small Business Administration) provides many market research tools that can go into your marketing strategies. These tools how you local economic indicators that are available for your geographic area of interest. And, they include income and employment statistics along with other statistics to help you narrow down your target market.
Visit the Bureau of Economic Analysis to find a barrage of economic indicators that will provide key data about the region you wish to do business in. Or, use this to find a good target region. Also, there’s a wealth of other tools and resources available to you. These tools include business training, financial support, and a broad network of affiliates ready to help you develop your marketing strategies.
Hit the pavement and get your hands dirty
Another approach is to just get out there and execute your marketing strategies. Discover where your demographic lives, works, shops, and plays. To help you, plenty of resources provide this data already. But, it’s always a good idea to just hit the pavement and hustle. Therefore, adding this approach to your marketing strategies will provide a MUCH deeper understanding of your demographic.
Market research techniques
There are two specific approaches to market research. Your marketing strategies must ALWAYS start with at least one of these techniques.
Qualitative research for market studies – focus groups
To start out, read the Guidelines for Conducting a Focus Group published at Duke University, which shows a great approach to using focus groups as part of your marketing strategies. The guidelines expressed in the publication actually argue against doing surveys, which I cover next. But, don’t let that stop you. Keep in mind, surveys DO provide very good primary data as well. Therefore, don’t limit your marketing strategies.
Market research isn’t an exact science. So, prepare a good market test study plan that includes one or both types of market studies. Then, get out there and make it happen. Knowing how your target audience reacts to your products will prevent you from launching something they just don’t want.
Quantitative research for market studies – surveys
In order to effectively survey your target audience to get their opinions about your product, take the time and write up a thorough questionnaire. This must target every aspect of the product idea that you want to present. So, carefully think of key questions to ask. Then, formulate the questions in a way that invokes an honest, unbiased response. Again, there are many resources available online showing how to do this effectively. Therefore, you’ll be able to develop your idea and then develop your marketing strategies around it.
There are many ways to get your survey out there to the public. Mail and email are effective examples. Remember, don’t restrict yourself to just email. It limits your exposure to less than half of the population, statistically. To do this online, you’ll want to check out sites like Survey Monkey. These sites will help you set up your survey and post your survey online. Here is a nice link on Survey Monkey which provides some very helpful information on how to survey effectively.
Get a good sample size
Promoting your survey is the next step. Try something creative. Set up a small table in a public place and erect a sign. It may state something like: “Get $5 to fill out a survey,” for example. And, make sure you offer a free gift with a flyer showing where to fill out your survey online. Get a good sample size, like 100 people or more. And, do this at least twice using a different location on a different day. Performing this multiple times at multiple locations provides you with good data correlation when performing the analysis.
Market research data collection
Data collection is the process of gathering your data derived from the quantitative and qualitative research that you’ve performed. Ensure that your findings are valid and accurate since this data will be analyzed and interpreted to determine your next course of action. This will determine the direction you’ll take.
Your decisions will be based on the data. Having incorrect market research data is much worse than having no data at all. This can cost your business its potential market position. Or worse, this can cause your business to fail.
Capture your data
Develop a formal process to capture and secure your market research data for safe keeping. Using a well-crafted spreadsheet always works well. But, there are other tools you can use for this too. Just make sure you have a table or matrix created ahead of time that will provide a location to insert each data point in the correct category. And the categories are defined by the survey or focus group data points.
Create a template
Put real thought into the template you create to house your market research data. It needs to be understandable. And, clearly know where each data point will be placed.
Weeks may go by between data entries. Therefore, it must make sense.
You don’t want to spend time trying to figure out what you meant by this or that, weeks after entering the data. Also, others may need to enter data into your template too. So, please keep that in mind. This will help ensure data validity. It’s important to know that each data point was entered into the correct category.
Put all of the right KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) into your market research outline. These indicators will depend on what’s important to your product or service. Therefore, KPIs determine the type of questions you ask and the type of data points you’ll collect.
It’s up to you
Now, perform the market research using the tools and techniques stated earlier. Carefully collect and then store the data securely. Then, prepare yourself for the data analysis and interpretation stages. That will require much thought, vision, and some math.
Market research data analysis
After you’ve collected the market research data, it’s time to really get to work. As I stated earlier, market research is not an exact science. So, much thought must go into this stage of the operation. Prepare yourself for some serious math. Remember, you need your marketing strategies to be effective. Therefore, don’t miss anything.
Most calculations can be performed in spreadsheet formulas. So, please don’t get intimidated by them. The data analysis stage can be fairly complex and time consuming. Therefore, just attack it in stages.
Use a strategy containing specific goals that you set. This effort will have the greatest impact on your marketing strategies for your product or service.
Organize your data very well. Then, reduce it down into clusters using probability distributions. This allows you to use the pertinent, more consistent data points. Then, put the data into a matrix that reveals the frequency distributions.
Calculate the percentage of time each data point falls into a particular data cluster. And, always keep the data raw and organized in a table, for easier management. Once these data clusters come to light, the data will start to tell a story about what your target audience cares about. Now, you can begin the mental process of interpreting the data. Just be careful not to start interpreting the data until you fully understand the key points that I’ll show you later.
Use resources for data analysis to help you deal with all of the data you have collected. About Money is a nice web site providing good guidance in many areas of running a business. Here’s a link to a specific page that really details the processes I’ve described. And, another resource is Market Site, which provides software tools for performing statistical analysis on survey results data. This has a free trial version.
Display your data in a concise and actionable way. Much consideration needs to go into intuitive data formulation. Therefore, display your data in using charts and graphs. To help, here’s a link to a page on StatSoft that provides details about the many ways to display your data. They provide many solutions that can help you with your data.
Do the work
The results from this analysis will really help you with the decisions you make about your marketing strategies. Also, your marketing efforts will be determined by this. Lack of attention in the area of marketing data analysis is one big reason why most businesses fail. It’s not the difficulty of it, it’s the energy most people are not willing to put into it. Do the work as best you can. If you do, you’ll increase your odds of success, SUBSTANTIALLY!
Market research data interpretation
Once the data has been laid out and analyzed, interpret the results. Really consider what your target audience has to say about your idea. This needs to be fully understood prior to tapping into your personal vision. So, think it through. Then, try to imagine the future of your product while always considering the statistical data first and foremost.
What the data is telling you
Evaluate and prioritize the KPIs that you used in the market research data collection stage. Next, compare how each data point fits into your goals for each indicator. This needs to be laid out in a critical manner.
Put a strategy in place and attack the data from all angles. Fully understand what the data is telling you. Finally, you’ll realize what your target audience really thinks of your idea. Therefore, develop a good understanding of how the data relates to your product so you can create the BEST marketing strategies.
Be objective in your approach to interpreting the data. Also, avoid statistical bias as you proceed with this process. This type of selective thinking can cause statistical errors. And, It can cause you to ignore information that refutes how you think it should be. Therefore, be unbiased and use an independent resource to perform the data interpretation in parallel in order to confirm your findings.
The point is, you need to know exactly what your target audience thinks, whether you like it or not. You must completely ignore what YOU think they want. YOUR feelings on this mustn’t distort your perspective.
Now make it marketable
Now that you understand what your target audience thinks about your product or service, make any necessary adjustments to it for better marketability. Make your idea marketable. Then, your advertising will be much more effective.
Marketing strategies include advertising strategies
Prior to starting an advertising campaign, you need to be ready to sell. Properly train and motivate your sales people about what you’re offering. Maintaining educated and excited sales staff who know how to close deals effectively is like having a good hook and net for the customers who’re lured in by your advertising. Now you can reel them in.
Reach and persuade your customers
In order to know what should go into your advertising content, start with a good strategy. This is a plan to reach and then persuade customers to inquire about your product or service. Obviously, you must provide them with something that represents what you’ve advertised. Thererfore, develop a game plan that really shows how the product or service stands out above the competition.
Establish a strong positioning statement about your product or service. This statement is of the utmost importance. And, it should shed light on the unique value your product or service offers. What benefits will you bring your customers? Also, it’ll define the target demographic.
The product or service category must be clearly defined by your positioning statement. So, make sure you prevent any confusion about what you’re selling. In your positioning statement, prove to your audience that they can trust you. Therefore, the final statements you develop that will go into your marketing strategies must be short, concise, and deliver HIGH IMPACT.
There’s one key difference between a positioning statement and a tagline. Taglines are outward facing. They’re simple, compelling statements viewed by the customer.
Your positioning statement is internal, and will be used to define all advertising messages. You can use your positioning statement to test all of your new ideas. Therefore, ensure that the two match up with what you are really trying to say.
A fun example of tagline is from Harley Davidson:
The only motorcycle manufacturer that makes big, loud motorcycles for macho guys (and “macho wannabes”) mostly in the United States who want to join a gang of cowboys in an era of decreasing personal freedom.
That is a clearly defined identity for sure!
American by birth. Rebel by choice.
This fits well and sounds compelling to their target demographic, right?
Here is a simple template you can use to set up your own positioning statement:
- For (target customer)
- Who (statement of need or opportunity)
- (Product name) is a (product category)
- That (statement of key benefit)
- Unlike (competing alternative)
- (Product name)(statement of primary differentiation)
Once you have this statement completed, allow it to fully sink in, so it becomes instinct. That way, you’ll always be able to answer correctly when you question any new idea. Therefore, consider whether it seems to fit into the identity of your company or product line.
More about advertising
There’s no need discuss all of the many forms of advertising out there. You see it all around you, on the streets, on television, and online. The forms of advertising you choose will be based on your industry and what you can afford. Which form of advertising will be most effective for your marketing strategies? Choose the variety which provides the best bang-for-the-buck. And, be sure to start small so you can optimize your ads affordably. Optimization is one of the best marketing strategies.
One defining factor used to determine your advertising budget is the cost of customer acquisition. This number is derived from a simple equation: Money spent to bring them in divided by the number of customers you receive. This equation gets more complex when you add customer loyalty. But, those factors lower the cost of customer acquisition. Your marketing strategies must consider the cost of customer acquisition and loyal customers cost much less to bring back in.
Be prepared to SELL before executing your marketing strategies
Before you advertise, be fully prepared to sell. You and your sales staff must truly understand your product or service and be ready to deal with the public when they inquire about it. Ineffective answers to inquiries after advertising simply wastes the time, effort, and money that went into finding customers in the first place. After you put sales people in place that can really sell and close deals effectively, you’ll be ready to advertise your products or services.
Create a desire
A successful advertisement will compel your target audience by creating a desire and revealing a nice way to satisfy that desire. Appeal is very important but can be very difficult to determine. Usually, ads, after much evaluation and improvement, need to be tested. Good statistics must be kept with every ad design iteration and then compared to the previous version.
This part of your marketing strategies is very involved. But, it WILL allow you to tailor your advertisements for your target audience to maximize appeal. So, set a tone that caters to your customer’s wants and needs. It must shape their associations, feelings, perceptions and attitudes about your brand. That is the STRATEGIC part of your marketing strategies.
Make sure you’re seen multiple times in order to gain trust from target audience. It’s human nature for people to slowly gain trust in something or someone simply by having reoccurring contact. The first time they see your ad, they’ll probably disregard it. They don’t know who you are yet.
After seeing an ad from you multiple times, if they have an interest, their confidence will really build. They may finally inquire about your product. Knowing this, just be patient. Repeat your ad campaign over and over until you start seeing results. After that, like magic, your phone will really start ringing off-the-hook. And, your inbox will fill with inquiries.
As I stated before, there are many forms of advertising out there to put into your marketing strategies. Find the one that will be most effective for each dollar you spend executing your marketing strategies.
Now, get out there EXECUTE your well-crafted marketing strategies!
Thank you for reading:
Effective Marketing Strategies
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