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Sales, Marketing & Advertising - Overview

The importance of having the right sales and marketing strategy cannot be over emphasised. You may offer the best products or services but if no one knows about them then your business is unlikely to succeed!

The focus of a good marketing strategy should be making sure that your products and services meet customer needs. Your marketing strategy should identify and then communicate the benefits of your business offering to your target market.

When you have implemented your marketing strategy you need to monitor it's effectiveness and adapt it as necessary.

A successful marketing strategy will look at both your existing customers and also potential new customers and categorise them into particular groups characterised by their needs. Identifying these groups and their needs means you can more sucessfully target your marketing efforts. As an example, if a particular group of customers is looking for price first and foremost, then any marketing activity aimed at them should draw attention to the low prices that  you can provide.

Having identified your customer groups you can then decide on the best marketing activity to ensure your target market know about the products or services you offer and why they meet their needs.

This could be achieved through various forms of advertising, exhibitions, public relations initiatives, Internet activity and by creating an effective "point of sale" strategy if you rely on others to actually sell your products. Limit your activities to those methods you think will work best and avoid spreading your budget too thinly.

It is very important to continuously monitor and evaluate how effective your strategy has been. Marketing expenditure should be regarded as an investment and if you get it right it the cost will be more than offset by the revenues generated. Get it wrong and it is simply a drain on your business finances. By reviewing the effectiveness of your strategy you can modify and refine it so that it is more effective going forward.  One easy way to determine how effective your marketing is to ask each new customer how they heard about your business.

Once you have identified your marketing strategy you need to develop a marketing plan. The plan should be constantly reviewed so it can respond quickly to changes in customer needs and attitudes in your industry, and in the broader economic climate. The cost of your marketing plan need to be included within your business plan.

 

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