Regardless of politics or policies, you must start thinking about growing your business in 2013
As I look around the world of business, I see an environment that has pushed the pause button. After a divisive and exhausting election season, it is no wonder that American business owners and executives seem to be in a holding pattern. The country spent many tiring months debating its future direction, and now we have emerged from that electoral fight and appear to be headed straight off the fiscal cliff. It is enough to make anyone want to buckle their metaphorical seatbelts and prepare for a bumpy ride.
But taking a wait-and-see attitude toward future economic developments will only put your business further behind in 2013, whichever way the political and economic winds blow. Instead, businesses should be harnessing the power of strategic marketing planning to better prepare for a successful year to come.
Tap the power of strategic marketing planning
Most of us remember the “Four Ps of Marketing” that we learned way back in Marketing 101: Price, Product, Promotion, and Placement. If you want to make improvements in your business, we learned, you make changes in one or more of these areas until you get the right mix for your market.
The advice is good, but it is incomplete. To really succeed in a business climate that is buffeted by change daily, you need to understand two more Ps: Psychographics and Purchase Behavior. While the original “Four Ps” focus on how the business can manipulate its presentation of the product, they leave out the role of the customer. Adding these new Ps gives us a much more complete picture of the climate our businesses operate in.
Unlike demographics which give us the objective facts and figures that describe our customers (e.g. age, income, gender) and tell us who can afford our products, psychographics tell us who has the willingness to buy – among all of our possible consumers, who is the most likely to purchase our item, and what lifestyle clues they give us that tell us how to reach them. Purchase behavior tells us more about what consumer behaviors we need to target to inspire those with the money and willingness to buy to think about and purchase our products.
Understanding and applying the data on psychographics and purchase behavior requires more than a basic understanding of marketing theory; it requires decades of experience. Success requires research – you need to gather facts and figures in order to create winning strategies. And they need to be the right facts: accurate, reliable, dependable and interpreted accurately for your product and your brand. That’s where Unity Marketing comes in.
A strategic marketing plan will help you assess your current position in the market and create competitive strategies to build your market share
Too many companies are approaching the new consumer environment with the same old strategic marketing plan in place. But the consumer market is very different today than it was two years, five years, or ten years ago. Brands need a plan that is designed for today’s environment and today’s customer: one who is younger and who behaves differently than those from prior generations.
Through Unity Marketing, I offer a consulting service that leverages the experience we have working with big companies and major brands toward helping small and mid-sized businesses grow. I will work personally with you to research your business, explore opportunities and develop a strategic marketing plan customized to your business.
To learn more about the strategic planning process, I have written a white paper, entitled “What, So What, Now What – You’ve Built It, But Will the Customers Come,” that describes the five-step process for creating your own strategic marketing plan. The steps are:
1. Conduct a Needs Analysis – Define your own business objectives, challenges and issues. Focus on the end goal of the marketing plan to see where you ultimately need to go.
2. Conduct a Marketing Audit – This is the research phase of the planning process where you study your existing marketing programs, successes and failures; study results with key partners, staff members, sales reps, media planners, etc.; evaluate marketing and promotional materials, websites, product positioning, pricing, distribution models, etc.; evaluate competitors; investigate target market, customer profiles, etc.
3. Review Your Marketing Report Card – Review the results of the marketing audit objectively and critically. Build a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis that clearly lays out the current environment for your product service.
4. Create a Strategic Marketing Plan – With all inputs from the previous phases, develop a strategic marketing plan detailing key strategies for the Four Ps – plus those critical extra two — that will help you connect and build market share with your target customer market.
5. Build in On-going Feedback – And the final critical step is to create milestones and guidepost along the way to measure success, evaluate results, and adjust course as needed.
If you’d like to learn more about strategic marketing planning, download the “What, So What, Now What” white paper by clicking here or call me at Unity Marketing 717.336.1600 or write at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your marketing challenges.