Find Out If Your Strategic Marketing Effort Will Work

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By - 30 June 2009

Strategic planning of small business marketing is commonplace, yet without an organised method for gathering customer data and obtaining feedback, how do you know if it’s working? By following a few simple steps and regularly reviewing your marketing plan through business analysis, you can see what best suits you and your product.

 

It’s an Investment…

 

If you have just taken out an ad in your local paper and are looking for a monetary return the next day, then patience could be a good piece of advice for you to adhere to. Your strategy (in this case an advert) should be viewed similar to a stock market investment – you need to commit to a given timeframe before you can see how it is truly performing. For example, just say that the ad you’ve bought runs for three weeks, and it costs you $200; during that time, one new customer comes to you, he only spends $50.You could see that as a $150 loss right?

 

Wrong! That customer might only spend $50 on his first visit but as long as your product is as good as you say it is – he’ll be back…potentially being a source of several $50 sales. Then he goes to work one day and tells a coworker about your fantastic product – bang, another new customer and another potential $50 sale! You can see how the original three week, $200 outlay could be seen not only as smart strategic planning but also as a healthy little investment portfolio!

 

Whatever efforts you make in small business marketing, commit to them. Payoffs might not be instant but should be aimed at bringing in a constant and growing stream of revenue.

 

Measure Your Success.

 

Keeping records is a major part of solid business analysis; trends, patterns and errors can only be picked up if you can see them! Information such as your customer’s demographic (age, location, race, gender), buying preferences and source (e.g. did they hear about you on radio, through word-of-mouth, Yellow Pages Ad) can all be compiled in a database or similar.

 

You can opt for a simple spreadsheet of your own design or if budget allows go for a customised Customer Relationship Management System. These sorts of systems allow small business marketing and sales data to be extracted and gathered in one location.  The data can then help identify customer segments, find strategies to improve customer retention, identify new target audiences, alter product offerings by understanding customer needs and desires and can even highlight your most profitable customers (you’ll want more of those!).

 

Flexibility is the Key.

 

Is your idea of strategic planning choosing one marketing strategy and sticking to it forever? What if it’s not working? Should you keep all your eggs in one basket and hope for the best? Obviously not, but whether it’s the yearly expense of an insert in a countrywide directory or an ongoing commitment with the local rag – you’d be surprised at how many people only stick with what they know.

 

Look at what works for similar small business marketing approaches, check out the competition and study your favourite suppliers and what attracts you to them. You have to be ready for change – imagine the lost potential revenue of all the stubborn people that refused to join the Internet revolution, believing it to be a flash in the pan phenomenon…do you think they are kicking themselves now? Stay in touch with the latest updates in strategic planning and business analysis and respond to change, this way you’ll stay one step ahead of your competition and won’t risk becoming a victim of a stale and stagnant marketing approach.

About the Author

George Butler
Raj Aryan has varied interest in the field of business. In particular, he has a keen interest in SME's and the challenges these businesses face. He has written numerous articles about small business.