This is part three of a five part series on the DIY business review, asking yourself the tough questions that has been put together for you by Penelope Herbert. During difficult economic times it is very important to make sure that you are operating at the top of your game and questions like this will help you stay there.
1. What are your current marketing objectives?
Your marketing objectives may be varied but your marketing planning must be aligned. This means, that if you have diverse objectives, you may require different marketing strategies to suit. What are you current marketing objectives?
Do you want to be a market-share leader? To do this, you will either have to get a bigger slice of a developing market OR take market share from a competitor. Depending on your business, industry and resources, are you able to take market share from a competitor? Are they better resourced than you? Large companies can set low prices and work on volume sales to maintain their position as a market leader. Can you compete?
Do you want to be a product-quality leader? This is usually a high-cost objective unless you have a particularly niche product. If you can charge a high price to cover the high quality and R&D then this may be a good objective for you.
Do you just want to survive? This can be a valid objective if you are having difficulties due to changing consumer wants, heavy competition or too much capacity. If profits are less important than survival you may choose to cut the price of your product or service. Assuming you can cover fixed and variable costs, you may be able to survive until things get better.
Do you want immediate profit maximisation? Maybe you are looking for a short run and high returns. This objective requires you to estimate what demand and costs will be at different price points and thegn choose the price for the greatest return on investment, cashflow or profit.
Do you have another objective? Do you need to attract or retain loyal customers? Do you need to promote one product or service over another? Are you wanting to set your price below that of a competitor?
Other marketing objectives could be expressed as percentages and financial goals. For example,
“I want a 25% increase in market share / customers within 12 months” or
“I want an increase in turnover of $50,000 within 6 months”
2. What do you see as your key marketing capabilities?
Consider what you have or can develop as marketing assets. Your ‘marketing capabilities’ may include your own skills, ability to speak publicly or run seminars, graphic design abilities, etc. And also marketing collateral – website, pull-up banners, brochures, branded clothing & vehicles, etc.
3. This question relates to your corporate identity.
a) What do you think is your current level of brand awareness?
This includes your visual brand and what people think of your brand. You may be a small fish in a big pond or surrounded by competitor piranhas in a huge lake.
b) Are you happy with your current branding?
Being ‘happy’ with your brand is different from how ‘aware’ your target market is of your brand.
4. What do you think is your current business image?
There’s corporate image and then there’s corporate identity. Corporate image is what people think of you and corporate identity is how people view you visually. For example, the ‘Golden Arches’ is representative of McDonald’s identity, but their image is what people think of their food.
5. How have you attracted business previously?
Some tactics may include; word-of-mouth, mail box drop, database management, advertising, networking, seminar, board room lunch, trade show participation, in-store promotion, sales incentive, blog, etc.
6. Which techniques have been the most effective?
If you can’t measure the effectiveness, or otherwise, of your marketing activities then you can’t manage them. It is imperative you are able to measure activities and that you know which vehicles are the most successful, and unsuccessful, for your business.
7. What would you like marketing to achieve for your business?
You may answer this question differently depending on your objectives. Be realistic about what marketing can achieve and don’t confuse marketing with advertising. Advertising is simply a tactic of marketing. Typical desires will be increased customers, greater market share, increased turnover, higher profit margins, etc. But remember that your marketing is only as good as the product or service, the offering, the implementation, the expectation of the customers and your ability at attract the right target audience.
Marketing is not an exact science. It’s fluid, open to scrutiny and must be constantly monitored and adjusted. But it’s worth it!
Next week we will look at ‘The Competition’
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About the Author: Penelope Herbert was born in New Zealand, lives in Australia and has worked in Japan, Malaysia and the USA. She trained as a Film Editor/Director in New Zealand before embarking upon various media, marketing and public relations roles overseas. Her time as Editorial Director for a national fashion and lifestyle magazine gave her a passion for print and the impetus to open a marketing & public relations agency, Hot Pepper, in 2002. For seven years she has been a Contributing Editor to ‘in-business’ magazine specializing in women in business and the issues & challenges of small business owners.
A sought after public speaker and seminar presenter, Penelope has authored two comprehensive workbooks based on her popular workshop series and her work with small business owners & corporate clients. She also recently finished an eight-week television segment based on her co-authored book, Underdog Marketing, to be released in March 2009. The book is a complement to the state-of-the-art, skills development, 12-step mentored marketing platform www.UnderdogMarketingChallenge.com which features video, podcasts, structured courses, interactive features and a members forum. Penelope lives in Adelaide with her partner, Terry Reeves (himself a marketing guru so good for bouncing off) and their gorgeous Hungarian Viszla dog, Shelby.