Know Your Market
Unfortunately many marketing channels will happily take your money even if they know, your campaign will fail to deliver the result you are seeking. Whilst it is convenient to blame the channel and possibly their ethics, you as the advertiser needs to take some responsibility. Crucially before undertaking any marketing, you, need to establish what the goals of the campaign are and who are likely to need your products or services.
Crucially, you need to know your market, Who is buying and Who could buy as well as the reasons some people that should be buying, don’t!
The more information you feed an agency, the more likely your campaign will succeed. Market research companies and consultants as well as the better marketing agencies can all assist, but as the driver of the business, your input is vital.
When it comes to marketing your business, your market can be roughly categorised in two;
- The market you know, where your existing customers are, sometimes referred to as the “Comfort Zone”
- The markets you don’t know so much about, which I’ll refer to as the “Expansion Zone”
The latter is where the real growth opportunity could be but is also where the most risk lies.
Setting Your Goals and Measuring Them
The days of spending money without measuring a marketing campaigns success are long gone, or should be. Compared to traditional tools, with digital marketing you can test different tools, measure success and adapt as needed. Different tools suit different needs, search marketing may be the right tool for one product but for something else, where you need to raise awareness proactively, email for example may be the better option. Click here to see our marketing flavours article.
When briefing an agency, make clear your expectations and ensure you understand and agree with the method of measurement. Be though, realistic, even the best marketers have to be.
This includes your existing customers and prospects with a similar profile, i.e. in the same sector or location etc. Most businessmen are fairly confident here. So much so, that many never venture beyond and, as a consequence, tend to “tick along” with modest or no growth.
Comfort Zone customers are the “cash cows” of many businesses providing stability so should be looked after. Growth can be generated here by adding additional relevant services. One word of warning, take the time to analyse profitability at customer level, you may get some surprises.
The Expansion Zone
If growth opportunities in your comfort zone are limited, you need to look outside. This can be in new areas (such as opening a new shop, or by offering on-line sales) or it can be by offering products or services in other market sectors.
Expanding on the second point, this could be a new offering which you have developed for new markets, or, by using (possibly with some modification) existing products. For example, a software company I once worked with, used their same basic database expertise in several different markets, ranging from pre-press to quality control management systems.
Before investment is made, homework must be done;
- How big is the market
- What are the key needs
- How can they be reached
- Are your products competitive
- Do they have the strengths to beat established players
- What is the cost of entry (training, recruitment etc.)
If time is limited, it can be worth seeking help from experts in the area your looking to expand into. Local networking groups and business associations are good place to look. Professional bodies can also guide you.