Low cost marketing

What’s marketing a business all about?
I was talking to a friend of mine recently, Len Watterson – who is an amazing piano tuner in Melbourne, but is completely lost when it comes to marketing himself. He asked me, what’s marketing all about? There’s no doubt about it, marketing is a popular buzzword for people in business. As a business owner you know you should be doing it, but do you really understand what marketing is? And importantly, how can you go about it without it costing you a fortune?

Here’s some advice to get you thinking. Once you’ve worked out your customer needs and wants you can be very, very specific and very targeted about what your marketing is.
This is where I tell people to think there are three phases to marketing – review, analysis and planning.

*Can you tell me more about the review phase? *
This is the most important phase. This is where you have to look at yourself, if you are the owner or the person running the business. In most cases the onus for running and marketing that business comes back to you. What skills do you have?
What are you really good at? What are you not so good at?
Then you have to look at the business itself. You’ve got to do a SWOT analysis on you and your business.

What’s a SWOT?
You can do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) where you look at your business system, your client base and your competitors. Think about all the aspects of your business.

OK, so that’s the review phase, what’s the next phase?
The Analysis Phase is the most complicated part. Here, you gather all the information found during the review, put it up on flip charts or post it notes, stick it around the room and start to ask:
o Where is the business going?
o Who are the target markets?
o Which are the most profitable, easiest to get and most desirable markets? Once you’ve done that, you can say,
o These are my targets.
o What sort of product development do I need to do?
o What sort of marketing should I be doing?

So you start to analyse where the business growth is going to come from.

So what’s involved in the planning phase?
That’s the ‘do-it’ phase. Here you need to look at putting financial goals on each of your marketing strategies. You may have three or four target market segments you’re going after. You may say: “Ok I want five new clients from this market segment who’ll average about $10,000 each. That may mean we have $50,000 to bring in from that area.”
Next you work out the strategies of what we’re actually going to do.
So the planning process is the fun part, actually going out there and doing it. It’s things such as deciding to take an ad. A lot of people decide to take an ad at the start of the process but they’re not really sure who they’re targeting. You can save money when you start to be very focused on your target market and what business you want.

I don’t have much money to spend so do you have any tips?
Most businesses don’t have unlimited resources (time, money and energy) to spend on marketing. Brand new businesses have heaps of time and energy but very little money. More established businesses probably have more money but time and energy is more limited.
Experts say you should put a market boundary or artificial boundary around your business to show where you’re going to spend the majority of your time, energy and money.

Those boundaries can be:
o a geographical area
o an industrial boundary
o an age boundary
o a sex boundary
o an attitudinal boundary.

For example, if you’re selling a product to an environmentally aware group, you might have an environmentally aware boundary. It’s a way of making sure you get the most out of your marketing time, money and energy.

A lot of businesses tend to think they must be all things to all people. Focus on specific market segments or specific groups of clients and then target marketing specifically to them. Most businesses have one message, put it out to everybody and then leave it to the client to work out what’s in it for them. If you have target market segments with three or four types of clients you’re after you’d then tailor each of your marketing messages and each of your marketing strategies to suit those particular clients. That works better for small business operators than this “oh yes I must have all the business.”
Most of us have some clients we like better than others. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more of those and less of the ones you don’t like.

Is marketing a business expensive?
Not if you work out your customers needs and wants. Look at tight market segments and think of what you can do differently to attract a large number of the people in this group. Focus your advertising and marketing to your target market and you can save money.
Effective marketing should put financial goals on each marketing strategy.
Marketing overkill will happen if you don’t tailor your strategies to suit your specific target market. You’re wasting time and money on marketing to someone who isn’t specifically suited to your product.
Use marketing boundaries to decide how to divide your resources. This is an effective way to monitor and make sure you get the best out of your marketing money, time and energy.

If you’re needing help and want to hire a marketing agency, I’ve worked with Chatterbox Marketing Agency in Melbourne and they are great people that get results through a targeted and strategic approach.

Author: Biz Think Tank

BizThinkTank is a dedicated small business website, with a wealth of regularly updated tips and articles. Whether you’re looking to start a business or grow your business, you’ll find a wealth of handy advice and information.

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