Basic Marketing 101 For Small Business

Why is a marketing plan important? First of all a small business is restricted in the amount of money and time you can spend on marketing and growing your business. Each day you have opportunities come your way as a business owner and if you spend your valuable resources on the wrong opportunities, you will soon be out of business.

Keep these points in mind when developing a plan:

Simple is good. You are familiar with McDonald’s. Several years ago they did a survey of their customers and found the decision makers when it came to where the family went to eat was ultimately decided by the children. They simplified their menu, added playgrounds and, of course, the Happy Meal. They figured out who the true decision maker was and catered to that decision maker.

Another example is Dell Computers. They realized that people were confused about what computer they should purchase, so they made a marketing decision to remove the middle man and deal directly with the consumer. Over the years, this plan has changed and Dell continues to grow because they have learned to move with the desires of their ideal customer.

How does this apply to small business? A customer of ours is a small business that markets signs and banners. He is very creative and can develop a design in a very short period of time. When he studied his market, he recognized there was a specific need in this area of the county.

How do you know where to spend your marketing dollars? As a business owner you are faced with so many options. You have television, radio, newspapers, magazines, cold calling, specialty items, internet marketing, networking and the list goes on. It all comes down to – do you know your customer?

  • What are the market segments that fit your area of business?
  • Where are your customers located?
  • Why do they buy?
  • What is the urgency of their purchase? If a hurricane is coming and I need plywood – the urgency is high. On the other hand, if I am shopping for a boat, I will probably spend a lot of time looking and researching and the urgency is low. Can you define the urgency level of your ideal customer?
  • What is important to them and not to you?
  • Where does your ideal customer go to get their information?

Let’s go back to our example of our customer with the sign company. When he looked at his market, he recognized that he lives in an area with a lot of golf courses. Throughout the year, almost every non-profit organization, Chamber of Commerce and service organization runs a golf tournament. One of the primary means of raising funds is to ask businesses to sponsor a hole. In the past, the organization would purchase the signs and in order to save money, for more details please visit:- they were usually very plain signs in black and white. The organization would then need to store the signs until the next year and hope the same organization would sponsor again. 

As I mentioned, this gentleman is very creative and he realized that he could rent the signs to the organizations. He could create a sign with the company’s logo and color scheme for almost the same price as the organizations were purchasing the signs in the past. He had plenty of room to store the signs and often, one company would sponsor a hole in more than one tournament or again the following year.

He segmented his market, he identified where they were located. He took a look at what is important to them. The organizations needed to make as much as possible for their charity and did not have want to store the signs. The businesses wanted good representation of their company. He was able to meet the needs of both groups. Where does the organizer go to get their information? He found they were going to the local golf pro and asking their opinion. So he created a plan to reach the local golf pro.

By knowing the answers to these critical questions, you can determine where your marketing dollars need to be spent. The sign company needs to make personal contact with the golf pro and make sure that his company stays on top of their minds when they are contacted about a arranging a golf tournament.

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