Posts Tagged ‘research’

Marketing Strategies’ Success is in Planning and Measuring

Implementing marketing strategies is like learning to walk
If we never learned to fail, we’d be on knee pads instead of in shoes. Similarly, using marketing strategies is like learning to walk. It’s something that has to be learned. Sometimes you can kiss the sky for the quick impact your latest marketing mix has on your bottom line. Other times, nothing apparent happens and you wonder in despair if you’re wasting your time. You’re not alone.

A common mistake in small business marketing
Measuring traditional marketing strategies isn’t always easy. Let’s use an example. Say you’re a small furniture dealer and you want to boost your sales so you place an ad in the local paper to get customers in the door. That’s great. Nothing wrong there but short of questioning each visitor, how would you know what brought them to your store? Maybe a couple bring in the ad and a few more have come from the coffee shop and decided to browse and others are specifically looking for antique furniture. How successful was your newspaper ad? Was it worth the cost? The cycle is incomplete.

Pre-planning the marketing mix to measure success
What if you did a little basic market research and found out where furniture collectors like to browse? Being collectors, this group would naturally be sought for general furniture advice by peers. What if you went to their browsing grounds, approached them and got a special interest group going once a month and invited these “experts” for discussions, tea & cake? Not only would you gain insight into what they’d like to see in your store (further valuable market research) but if you offered two pieces of cake to any who refer shoppers to you, they’d get you some good leads.

Assuming the cake’s really very good, you have a captive audience and one that’s likely to develop some loyalty to your shop (successful marketing strategies are coupled with relationship-building). We know how word-of-mouth spreads and soon you have quality leads walking into your shop – shoppers who are seriously looking to purchase – and you know how they got there because cake-loving expert, Bob, made sure the shopper tells you he referred them. Your bottom line improves. Bob grows a little thicker around the middle. Browsers see how busy and successful your shop is and they tell friends… See how it works? Then measure your referral sales to the cost of the cake & monthly meetings to evaluate the effort.

Top rules for Marketing strategies:
1. Know who your market is (e.g. serious furniture shoppers)
2. Use a creative approach that’ll attract attention (collectors group & word-of-mouth)
3. Tie the links together (Bob’s happy, customers are happy to find you, you’re happy)
4. Measure the campaign’s success (cost vs revenue)
5. Keep at it – or tweak where necessary – and then keep at it some more

It’s a process
Don’t forget that good marketing strategies’ results mostly aren’t instant. They need to be carefully thought out, executed, adjusted if need be and then measured. If you have measuring tools in place, you’ll have learned a valuable lesson and be able to fine-tune your next effort.

I mentioned “traditional” marketing strategies earlier. Of course if you’re using online methods to advertise and promote your business, the tools are infinitely easier to implement but some small businesses don’t (yet) lend themselves to online efforts.

Regardless of the activities you invest in, without measuring, you won’t know how far you still have to go and moving onwards and upwards requires perseverance with direction.

Think on it: Sometimes the only way to know whether something works is to just try it.

Happy Measuring!