All out of marketing ideas ?
1. Often the most successful businesses are those that are really listening, either to their own customers, to the competitors customers and/or to the overall market. Often ideas can come to you for free, here are some places to look for them;-
general public via web (using a competition incentive)
business schools and universities
marketing magazines and books
industry association publications
market research studies
using web tools creatively
2. you could paper the wall with ideas
...but they are useless if not implemented within a marketing framework that contains a number of components;-
'Your Strategy' - you must have an overall plan of the direction you wish to proceed. Your plan should contain your objectives or targets, it is crucial that these are framed in such a way that they are timebound, quantifiable and measurable.
An analogy is building or renovating a house, you cannot have all the construction people and all the materials turn up on the site on the same day - result total chaos. Marketing is the same, you need a framework;-
To achieve Sales of 60,000 units within the next 12 months
This simple objective is timebound, quantifiable and measurable so you can easily measure how effective you are on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.
You plan is delivered using marketing tactics;- e.g. specific advertising, events like seasonal sales, people like sales reps, devices like discounts or promotions. This is generally called the marketing mix since it is up of tools that when 'Mixed' together result in success. Traditionally these focused on the top four Ps -~
Product | Price | Place | People
Product - the product or service you sell
Price - the pricing methods to be used
Place - the channels you use to sell, e.g. retail, wholesale, online
Promotion - the techniques to be used, e.g. advertising, sales reps, online, public relations,
New thinking and ideas applied to each of the above can have a real value to your business or project.
Marketing is a loop that you monitor and tweak as you proceed by asking;-
- where are we now
- where do we want to go
- how will we get there
- how are we doing now
3. start with a simple overall framework
Starting with a simple overall framework is often a useful way to concentrate thinking;- think about your industry, read industry reports, talk to suppliers, talk directly to your customers, monitor and/or research your competitors
Figure out the top 10 things you need to do to get where you want to be;-
a 27% increase in sales turnover this year from last year
a 4% increase in net profit this year from last year
4. who is the customer
Your marketing ideas must be framed in the context of who is your customer.
What is the demographic of the customer, age, job, house, lifestyle, retired, kids, no kids.. you cannot sell to an entire 'population'. In marketing the idea is to use segmentation, find your target and focus on them using segmentation. A simple example of this is gas stations, they are often located on busy roads. Their key segment is people on the busy road, people travelling. Another is Porche, you do not see, or rarely see a billboard for Porche, their target segment is not everyone on the highway so they use alternative methods of delivery for their message.
5. why do they buy - the head wrecker
It is interesting when cognitive dissonance enters the fray, you want to and can buy but are not sure you are buying the right one. e.g. when you are buying a new car suddenly you see more and more cars of this make or model, you see news articles, consumer reports - you may think this suddenly appears but no, it is there all along but now your brain watches out for it.
People generally are overloaded with things to do. People buy benefits not features e.g. a new Volvo has a feature an ultra lightweight body, the benefit to the buyer is better gas mileage. There is a large area of study here in terms of customer perception, motivational factors
You must know why your customers buy and then provide then with reasons and the mechanisms to buy your product, what are the triggers, do you offer finance, free delivery, money back guarantee, warranty.
Do they want economy, reliability, convenience, service back-up, these are just some of the ingredients of the customer pie.
6. how are you on your company quiz
top 20 customers - by value, by volume, by profitability
top 20 products - by value, by volume, by profitability
in retail sales - by month, week, seasonal, day of week, time of day
average purchase value - rising or falling
by payment in percentage of toal - cash card, finance, instalment
ranked by product rising or product falling
by comparison with competitor's product
by new product development you and your competitor
You must know your underlying data, why is this product selling so well, what are the trends at micro and macro levels and how can you capitalise on these trends.
7. sales data and statistics is not boring.. :-)
a lot of your market and customer intelligence is statistical, inevitably it can be made smart or more intuitive using color charts and summaries, pivot tables, pareto charts and best of all IMHO the Ishikawa diagram or fishbone.
The Ishikawa diagram or fishbone.
8. Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa
... was born in 1915. He was a graduate of Tokyo University where he majored in applied chemistry. He was known for the leading Japanese contributor to quality management. Ishikawa’s diagram which is referred to as the "fishbone" diagram shows the user all of the possible causes of a result, and then hopefully find the root of the process imperfections. The "fishbone" diagram pinpoints the root programs and provides quality improvement from the bottom up.
9. How to Use It
9a. budget - a dirty word
10. A little marketing treatise.
Marketing is implemented through a marketing plan, which starts with the setting of objectives. These will support the overall aims of the business. Next, a company needs to decide how the objectives will be achieved - the strategy. Marketing Strategy is 'The set of objectives which an organisation allocates to its marketing function in order to support the overall corporate strategy, together with the broad methods chosen to achieve these objectives.
The strategy takes into account any research, product or service development, how the product or service will reach the market (channels) and how the customers will find out (communication). It will also attempt to define a unique positioning for the product or business to differentiate from competitors.
The strategy is implemented through the Marketing Mix. This traditionally includes the four Ps:
Product (or service): getting the product right is essential. Product development and management involve design, testing with potential customers and product launching.
Price: pricing must be in line with how customers value your product or service.
Place: getting distribution right means fulfilling customer expectations at the right profit margin.
Promotion: communicating with customers includes corporate identity, branding, advertising, public relations (PR), direct marketing, sales promotion or merchandising, sales and exhibitions.
As the service economy has opened up, three further P's have been added:
Physical Evidence: service sector 'products' are intangible (e.g. qualifications), so presentation of the physical evidence is vital to the brand identity (e.g. certificate, graduation ceremony).
People: understanding customers by researching their personal, cultural, social and psychological profiles is essential in order to meet their needs.
Process: how a service is delivered communicates the brand identity. For example, providing tutorials and study resources via the Internet shows the brand to be leading edge, immediate and practical.
Marketing is a professional discipline, like an engineer or electrician you go to school and learn. It has strategies, tactical choices, you segment your market, you look at demographics, motivations, sales channels, product development, customer loyalty.
Marketing is not a sticker stuck over the top of sales.
As it happens I hold the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing Certificate and Diploma and have being providing marketing support to clients for 20 years or thereabouts. I am particularly interested in bluesky, creative thinking - helping companies to think out side the box.
More by this Author
a few robot poems from Irish poet Drax..
How to do Standard Deviation manually in six straightforward steps, includes a step by step of how to do this using Excel, with screenshots and a link to a sample Excel sheet.
An analysis of how book advances are calculated, how much you might receive. More about margins in the publishing industry including legacy, self publishing and EBooks.