A famous saying that applies to every area in life goes something like this: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Could this be true in business as well? Absolutely!
Sales and Marketing seem to be a rocket science to home-based business owners or start-ups entrepreneurs, especially to those who do not have a degree in business or marketing.
A lack of understanding of the two is sometimes the reason why most entrepreneurs are unable to create a strategy.
Let’s define these two terms in a simple way: (I hate theory too remember?)
Marketing – The process for which you get the product or service out there to your target “market”, thus it’s called marketing. This is the channel for which you show your audience what you have to offer them.
To put it more simply: Marketing is Product or Service Meets Target Audience.
Sales – When you position your product and/or service in front of your target audience, you generate what’s called leads. Leads are people/individuals/companies that are interested in learning more about your product or service. The sales process is when you make the effort to convert them to a paying customer. This is where you answer their question “Why should I spend my hard-earned money on you?” Obviously, not everyone asks that question literally. But you get the point. Sales is basically a part of the overall marketing process.
To put it more simply: Sales is Product or Service Meets Prospective Buyer.
Now that you understand the difference between the two, it’s easier to create a strategy. Without one, it’s hard to succeed. It’s like going blindly and could cost you a lot o money. A strategy is like your blueprint in getting your business up, running, and taking it to the next level.
Here are some guidelines when creating your strategy:
1.Know your Product
The more that you know your product, the better you will get in marketing it. You will know its capabilities, its weaknesses, its potential, and its strength. Without this, you really can’t fully determine the second point which is…
2. Know your Target Market
Knowing your target market has to be a little bit more specific than just determining the gender.
a. Who would mostly use your product or service? Is it male, female, or both? If one or the other, how much percentage does each gender or mixed would utilize it?
b. Is your product or service targeted towards a specific age of people? If so, create a percentage of each age group. For example: 18-24 30%, 24-30 10%, etc.
c. Is it targeted towards a specific geographic location?
d. What about civil status, income range, and race?
Create different levels of your target market based on the criteria above and position them in order of priority. You can add to these depending on what your product or service is.
3. Know your Competition
Knowing who you are up against with in the industry will provide you with essential information that is valuable in positioning your company, including your product or service.
a. List three competitors both online (if you have an online presence) and offline (locally if you have a brick and mortar business).
b. Create a comparison of their products/service with yours. What is the strength of theirs and what is the strength of yours? What are the weaknesses on the product of each company?
c. On online and offline company position, what is their advantage over you and what is yours over them?
4. Know your Marketing Channels
Knowing your product in and out, knowing who you want to present it to, and knowing who you are up against are all crucial to determining the channels through which you want ways you want to present your products. Direct mail? Email marketing? Media buys? Search marketing?
A great marketer knows how to leverage every feasible marketing channel. Do not put your eggs in one basket. If you can use direct mail combined with email, search and media buys, then you should do it.
5. Know your Distribution Channels
Knowing your product in and out, knowing who you want to present it to, and knowing who you are up against are all crucial to determining the channels through which you want to distribute your products. What is a distribution channel? It is simply the ways through which you want to sell your products or offer your service. Do you have a brick and mortar store? An e-commerce shop? Do you plan on getting wholesalers or resellers? Do you consign them in gift shops? Sell them through tv shopping networks?
6. Know your Pricing Strategy
Pricing for your product or service may be not that complicated. Creating a pricing strategy depends on several factors but to put it more simply, they are: Your cost in acquiring (manufacturing or wholesale cost) + the margin profit you want to make. Now the profit margin you want to make will also depend on factors such as what is the general average price of a similar product (if any) in the market and what is your price compared to your competitors?
Even though you are encouraged to take a look at your competitors’ prices, pricing is the poorest area to be competitive at. Putting your product or service out there in a much lower price from your competitors can create two different reactions from your prospective buyers:
a. “Why are you cheaper than others? Is your quality inferior? Too good to be true?”
b. “Yes! I finally found someone who offers this for cheap!”
These are just some guidelines and definitely not rock-binding rules for you to follow. Knowing these 6 important items in your business should be able to help you get on track to creating a sales and marketing strategy.