Every small business marketing program contains four key components —
• Products and Services
Products and Services: Product strategies may include concentrating on a narrow product line, developing a highly specialized product or service, or providing a product-service package containing unusually high-quality service.
Promotion: Promotion strategies include advertising and direct customer interaction. Good salesmanship is essential for small businesses because of their limited ability to spend on advertising. Good telephone book advertising is also important. Direct mail is an effective, low-cost medium available to small business.
Distribution: The manufacturer and wholesaler must decide how to distribute their products. Working through established distributors or manufacturers’ agents is generally easiest for small manufacturers. Small retailers should consider cost and traffic flow in site selection, especially since advertising and rent can be reciprocal: a low-cost, low-traffic location means spending more on advertising to build traffic.
Price: The right price is crucial for maximizing total revenue. Generally, higher prices mean lower volume and vice-versa; however, small businesses can often command higher prices because of their personalized service.
These all combine into an overall marketing program.
The nature of the product or service is also important in siting decisions. If purchases are based largely on impulse, then high-traffic and visibility are critical. On the other hand, location is less of a concern for products or services that customers are willing to go out of their way to find. The recent availability of highly segmented mailing lists, purchased from list brokers, magazines, or other companies, has enabled certain small businesses to operate from any location, yet serve national or international markets.
After implementing a marketing program, entrepreneurs must evaluate its performance. Every program should have performance standards to compare with actual results. Researching industry norms and past performances will help to develop appropriate standards.
Business Owners should audit their company’s performance at least quarterly.
The key questions are:
• Is the company doing all it can to be customer-oriented?
• Do employees ensure the customers are satisfied and leave wanting to come back?
• Is it easy for the customer to find what he or she wants at a competitive price?
Are there any additional marketing issues you would like to see addressed in the Pleiades Services Blog. Let us know — we’re here to help.
As a retired SBDC counselor, I know where to find business-related information — both online and IRL. In this case, my marketing source is years and years as a business owner, counselor, and mentor. For individual business support with any aspect of your business contact the nearest SBA-sponsored Small Business Development Center.