Many entrepreneurs or investors have invested time, energy, and money into a brilliant idea for a product or service, only to see the fruits of that labor wither and die. One of the primary reasons for the high failure rate among entrepreneurs is that they often lack an understanding of the importance of marketing. They believe in the approach that “If I build it (the product or service), they (customers) will come;” however, they fail to recognize that the market is flooded with products, services, and ideas that are each competing for the consumer’s attention.
The essential part of the marketing management strategy is the marketing plan.
A solid and thorough marketing plan should address these questions:
- What need does my service or product meet in the marketplace?
- What type of target audience would be most interested in what I offer?
- What image do I want to have in the marketplace?
- How can I create a message that achieves my marketing goals?
- Which approaches are best for delivering my message to the marketplace?
- How do I determine a price for my product or service?
- What is the best delivery mechanism for what I am offering?
Many small businesses make the mistake of focusing on only one or two of these issues. On the other hand, there are some organizations who will answer all of these questions without putting enough thought into how to bridge them with a consistent marketing strategy. For example, one company wanted to introduce a new line of electronics, and decided that they wanted to be known as the bargain brand; however, this company based its pricing strategy on the desire to earn a targeted profit margin. The prices on their products were therefore 15% higher than the average market price for competing products, which conflicted greatly with their advertising promoting a bargain. Furthermore, this company invested significant resources in developing relationships with high-end electronics retailers hoping to foster strong brand awareness. Consumers still perceived the products as cheap, though, despite the high prices. The manufacturing quality of the products was more in line with their original mission of being a bargain supplier, but their delivery and pricing strategies did not support this goal.
It is crucial that all of the above questions be considered before making any marketing decisions based on the response to any one of the issues. Consequently, a marketing plan should address these major issues and should also include a marketing strategy as to how these issues might evolve over time, and how each marketing initiative will address and support the overall corporate goals.
Be smart and be encouraged,