All those with a product or service to sell must institute a marketing program that promotes those products and services to target customers. Marketing programs consist of strategies and activities that derive from promotional objectives and revenue projections that you would like to achieve for your products, services, or the company overall.
Examples of activities that carry out marketing strategies and have the potential to ensure the achievement of marketing objectives may include the following:
Advertising, in strategically selected print or online media
Long form content, to use in your blog or newsletter
In-kind contributions made to local charities
Nominating yourself for (and winning!) a business award
Speaking at business association meetings
Teaching a subject that showcases your professional expertise
Presenting a webinar, video, or podcast
Press releases to announce an event that will impact the community: the webinar you’ll present, the business award you’ve won, the book you’ve published, the charity event that you’ll help sponsor
Networking, to meet or reconnect with colleagues and build relationships
Social media, used to engage with clients, prospects and peers
For most, the goal of marketing is to increase sales (that is, revenue) by increasing awareness and trust in the company and its products and services and in that way increasing the number of its potential customers. Marketing is a way to fill the sales pipeline, as is prospecting for potential customers (wear your sales hat when prospecting, although prospecting is not quite selling in the same way that marketing is not exactly selling). Generally, marketing strategies are created to produce one or more of these results:
1. Awareness, so that target customer groups will learn of the existence of your company and its products and services.
2. Perception, so that target customer groups will think of your company and its offerings in a certain way. This is the core of brand development; trust and confidence are the primary attributes that you must persuade customers to associate with your company and its products and services. Depending on your business, other attributes you may want to attach to the brand are luxury, practicality, innovation, or quirkiness. Reputation management and crisis PR are under this heading.
3. Behavior, so that target customers will be persuaded to take action. Your objectives may include attracting new customers; encouraging repeat business from existing customers; encouraging sales of higher-ticket items or premium services; or stimulating referrals by persuading customers to recommend your products and services to others.
Because time and money are limited resources for business ventures large and small, it is a big advantage to know which of your marketing activities works and if possible, to also know which activities are effective for certain groups of customers. Further, it is essential to know how many customers come to your business as a result of marketing activities.
To measure the return on investment ROI of your marketing program, one must venture into the realm of marketing metrics, from data analytics to Big Data. There are simple yet revealing marketing metrics available that will evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing and guide your future marketing activities.