Revisiting Your Marketing Strategy
If you’ve been in business for some time, it’s useful to know the money you’re spending on advertising and promotion is still bringing the results you expected.
It’s a good idea to regularly review your original marketing plan, because there’s probably been quite a few changes since you started your business. If you’re unsure the advertising money you’re spending is still contributing to your bottom line, complete our four-step checklist.
Step 1. Check your target market
Re-confirm who your current best customers are and if they changed. It’s possible over time that you have significantly different customer groups. Review your current promotional messages and advertising to ensure they still suit the current market and are you still targeting the kind of customer you want to do business with.
It’s also useful to check your profiling is still accurate, your customers are still viable and you’re still making a profit from each transaction. It can be possible to have long standing customers slowly become less profitable (they want discounts or demand too much of your time).
2. Check your pricing strategy
Price is perhaps the biggest influence on how your customers perceive the value of your product or service. Make sure they still see your price as value for money (and find out if there is an opportunity to increase prices where possible).
If you find that your price is being squeezed, there are ways to reduce costs yet maintain margin, including:
- finding cheaper suppliers
- searching for new products
- offering services that don’t have a direct low-price competitor
- unbolting any fixed costs or unnecessary overheads
- targeting customers that are less price-sensitive.
It’s a good idea to review your prices and strategy on a regular basis and only lower them if you are forced to (worst case) and increasing them if you can continually improve what you do (best case).
3. Check your promotion is working
You should have a pretty good idea by now which promotional methods are working. Spend more money on tactics that work and cut those ones that don’t.
Other promotional methods you can experiment with include:
- increase your personal profile by volunteering as a speaker at events, industry conferences or webinars
- build your reputation as an expert by creating content, blogs, whitepapers
- collaborate and advertise with strategic partners
- join and promote clusters of complementary businesses
- using social media platforms
- traditional methods like television, radio, direct mail and print marketing.
There are still many businesses without websites who use word-of-mouth, networking and their reputation and credibility in their industry to generate sales. Other businesses are completely online and have sophisticated inbound and outbound marketing software to generate and nurture leads.
There is no clear answer which is best; the only relevant point is to use whatever works for you.
4. Check the budget
Set a budget so you can measure your return on investment (ROI). Your budget might include a percentage of sales, for example if you know 8% of sales is the industry marketing spend average and you have $1m in sales, then you could spend $80,000 each year.
You can also set a figure based on what you want to do. Add up all the tactics that you know will work, cost them and that’s your budget. Or you can just look at what you spent last year and base your budget on that, plus or minus what opportunities lie ahead.
Regardless of what your budget is stick to it, measure the results, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t work.
Make sure your competitive advantage is still relevant. Ask customers what they think and adjust it if you need to, so that what makes your business, products or services attractive to buyers is still relevant. It’s a good idea to continually ask your customers about the reasons they buy from you; that way you can focus on what buyers like most about your business and, so you can invest your time and money there.
Note that the resources listed here are meant solely as overviews and helpful information. Please consult experts regarding your specific security needs for your business.