Friday, February 17, 2012

Marketing as a Customer Driven Process

Kensington Company & Affiliates offers this marketing advice prepared by the New York State Small Business Development Center.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives. 

Marketing includes diverse disciplines like sales, public relations, pricing, packaging, and distribution. In order to distinguish marketing from other related professional services, S.H. Simmons, author and humorist, relates this anecdote, "If a young man tells his date she's intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he's saying the right things to the right person and that's marketing. If the young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is -- that's advertising. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is -- that's public relations."

Marketing is all about the art of persuasion.  In business, there exist individuals who want to make money, and marketing is finding those people to persuade to purchase their good or service. Without identifying the right customers, a small business with the greatest product on Earth is destined for failure. 
The four P’s of marketing, product, price, place (distribution), and promotion are very much alive.  Though it may seem counter-intuitive, good marketing isn’t about finding the right product and to promote it at a good price at the right time.  Rather it is about finding those customers who will need or want your product and will go out and purchase it.  In terms of the four P’s then, it is the customers that should be the driving force behind them. 
What are your customers' needs? What do they expect to get when they buy your product or use your service? The right product is the one that best fits their requirements. People who eat in restaurants want more than a good meal. They might expect value, quick service, beer and alcohol, a vegetarian menu, a children's menu, entertainment, a drive through window, or to be identified with a trendy crowd.  It becomes a difficult and probably an unprofitable venture trying to satisfy everyone's needs.
Once the customers have been identified and listed their expectations, a small business can design its product or service around their requirements.  Too many small businesses owners are in love with their ideas, and they should be. After all, why would anyone commit their energy, life savings, and no small part of their sanity to anything less than a consuming passion. Because entrepreneurs are passionate about their idea, product, or service, they innocently assume other people will feel the same. Here's the bad news, it just doesn't work that way!
People have their own unique perceptions of the world based on their belief system. The most innovative ideas, the greatest products, or a superior service succeed only when you market within the context of people's perceptions.
Once you have identified your customer and listed their expectations, you can design your product or service around their requirements. The more you fulfill your customer's expectations, the better the quality of your product. Think of your product or service as more than just what the customers pays for. When you are planning your business consider how the whole transaction meets the customer's needs.
So what is a small business owner to do?  Plan, plan, plan. A good marketing plan can help you focus your energy and resources. But a plan created in a vacuum, based solely on your perceptions, does not advance the agenda. That's why market research, however simple or sophisticated, is important.   The Small Business Development Center can assist entrepreneur’s with creating an effective marketing plan in order to locate their customers to insure success. 

Prepared by Ritu S. Wackett, Senior Advisor
New York State Small Business Development Center
Farmingdale State College

No comments:

Post a Comment