Every small business relies on effective marketing for it to survive in the market. You cannot think of a successful business without good marketing and sales techniques. Marketing is a set of processes that any business needs to follow.

  • First is the need to know who your customers are
  • Understand their needs and desires
  • Communicate to them exactly why they need what you can provide
  • Reach out to them with that message

In this blog, we intend to introduce you to some concepts and strategies that professional marketing experts in large companies use and how you can be adapted to help your small business thrives:

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Analyze the market environment

Knowing your product does not suffice. You must be aware of the competitive environment and cultural trends to assess your business’s place in the market. Always identify your competitors before you finalize your decision about which business category and market segment you want to compete in.

The success of a new or existing business depends on risk reduction, time, resources required and expense. Always ask yourselves these questions to effectively compete in the market

  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your competitors planning to do next?

Understanding each competitor’s behavior and market environment in terms of short and long objectives, strategies, and tactics will be vital for your business’s survival and success.

Here are some strategies that every small company can consider using:

  • Pay a visit to your direct competitor’s stores, customers, suppliers, convention booths, and sales personnel.
  • Gather secondary data on the competition from trade associations, publications, conventions, customers, and your own sales force.
  • Make a shortlist of possible competitive strategies and tactics for the current year, and your retaliatory strategies and tactics, including situations to which you will not respond.
  • Analyze your competitor’s products regularly for improvements, weaknesses, and quality trends.

Understanding market research

Market research is essential for all businesses. There are various research techniques that you can adapt to fit your needs and budget. Speaking of budget, it is advisable to budget a minimal amount of time and research, especially if you are starting a new business or branching out into a new direction.

Conducting market research is to decide what you need to find out. The information you are seeking should determine the type of research you would do.

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As you have likely surmised, some market research options may not be affordable or appropriate for your company. You may have to be more creative and proactive in:

  • deciding to do a limited amount of necessary research and setting affordable budgets
  • working with market research specialists or outside experts to define research problems and the design of the research
  • accepting the possibility of a greater number of errors or a ‘lower confidence level’ in the mathematical predictability of research results due to:
    • small budgets
    • small sample sizes
    • samples were chosen in a manner that’s not completely random
  • conducting and analyzing the necessary market research yourself or with company personnel

Product development on ongoing, intentional process

It is essential to develop and refine products or services that meet customers’ needs even before they hit the shelf.

Packaging and pricing the product

One of the most important aspects of promoting or marketing your business is the way you present and package your business. It also dictates the success of your business. Pricing, packaging, and product mix are among the flexible choices.

Effective distribution methods

Whether retail, wholesale or business-to-consumer, choosing the right distribution method to complement your product or service can be a boon to your business’s success.  Small businesses may have products that would appeal to many different markets or channels of distribution in a single market.

However, when you have limited resources, it’s often best to select a single distribution channel or a limited number of distribution channels that offer:

  • Ease of entry against the competition
  • Lowest costs of entry compared to the competition
  • Least financial risk and commitment to the trade
  • Sufficient volume potential to reach short-term company goals
  • Pricing levels to provide acceptable company revenues and profit margins

There are many possible distribution channels, including:

  • Retail outlets owned by your company or by an independent merchant or chain
  • Wholesale outlets of your own or those of independent distributors or brokers
  • Salesforce compensated by salary, commission, or both
  • Direct mail via your catalog or flyers
  • Telemarketing on your own or through a contracting firm
  • Internet marketing, selling your products online
  • TV & cable direct marketing and home shopping channels

Distribution choices for a service business are similar to many of those for a physical product. For example, financial planning services may be offered from printed material, sold at retail by consultants, delivered electronically by computer, or relayed by phone, fax or mail.

Advertising to build your customer base

Focusing on promoting and advertising to reach your target market is the next important step in the marketing process. And, small businesses need to be creative in the use of public relations to reach potential customers.

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