Where you are today and where you want to go
Advertising is expensive
Unfortunately many channels will happily take your money even if they know, it will fail to deliver the result you are seeking. Whilst it is convenient to blame the channel and possibly their ethics, the advertiser needs to take some responsibility. Crucially before undertaking any marketing, you, as the advertiser need to establish what the goals of the campaign are and who are likely to need your products or services.
Market research companies and consultants as well as the better marketing agencies can all assist, but as the driver of the business, your input is vital. When it comes to marketing your business, your market can be roughly categorised in two;
- The market you know, where your existing customers are, sometimes referred to as the “Comfort Zone”
- The markets you don’t know so much about, which I’ll refer to as the “Expansion Zone”
This includes your existing customers and prospects with a similar profile, i.e. in the same sector or location etc. Most businessmen are fairly confident here. So much so, that many never venture beyond and, as a consequence, tend to “tick along” with modest or no growth.
Comfort Zone customers are the “cash cows” of many businesses providing stability so should be looked after. Growth can be generated here by adding additional relevant services. One word of warning, take the time to analyse profitability at customer level, you may get some surprises.
The Expansion Zone
If growth opportunities in your comfort zone are limited, you need to look outside. This can be in new areas (such as opening a new shop, or by offering on-line sales) or it can be by offering products or services in other market sectors.
Expanding on the second point, this could be a new offering which you have developed for new markets, or, by using (possibly with some modification) existing products. For example, a software company I once worked with, used their same basic database expertise in several different markets, ranging from pre-press to quality control management systems.
Before investment is made, homework must be done;
- How big is the market
- What are the key needs
- How can they be reached
- Are your products competitive and do they have the strengths needed to beat established players