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MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

(c) 1999- Joel Johnson

Marketing is not just advertising, as most people believe.  In fact the word "Marketing" is a descriptive word that describes the totality of the marketing process.  It is the process of moving products, services and ideas from the drawing board to the end consumer.  It is all the things that happen between point A to point Z.  It is product development, packaging, advertising, display, obtaining shelf space, sales, customer service and much more.  In today's world an online presence can make a major difference in success and failure.   If you're going into business using your own name, you should definitely read up on the tips the CEO of Reputation.com Owen Tripp gives about managing your online identity and presence.

Some products are tangible, others are intangible.  It really does not matter.  What does matter and what needs to be understood up front, is that NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL SOMETHING IS SOLD...PERIOD!  All the things between point A (the drawing board) and point Z (the final purchase by the end user) is supportive to the final action of making the sale.  You can have the greatest product in the finest packaging in the best locations, etc, but if no sales or made...it is all for naught.  If sales are made and no quality customer service exist...mark a long one on the wall for eventual failure.

It is the job of advertising to attract potential buyers to the products, services...the  business.  Once they are attracted the advertising, whether it is through an online campaign or through a simple promo item or other traditional methods, has done its job.  If the sales force does not make the sale, the advertising dollars are lost.  If the sale is made, but no effort is made to retain the customer for the long term, it is all for naught.  Businesses cannot survive on one-time-only buyers.  It must have repeat, loyal customers to survive.  So...business should always be in a offensive survival mode.  Never going backward, but moving forward at all times.  It should understand all aspects of the marketing process.   

One of the best ways to make sure your new business is always in the offensive survival mode, in the 21st century,  is to develop a comprehensive marketing plan.  One that will take your business from point A of your Business Plan to point Z of putting cash in your pocket.  By developing a good marketing plan, you will be taking the guess work out of your business.  Yes...it is hard work, but if you want to succeed in today's highly competitive environment, get lazy after you are successful.  You do not have the time for that now.

A good marketing plan will include, but not limited to:

  1. Analysis of Market: Customers age, income, education level, occupations categories (white collar, blue collar, etc), location, neighborhoods, regions, area.

  2. Industry trends: Will it last?; products/services; price structure; distribution methods; competition; their products/services; their price structure; quality; customers.

  3. Competitive comparison: strengths; weaknesses; price.

  4. Strategy: You positioning statement; products/services description; price; quality Distribution channels; location.

  5. Promotion: Advertising; newspaper; television; radio; newsletters; direct mail; billboards; other.

  6. Public relations: promotions; sponsorship; charities; news releases

  7. Marketing/Advertising/Promotion budget.

While a well thought out marketing plan is vital to the success of your business, there are other factors to consider and understand, as well.  One major consideration that is hard to define, and almost impossible to predict in your plan numbers, is the human factor.

Do you have what it takes to make all the numbers work out?  Do you have what it takes to manage people, to work with the public, your banker, your consultants?  Do you have what it takes to attract talented personnel to make your business move into the future?  Are you willing to put in the time and effort it will take to build a successful business.

There are several good books available on how to develop a good marketing plan.  Software is also available.  It would be advisable to obtain a book or two and make use of the information.  It would also be advisable to obtain the services of a professional business consultant or your local Small Business Development Center, if you feel you are not qualified. 

Please refer to other links on this site for additional information and guidance. You may also contact us with your questions at 

bizsolutionssite@aol.com