The success of any business requires a sound marketing plan no matter how big or small, and when I say “marketing” it’s not as simple as just advertising. When we look around at some of the “giant” retailers, we see that yes they do plenty of advertising, but everything they do is for a particular reason and directed at a certain audience. This audience is a very well defined group of people they have been able to identify through endless amounts of research as their Target Market i.e. the people who need or want what they have to sell. In some cases, based on their research, they may even take the other approach and begin selling what the market is looking for. There are different strategies that a business can follow.
As a small business owner, you may think you simply do not have the kind of budget these “giants” have for this type of research and planning. Even so, when you develop your budget for the year, it is just as important to make sure a portion of is contributed to marketing. This can include advertising of course, as well as promotions, personal selling, new product development, channels of distribution, packaging, branding, creating a slogan, pricing strategies, sales forecasts and a whole lot more. But if you aren’t quite sure who your target market is, it can be a huge waste of time and resources.
Some ways that a small business may find feasible in helping to define its target market are surveys, point of sale information, brainstorming sessions with employees and reviewing information from previous years. When you have a better understanding of who your customers really are, then you will know exactly when, where and how to advertise, offer a promotion, make changes to your product and numerous other cost efficient money-makers that will visibly impact your bottom line.
As Louie the Loonie would say, “If you’re selling specialized footwear for seniors, you may not want to advertise in a skateboarding magazine.”
Natalie Walsh is the General Manager of the DowntownS Miramichi Newcastle Business District. For more information on DowntownS Miramichi visit www.downtownmiramichi.com.