HomeOpinion & AnalysisChange your marketing strategy in 2014

Change your marketing strategy in 2014

Good things come to those who wait. Greater things come to those who get off their butts and take the action necessary to make things happen.

SME’s Chat with Phillip Chichoni

In any economy, some businesses close while new ones are created.

This is because the business environment in an open market economy is competitive; the less competent fall, while the more competent win.

If you want to thrive in the current tough environment, you have to change the way you do things. It is no longer business as usual.

Doing things the way you have been doing in the past will only result in mediocrity. Success will happen to those who outrun the competition.

Customers will not come to you just because you have a great product or service, you have to out-market and out-sell your rivals in this highly competitive market where there are more suppliers and a shrinking consumer base.

It starts with a great plan of action
Every achievement, every success story, starts with a game plan. Start by setting clear goals for your business for the next 12 months.

A good way to set goals is by determining the net income you desire for the year. Last year’s profit might be a base to which you add a certain percentage of growth. You then determine how much sales you need to make to achieve those sales goals.

The next step is to review your past marketing activities. Look at everything, whether it is your advertising, letters, memos, emails, newsletters, press releases, website, brochures and so forth. If it is not customer focused, change it.

Your plan should set out the actions to be carried out during year. In fact, you should be marketing all the time, but not necessarily doing everything all the time.

A good way to organise your marketing activities is by developing a marketing calendar. This will set out specific activities that need to be carried out at set times.

For example, you can set the days when you will place your newspaper or radio adverts, send out newsletters to your database, distribute flyers, and all the other marketing activities you will be undertaking. This will make your marketing more consistent and effective and you can measure the results. Your actions will determine your success, the more you do effective things the more success you will achieve. (You can download a template of the marketing calendar on my website http://smebusinesslink.com; go the Marketing and Sales page.)

Explore new channels to reach more customers
Techzim recently published an article entitled “Why spend more online?” (techzim.co.zw). The article was about how marketing is shifting to digital media, which was a presentation by local marketing expert Benjamin Juru. Although print media is still here for a long time, more and more people are reading newspapers online.

Most of the local media now offer online advertisements, at cheaper rates than those of the print edition. As a business owner you need to explore how you can take advantage of the cheaper online channels to reach more customers.

A good number of people start searching for products or suppliers online via Google. This means you have to make your website visible and search-engine optimised so your company can be easily found. Facebook is now ubiquitous; the majority of people access the social site at least once everyday.

You need to learn to be social savvy and participate in various discussions, forums and groups so you can be seen by more people, some who could become your customers.

In marketing, there is no one best method. You try lots of activities, see which ones work and put more effort into them and discard those activities which do not work so well.

Please let me know which methods you have found that help entrepreneurs fire up their marketing; just send me an email.
Until next week, best wishes in accelerating your growth.

Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. You may contact him by email, chichonip@smebusinesslink.com
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