A marketing strategy consists of five steps that enable you to build a customer base:
1. Researching the market
2. Segmenting the market
3. Communicating your unique selling proposition (USP)
4. Building long-lasting relationships with your customers
5. Developing a distribution plan
Researching the Market
What? Conducting market research means gathering information in order to understand customer preferences for products and services. Are your customers city or country dwellers? How old are they? What gender?
Why? The only products that will sell are ones that satisfy customer needs and wants. Market research is the key to discovering these consumer desires and creating a profitable product.
How? Use primary and secondary research tools. Primary tools are surveys, focus groups, and personal interviews. Secondary tools are online databases, libraries, and newspapers and magazines.
Segmenting the Market
What? Markets are not homogeneous, they are segmented. Let’s take the cookie market for example. There are those customers who like soft home-baked cookies and those who like crunchy cookies. There are junkies who are tired of all the fat-free imitations, and health food freaks who only want all-natural. Segmenting the market means identifying the different customer groups and selecting one to focus on, so that you are meeting the standards and satisfying the needs of that one group.
Why? Instead of doing a mediocre job trying to please everyone, you use segmenting to focus your energy and provide the highest-quality product or service to a particular group. High quality is what keeps customers coming back again and again.
How? There are two crucial criteria in choosing your market segment: (1) identification of unfulfilled wants or needs, and (2) your ability to do an excellent job satisfying them.
Communicating Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What? Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the special or unique benefit your product or service offers customers.
Why? The USP is the abracadabra of marketing. The USP is the magic word that will turn prospects into customers. It gives people a reason to buy from you instead of from someone else.
Building Long-lasting Relationships with Your Customers
What? Building relationships with your customers means creating not just customers but loyal customers.
Why? Customer loyalty is the critical factor that separates business failures from business successes. In addition, keeping a loyal customer costs five times less than creating a new one.
How? Maintain ongoing personal communication with customers in order to ensure their satisfaction. Ask for their feedback on products.
Developing a Distribution Plan
What? A distribution plan identifies where you are going to sell your product or service. Are you going to have street stores or cyberstores where you sell over the net?
Why? People can be running wild in the streets for your product or service, but if they do not know where to go and, worse, you do not know how to get it to them, then clearly the outcome will be no sales, no revenue, no profit.
How? Identify your competitors’ distribution styles, the larger distribution trends, and so on, and choose the most profitable way to distribute.
Anthony Whitfield is a business consultant and a part time blogger who loves to write on business and finance topics, He admires William Lauder, and his business skills a lot.