Marketing means attracting and retaining customers - matching what people want with what you can profitably supply.
Topics in this section include:
You might have a brilliant idea for a product or service, but an idea alone is not enough. You must clearly identify your target market - the people who will buy your product or service.
Market research can help you to do this and it doesn’t have to be expensive - much of it can be undertaken yourself if you follow an orderly process, however you may want to hire a research specialist.
Market research describes the method you use to determine the size, characteristics and nature of your market. It tells you about the market and its preferences, opinions, habits and trends. It can also indicate where the market is, its geography, its demographics (statistical characteristics) and information about the psychology of the market.
The results of market research can help to reduce some of the risks and you may learn something about your market, for example finding an unsatisfied need that gives you a vital competitive edge. Market research also enables you to attach numbers to your plans and verify your marketing strategy.
If you are already in business, your business records will offer a wealth of information that should be assessed before you seek additional data. The names and addresses of your customers will give you a sense of your market area and your customers location. You may be able to direct your advertising to these areas.
By talking regularly to your customers, you will learn about their attitudes, occupations, interests and buying habits.
Resources and downloads
- Visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics for census data.
Once you have identified your target market/s and your customers’ attitudes, occupations, interests and buying habits, to service their needs efficiently, effectively and profitably, you need to develop a marketing strategy or plan - a working document that enables you to stay up to date with constantly changing market/s and your target market needs.
A marketing plan brings together all the relevant market factors and identifies the strategies and actions required to achieve your sales goals.
The link between the marketing plan and your overall business plan is a crucial one. Marketing is what attracts and retains customers, so your marketing plan is a key driver of the performance of your business.
A marketing plan is not simply an index of advertising or other promotional activities. A good marketing plan should begin with an evaluation of the entire potential of the market for each product/service category and include an analysis of consumer behaviour, the competition and their offerings, and the strengths and weaknesses of the company as a competitor.
It should also outline the positioning of your product or service within the market, based on product attributes, features and their related benefits. Planned sales and promotional activity also need to be addressed and you may want to consider the potential competitor and consumer reactions to your activities in the marketplace.
Sales and profit forecasts for each product category should be developed to give an overall picture of the money to be spent and the profits to be gained. Finally, the plan should make a prediction to the future directions for each product category.
A crucial step in the marketing planning process is to constantly evaluate and monitor the performance of your marketing activities to ensure that you are on the right track.
The tools and resources in the guides below examine:
- researching your market to identify your customers and their wants and needs
- where your product or service fits into the market
- what your competitors offer
- what distribution channels are available to you to get your products and services to market
- how to develop a marketing plan
- tips on effective advertising and promotional activities.