Marketing is a broad term that covers many specific issues. Your marketing plan will cover areas ranging all the way from determining how your business fits into the national and local economies to deciding what color your logo should be. The market plan you’ll develop in this section will outline the specific steps you’ll take to generate the sales dollars you forecast earlier.
When customers consider patronizing your business, they first consider whether or not you can solve their problem. But they don’t stop there. They also compare your business with other businesses. It’s helpful for you to make a similar comparison so that you understand how your customers think. This exercise, as an exercise in the marketing area, requires some mental gymnastics. Your job is to place yourself in your customers’ frame of mind and objectively compare your business to the competition.
Differentiate Your Business From the Competition
Your next job is to describe how your business differs from the competition’s strong and weak points. Again, remember to carefully look at your business from the customer’s perspective.
If you’re not sure how your pricing policies compare to the competition, here are some guidelines. Most people associate high prices with high quality and extra service, while they associate low prices with low or average quality and minimum service. Make sure you provide extra quality and service if your prices are higher than your competition or make sure that your prices are lower if your quality is average and your service is minimum. Check your assumptions by making a price survey of the competition.
Describe Your Target Customer
The next step is to describe your target customer in specific, individual terms. As you know, business is a very personal endeavor. When you sell services or merchandise, you sell to one person at a time. As a matter of fact, most people don’t like being treated like members of a group instead of individuals. That’s why the most successful restaurants have owners or maitre d’s who remember your name and ask about your family or your interests whenever you patronize their business. Additionally, most of us are more comfortable talking with one person than making speeches to a large group
Decide How to Reach Customers
Once you describe your target customer, it’s easier to create a list of possible ways to reach that person. One of your jobs as a businessperson is to decide which of all the possible methods of communication will give you the most exposure for the
least cost in money or time. There are an infinite number of communication methods. These methods range from personal visits to each customer to mass media advertising, with a wide range of possibilities in between. We list some in Ways to Reach Your Target Customer below, as a stimulus to your thinking.