Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

Strategic marketing is something that is often talked about but rarely implemented. It can be seen to be very clear cut and simple as a process but the challenges and choices offer huge and exciting opportunities and introduce great complexity.
Strategic marketing is the long term view of the organisation and where it wants to be seen by its customers. That is only part of the picture. Customers are central, but other stakeholders such as suppliers, funding bodies, banks and indeed competitors all want a piece of the action.
The process of strategic marketing is structured and includes clear elements of order and content. At least , when it is presented as the direction of the business. Achieving that is a much more complex process. The strategy is like the swan gliding on the lake, yet below the water working furiously against the tide.

The process of strategic marketing will be outlined to provide a clear guideline for a range of organisations. It will show the essential components from the analysis of the current situation to the strategic choices. The current trends in the environment, such as the economic situation, the development of social media all offer new challenges. The issue is to determine the difference between a trend and a fad.

There are also new ways of conducting business. No longer is a customer always a customer, they maybe a supplier, a partner and in some cases a competitor. In times of higher risk and more restricted resources collaborations and networks are popular.

The strategic choices will be to examine the opportunities and match with the resources of the organisation. Then, for the organisation to position and differentiate itself to build competitive advantage and offer value to the consumer.

Tese complexities must be explored to show how they can offer small organisations the opportunity to build a solid platform for the future and create a sustainable business.

For SMEs there are huge challenges but also great opportunities. Resources for all organisations are tight but those smaller businesses can respond more quickly and be innovative in the ways, in which it goes to market. It can test and try, work with others and collaborate. A key message is to be clear about who your customer is and where you compete. Don’t try to be everything but be the very best in your market, make your customers the happiest, offer superb value, do something special.

The strategic marketing process is a coat hanger, but it is the clothes and accessories that make it this season and next and that is the challenge and the fun.

Marketing Lessons in the Recession

The posts on the blog show how marketers are developing some really clever ways of creating interest for their business. The earlier posts with videos on Lego and T- Mobile, for example show innovative ways of gaining attention.

The lessons and challenges for marketing in the recession are:-

To stand out from massive competition. Some competitors will cut price, that is tempting but will cheapen the brand and lower the profit from each sale. Try to offer better value and bundle products such as buy your house insurance and buy car insurance at a discount.

Ensure that the customer is loyal and sees your business as a solution to their problem. Remember people buy the benefits not the product. Its not that the speed of the processor is or the size of the engine is. What does that mean? So I can access internet quicker, use less fuel in my car etc

Add real value for the customer. Make life easier, so you can connect the phone to the PC, downlaod pictures and print in one click.

Be clear who that customer is, don’t try to target everyone. If you are selling clothing, is the customer the younger trendy girl who wants something different and new every week. Or the classic buyer who buys one or two key pieces each season. Is it the techie guy who wants all the latest in mobile phones or someone who just wants emergency calls.

So the lessons are to offer a really fabulous deal and to keep that customer happy but the competitor scared

Marketing Strategy Tutorial

We all know those rainbow coloured plastic shoes. Ugly they maybe but they are worn by young and old alike. Indestructible is the name. So, why did Croc use reality TV- the Apprentice in the USA to campaign to donate crocs to charity?
Let’s look at the growth of the business first. The company is young and in 7 years sold 100 million pairs globally. A success indeed but the challenge is not to sell the first batch of products but to build the business. It is all in the value offered to the customer. The problem was that Croc went mass market. They were copied, rapidly becoming a  cheap commodity. Croc lost £113 million last year and cut jobs. It has generated 1.4 million Facebookers who are campaigning to abolish Crocs.

Ugg boots faced a similar issue. They have managed the brand better and moved to focus on a niche and refresh with new boots, which fortunately for Ugg need replacing.

Marketing lessons. For the marketing assignment you could examine that Croc needs to think long term about the brand and how it can be positioned to offer value. It could have focussed on the childrens market and moved into games and toys or clothing. That would have removed the ability to commoditise the product so that it is copied in every pound store around the country. For the marketing exam use the segmentation aspect to show how Croc needs to target its market

Can Twitter Survive?- Marketing Strategy Tutorial

In just 3 years Twitter has become a phenomenon and is at the fore front of changing how we communicate. It is real time, and is enjoying the fastest ever growth for a website. It has increased staff to 50. This year has seen it overcome the expansion in technology that is needed to grow so rapidly

Biz Stone, its co founder comes from a series of social media businesses such as Blogger. He believes that Twitter has only touched about a minute percentage of its potential. He reportedly refused a bid from Facebook for around $500m.

Why then is he so confident that Twitter can turn growth into a long term business? It seems that its ability to influence large groups of people is the key. Take the recent impact on the Iranian elections, its use communicating the earthquake in California in 08.

After a year of rapid growth he can now plan to build the business long term. The use of Twitter by corporate businesses is the key to monetising the business. Dell and JetBlue have had a great deal of success in using the platform.  Corporate accounts are interested in effective communication. The information that Twitter holds on its users and the statistical insight is the key and something that businesses will pay for. From here understanding users needs more and more will give Twitter the opportunity to build a long term business.

Marketing lessons. Business growth, monetising and branding

Social Media- Marketing Strategy Tutorial

Social Media Matrix

We have seen the rapid rise to fame of Twitter and Facebook. Everyone is using it in some way or another. For business today it is essential that we are able to keep up and make the best use of the budget in difficult times. I came across Social Media Matrix. it began to make sense and the links from Twitter to Facebook and UTube are the keys. Take one as the focal point for your campaign and then feed the others in. Use Utube for videos of your product and think of it as your own personal TV channel.  Facebook is the newspaper and print while Twitter is the pre business chat. All very interesting.  The question is making the best use for business.  Try not to think about social media as a selling tool but as  longer term relationship building

Check it out here