Why is it that some interactions between people lead to deep, rewarding friendships while other interactions simply fizzle out? Communication is part of the answer, but so is having something to talk about. And in order for the conversation to last a long time, there needs to be an understanding between parties about what interests the other person.
Your marketing efforts are a type of communication, very similar to that described in the last paragraph. To enjoy a long lasting relationship with your customer, you need to understand what interests them. That way, you can tailor your marketing to capture their attention, hold their attention while you deliver the message, and wait for them to respond (by purchasing).
So how do you plan your side of the “conversation” before you build your marketing campaign? Use these “ABCD’s of Market Planning” as a checklist to help make sure that you know exactly what your prospect will respond to:
- Media research: what media will your prospect respond to the most? When will they be exposed to your marketing?
- Copy research: what kind of copy will grab and hold your customer’s attention? What buzz words do they respond to?
- Image research: what kind of images do your prospects respond to?
- Interaction research: how interactive does your marketing need to be?
- Action research: what is the most likely way that your prospect will take action (i.e., telephone? website? visit the store? etc.)
- Business trend forecasting: will the popularity of this product rise or fall in the short term? What about in the long term? What influences can you see affecting the popularity of this product?
- Pricing research: can you generally increase the price on this over time or will competition likely drive the price downward?
- Operations research: Can your company manage the regular, anticipated influx of orders as it is or will you need to hire new staff? What if there is a surge in orders? What if orders fall off?
- Supply line research: can you get the product manufactured, shipped, stored, and displayed reasonably quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively?
- Product research: What is the competition doing right now with this product?
- Marketing research: How are they marketing the product? How are they pricing the product?
- Supply line research: if they sense competition from you, do they have the capacity to step up production or lower prices?
- Differentiation research: how are your competitors positioning the product right now? How will yours be positioned in the future?
- Prospect analysis: Who do you see buying this product? What needs to they have? What else do they buy? What price points will they tolerate?
- Peer analysis: Who do they spend time with? Are there referral opportunities?
Inexperienced entrepreneurs risk very expensive lessons by jumping into marketing campaigns without research. As you plan your marketing strategies, you’ll develop powerful campaigns that your prospects respond to. Be sure to save the marketing so you can refer to it to help you in future campaigns and to understand if your prospects’ needs are changing over time.