By Niki Tudge © 2013
There are many different definitions of the term marketing. One of my favorites is the definition provided by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK “marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”. As marketing is clearly a management process then it falls under the job scope of the most senior personal within an organization. In a small pet business, that responsibility falls squarely onto the shoulders of you, the pet business owner.
The assumption is that we all aim to satisfy our customers’ needs, don’t we? Well how many small business owners really understand what their customers want and need. The concept of marketing oriented organizations first appeared in the USA in the 1950’s. Prior to that most organizations were sales oriented and today many small businesses still focus their efforts on driving sales rather than meeting their clients’ needs.
So what is your organizations orientation? Do you focus on driving sales or do you have a guided marketing philosophy that focuses on satisfying your clients need and wants? Whatever you are focusing on is unintentionally or intentionally driving your small businesses strategic direction. Let’s hope that direction is forwards!
Marketing is not just a guided philosophy it is a set of specialized activities that should be carried out on a consistent basis. Your business needs to have a structure supporting these activities and the “Four p’s” are a recommended framework to use. A good way to understand your 4 Ps’ is by asking questions of your business and the products and services you provide.
Examples of some of these important questions are as follows…
Product/Service – What are the decisions that you need to make about the products you provide
- What does your customer want from the services you provide and what needs do you satisfy?
- What features do your services offer that meet these needs?
Are there important service features that you have missed?
- Are you including costly features that your customer really does not place any value on?
- What do your services look like and how will your client experience them?
- How well are you branded?
- How do your services differentiate you from your competitors?
Place – What steps will you have to take to make sure your product is easily available to your customer?
- Where do your potential clients look for your products or services?
- How can you access the right distribution channels to make your services more accessible?
- What do you competitors do, and how can you learn from them and/or differentiate yourself?
Price – What are the circumstances you need to consider when setting the price of your products?
- What is the value of your services to your potential clients?
- Are there established price points for your industries products or services in your geographic area?
- Are your clients prices sensitive? Will a small decrease in your pricing gain you additional market share or will a small increase in price go undetected and gain you extra profit margin?
- What discounts can you offer to specific segments of your market?
- How does your price matrix compare to that of your competitors?
Promotion – What are all the decisions you will need to make in order to promote the product and your business?
- Where, how and when can you get your marketing messages to your potential clients?
- Will you reach your prospects by direct mail, PR, social media or other means?
- When is the best time for you to do promotions?
- Does your industry have seasonality?
- How do your competitors promote their business and will this impact the promotional activities you choose?
This framework is a great starting point for your marketing focus but never lose touch of what I consider to be the most important for our pet owning clients. CTQ’s. Every activity you focus on in your marketing plan needs to fulfill a “critical customer requirement”. If you are not fulfilling these critical requirements then you are not converting prospects to customers for life!
Copyright Niki Tudge. DogNostics eLearning & Business Coaching