Small and medium sized enterprises typically have very different requirements and capabilities to engage their target audience through Advertising and Marketing programs. Typically, most of these firms are limited by a heavy constraint in budget and cannot rollout the kind of marketing campaigns as MNCs do. Immediate returns on investment becomes crucial in considering not only the success of the advertising and marketing programs, but also a question of survival for small and medium businesses.
Here are few things your business may benefit from while planning on such a program. Give some thought to them.
- Have you selected your target audience? What is your estimated penetration (both maximum and minimum) of the total size of the target consumer segment? What is their estimated consumption pattern. What scope is there in repeated consumption and at what rate?
- Have you decided the marketing mix for your program? If not, you should read our article on the The 4 P’s of Marketing – The Marketing Mix strategies as a starter. If you are providing a service, do go through this article on services marketing.
- How do you differentiate with your advertising from that of your competitors? What incremental value do you provide to your customer segment? What is the comparative pricing scenario with your competitors and substitute products/services?
- Have you done any market research to find out the gaps in the needs of the target segment? Have you designed your product based on the needs of the target segment? A market research is a good risk mitigation strategy, and in very helpful, especially for small businesses, and needs to be done in house.
- Have you decided the budget and target returns on that expenditure on the marketing program? Is the estimated expenditure clearly demarked under multiple over heads? Do the estimated returns stand in accordance to your estimated penetration level post program implementation (point 1).
- Have you chosen the mediums such that there is a connect between the targeted segment while they are using the medium? Using a medium like Facebook while you are promoting an online dating website may work wonders, but if you use the same for a B2B (industrial) product or even a B2C product like local food joints/products, the same will not work.
- Have you thought of the implementation plans such that the intent to purchase may be converted to actual purchases? Many websites showcase items which the consumer gets interested about, but ultimately sale conversion doesn’t happen since the payment/check out options are not easily available on the website.
- What kind of strategy do you want to use? Would you prefer a PUSH strategy rather than a PULL strategy? Is your strategy sustainable and scalable in the long run, if you have similar plans. A PUSH strategy by increasing incentives at the point of sales (maybe at the shops/retail outlets) may work best if the target segment is local or the consumption point is locality specific. Expenditures on branding may not be necessary in that case since brand loyalty does not have incremental benefits.
- Is your strategy imitable? Can your competitors do what you are doing, better, and beat you at your game? Are you utilizing any capability/resource which is essentially core to your business and which your competitors may not have access to? Have you thought of customer retention services post sales?
- Last but not the least, is your marketing strategy in sync with the social and legal framework within which your business is expected to function. Have you checked out the legal requirements.
We hope that these simple guidelines help you to develop a great successful marketing and advertising program for your business. Do write to us if you want any suggestions.