HOW TO CREATE EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS TO IDENTIFY PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS (PART 2)
The greater the demand is for your company’s products, the less effort your company will need to make to find new customers. But if your company has just started to do business, or if its products are new or rely on new technologies, your company may need to invest a substantial amount of its marketing resources to identify prospective customers and to qualify their needs and concerns.
In the past, a company’s primary marketing tools were media advertising, direct mail advertising, telephone selling, trade shows, and face-to-face selling. Today, other marketing tools such as demonstration centers, catalogue selling, and the Internet, can be used to help your company achieve total marketing domination.
Step 2: Evaluate your advertising and corporate communication plan
There are two promotional strategies that your company can use to market its products. A push strategy assumes that there is demand for your company’s products, and emphasizes personal selling to move your company’s products through its distribution channels to its customers. For example, your company might sell its products to distributors, who sell your products to resellers, who sell your products to customers.
A pull strategy uses advertising and other promotions to create demand for your company’s products. In this strategy, your promotion compels customers to seek out resellers to purchase your products. In this situation, resellers must ask their distributors to supply your products, and distributors must ask your company to provide products to supply their channel. It is usually less costly to market products using push strategy, but if demand for your company’s products is weak; your company may not be able to convince resellers to invest their resources to promote your company’s products.
Determining how much of your company’s marketing budget to invest in creating demand for your products is a perennial challenge. Depending on your company’s marketing strategy, and where your products are in their life cycle, it may be necessary for you to invest more or less than your industry’s average marketing budget to achieve business objectives.
People who know a company well are five times more likely to have a positive opinion about it. A positive opinion means preference, and buyer preference translates into sales. This is why companies invest billions of dollars each year to promote their products and their corporate image.
The key to creating effective advertising is to communicate the most compelling elements of your marketing story. And the “acid test” that you can use to evaluate your advertising is to ask whether it is clear, concise, and compelling and whether it answers “who, what, where, when, and why” a customer should do business with your company.
Most companies leverage their advertising budget advertising a product or product line until it has achieved a substantial level of customer acceptance. When a company’s product is known to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction, a quality brand has been established. At this point, a company can invest in image advertising to promote all of its products and services.
Advertising that communicates clearly “telegraphs” its message to your customers. The five common advertising mistakes most companies make are:
- Lack of focus – Presenting a confusing image.
- Telling an interesting story but failing to communicate the compelling reasons to do business with that company.
- Attempting to be artistic or clever and obscuring the compelling reasons to do business with that company.
- Attempting to communicate too much information.
- Not tracking results.
The key to evolving a successful advertising strategy is to track the results of your advertising on a regular basis. The easiest way to evaluate the payback on your advertising is to track the number of sales leads generated by your advertising campaign, and the amount of sales revenue that is generated from those leads.
And the easiest way to evaluate whether your advertising is influencing your customer’s perception of your company’s quality is with questionnaires and focus groups that measure the changes in your customers’ brand preference. Using these techniques will enable your company to evaluate whether or not its promotions are compelling, and whether its increasing advertising budget will help it build market share.
Step 3: Review Your Advertising Budget
Investing in marketing programs is like investing in the stock market.
- Don’t invest without a plan
- Approach new opportunities with caution
- Don’t invest all of your money in one “great” idea.
- Balance your investments between known winners and high-risk , high-return opportunities
- Evaluate your investments periodically to determine whether you are getting an acceptable return on your investment. If you don’t play, you can’t win.
Part 3 continues in the next article
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