The secret to successful marketing is understanding the needs, demands and wants of your target customers before your competition can; provide customers with products and services that will meet those needs, demands and wants; and providing customers with service, convenience and value to keep them coming back.
Marketing is the process of creating and delivering desired goods and services to customers and involves all activities associated with winning and retaining loyal customers. Unfortunately, there appears to be a significant gap between sound marketing principles and actual marketing practices among small businesses.
A study of the business practices of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Businesses reveals many weaknesses. For example, the study reports that 55% of small business owners say their businesses don’t need marketing because their products and services sell themselves. The unfortunate result is that most business owners devote little time, energy, or resources to marketing their business. No product or service “sells itself”, and insufficient marketing efforts are a common cause of small business failure.
The marketing function concerns the entire company, affecting all aspects of its operations – from finance and production to hiring and purchasing – as well as the ultimate success of the business. As the competition for customers becomes more intense, entrepreneurs must understand the importance of developing creative marketing strategies; their success and survival depend on it. A marketing plan is not just for the mega-operations competing in international markets. Although they are small and cannot match the marketing budgets of their biggest rials, entrepreneurial businesses are not helpless when it comes to developing effective marketing strategies.
Using guerrilla marketing strategies – an unconventional, inexpensive creative technique – small businesses can get as much or more of a “bang” from their marketing budget. Guerrilla marketing is the create the use of new or unconventional methods in order to drive sales or attract interest in a brand or business. These methods are often inexpensive or free and involve the widespread use of more personal interactions or via viral messages on social media. It is an advertising strategy in which a company uses surprise and / or unconventional interactions in order to promote a product or service.
An effective marketing campaign does not forcing an entrepreneur to spend a large amount of money, but it takes creativity, ingenuity, and an understanding of customers’ buying habits.
Entrepreneurs can create a Guerilla marketing plan by answering these questions:
- What is the purpose of your marketing? In other words, what action do you want your customers or prospects to take as a result of your marketing efforts? Should they visit your store? Go to your business site? Call a toll free number for more information?
- What main benefit can you offer to customers? In other words, what is your company’s competitive advantage and what is it doing for customers? Guerrilla marketers express their company’s competitive advantage as a solution to a customer’s problem, which is easier to market than just a positive advantage. Successful guerrilla marketing requires an entrepreneur to have a clear understanding of a company’s Unique Selling Point (USP), a key customer advantage of a product or service that sets it apart from its competition.
- Who is your target market? Who are you targeting your marketing efforts at? Answering this question often requires basic research on your target customers, their characteristics, habits and preferences. Guerrilla marketers know that broadcasting is old school; they find that “targeted dissemination” – by focusing their marketing efforts on the people most interested and likely to buy their goods and services – is much more effective and efficient. Most small businesses have more than one target market; make sure you identify them all.
- What marketing tool will you use to reach your target audience? This list should only include the tools that your business understands, knows how to use effectively, and can afford. The good news is that marketing tools don’t have to be expensive to be effective.
- What is the niche of your business in the market? In other words, how do you plan to position your business against the competition? Guerrilla marketers understand that their marketers are crowded with competitors, some of them much bigger with gigantic marketing budgets that eclipse theirs, and that finding a profitable niche to fill can be very profitable. Many successful entrepreneurs position their businesses in profitable niches. The key is to carve out a position that sets your business apart from all of its competitors.
- What is the identity of your company in the market? The identity of a company is the reflection of its personality, of its DNA. Small businesses often have an advantage over large corporations when it comes to communicating their identity because of the interesting and unique stories behind their creation and the enthusiasm and passion of their founders. Clients like to do business with small businesses that have a clear, meaningful and compelling identity in the market.
- How much money are you going to spend on your marketing; in other words, what is your marketing budget? Entrepreneurs need to decide how much they intend to invest in their marketing efforts, an amount they typically express as a percentage of sales. The good news is that many of the guerrilla marketing techniques that small businesses can use are either inexpensive or free. When allocating their budget, guerrilla marketers recognize the importance of putting their money where they will get the biggest “bang”
Answering these seven questions will give you insight into your business marketing plan. The implementation of a guerrilla marketing plan comes down to two essential elements:
- Have a thorough understanding of your target market, including what customers want and expect from your business and its products and services.
- Identify the obstacles that prevent you from satisfying your customers (competitors, entry barriers, process, outside influence, budget, knowledge and others) and eliminate them.
A good Guerilla Marketing Plan reflects a business’s understanding of its customers and recognizes that satisfying them is the foundation of any business. Its purpose is to build a strategy for a business – but from the customer’s point of view. Indeed, the customer is the central actor in the casting of every business – but from the customer’s point of view. Indeed, the customer is the central actor in the casting of each commercial enterprise.
However, the Guerilla marketing plan should achieve four goals;
- It should identify the specific target markets that the small business will serve.
- He should determine the customer’s needs and wants through market research
- He must analyze the competitive advantages of the company and build a guerrilla marketing strategy around them.
- This should help create a marketing mix that meets the needs and wants of customers.