You've inadvertently launched your new business during a recession. Now what? Don't wait for clients to come to you, advises Tsabiso Letsoela, Sales and Marketing Executive for Vodacom's Emerging Markets. Here's how to plan your new business marketing strategy.
Making potential customers aware of your new business may be easier said than done. Being in the field yourself, you'll know where the fish are biting, but this may not always lead to business. "A flexible attitude and willingness to keep changing strategies is vital," says Letsoela. "Not all marketing strategies work the same for all businesses."
Step 1: Pricing Strategy
The pricing of your product or service takes some fine balancing and isn't always easy to get right. "The basic principal is to include all your overheads, not overestimating sales, while making prices attractive to customers," he continues. Check what competitors are offering and determine whether your unique offerings are worth more or less to a customer.
Step 2: Marketing Plan
The marketing plan is step one when starting any new business. "It has to be detailed, so spend as much time as possible on it," he continues. "This document is essential, as it's used to obtain financial backup." Whether your business can get off the ground with R500 or R1 million, you'll need a marketing plan.
Your plan should include:
– A cover sheet: It gives your business a professional look while stipulating who's behind the project, the business name, address and accounts officer.
– Summary of contents: One page to encapsulate the key points of the business providing the gist of the plan.
– Introduction: Clear statement outlining the nature of the proposed business.
– Market research: Summary of the target market, its size and assumptions made about them. Research implies using actual research to back up your assumptions.
– Advertising and promotions: Details of your planned advertising strategy and its cost.
– Premises: Where you business will operate from.
– Personnel: Credentials of directors, including qualifications and experience.
– Equipment: What vehicles and equipment will be required, who will be supplying them and their cost.
– Finances: Detail pricing, cash flow forecast, financial requirements and professional fees.
Step 3: Communicate Your Business
After determining your pricing strategy and planning your marketing, you'll need to communicate your business offering to the target customer. "This can be anything from giving out samples to advertising in newspapers and on radio and sending out press releases," says Letsoela. The type of business you're running will determine where you ‘communicate' – online companies should focus on banner ads instead of that prime time television spot.
Step 4: Distribution
"Distribution strategy is also important when marketing," he adds. "Where you place your product or service (where it will be sold from) says a lot about your service levels." Choose these wisely.