DRAFT FOR COMMENT ONLY
Marketing is not Sales. Marketing is not Advertising. Marketing is the correlation of all the business functions to enable a competitive and successful position in the market for your business. So, let's start at the beginning.
The first key to marketing is to clearly define what you do. Ask yourself: who is my company and why am I in business?
Once you understand the answer to this question, you are on the way to undertaking the market activity.
Step 1 - Make Time to Plan
You must know your competition, its strengths and weaknesses, what your customers want and who they are, any gaps in the market (your market niche). Not to be lost in all this is the reason for running a business - profit not turn-over.
Step 2 - The Benefits Come First
Marketing is all about needs and benefits. It does not matter what you have to offer - it is what the customer wants that is important. All your marketing should be directed towards answering the customer's question 'What's in it for me?' You must distinguish between features and benefits.
Step 3 - Look for the Gaps - Niche Marketing
Unique products are rare and there is competition everywhere. It is a question of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the existing competition and yourself. Where do you fit in the marketplace? What can you offer that is a little bit different? As a small business, do not try and take on the whole market and every product, find a niche and service it well.
Step 4 - Build a Framework
You must sit down and examine what you are about. You need to be aware of your products or services, your potential or existing customers and how you are going to reach them, and the competition. Put simply, you will need to know:
• your products and services - what you can offer;
• the customers, present or potential;
• the competition, price levels and performance;
• area - geographical.
A good question to ask yourself is: 'Why should a client/customers come to my business?' If you cannot list the reason clearly and concisely you can be assured that neither can your potential customers.
Step 5 - SWOT Analysis
Once you have collected all the information, sit down and be totally honest with yourself and do a SWOT analysis.
The SWOT analysis is short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Under each heading in point form put your honest comment regarding your business and the market in which it will participate.
Step 6 - Goals and Objectives
Once you have a clear focus on where you are going, it is important you establish your marketing objectives for the business. Objectives are, for example:
• I will make $1M in turnover during 200x-200x;
• I will obtain a market share of Z;
• my margins will be X%;
• profitability will be Y%;
• I will spend 5% of sales on marketing.
It is useful to divide objectives into those that are a must and those that are desirable.
Where to Now?
The establishing of your marketing strategy is based upon what goals and objectives you have for your business.
The research and ideas stage is complete, so let's put it into action.
Step 7 - The Marketing Mix
Once you have a clear picture and focus of your business, it is now time to sit with 'pen and paper' and write a plan for the marketing action. The marketing mix is made up of:
1. price strategy;
2. promotion strategy;
3. product strategy;
4. distribution strategy.
1. Price - decide what pricing policy you should have and stick to it.
2. Promotion - there are many good books on promotion for small business. Ask at your local bookshop or library. Big and expensive promotion is not always successful. Do not attempt to start a business without either the funds or resources to undertake a promotion campaign.
3. Product - what product or service are you offering and can you differentiate the product by offering additional functions or services.
4. Distribution - how should you distribute your product? Consider: geography, method, cost.
Your cake is now complete. But is the marketing effort complete?
No. Now you must do two equally important functions.
Step 8 - Budget
Marketing is a cost to the business and must be budgeted for. All small businesses should work with their accountants and develop a cash flow budget.
Remember that most, if not all, marketing costs will carry 10% GST and this will need to be factored into your cash flow. You should also ensure that you obtain a Tax Invoice for any marketing costs, as you must hold a Tax Invoice to claim tax credits.
Step 9 - Controls
You must remember that marketing is planning for the future.
Regularly monitor the progress of your business to ensure you are on track. If, for example, your objective is for growth of 12% pa and you are not achieving at least 1% per month on a regular basis, there is a good chance you are not going to make it.
Take control on a monthly basis. Do not wait until the end of the quarter to hear from your accountant.
Liaise with your accountant, marketing consultant or Small Business Advisory Centre regularly to see how your plans are working.
Marketing is a continuous evolving function and requires constant research, monitoring and control of the activity to ensure long term success.
Want to Know More?
Want to know more about marketing, or where you can get help with marketing planning?
Many Small Business Advisory Centres deliver short, low cost workshops which will help you.
• 'How to Write a Business Plan' which deals with the strategic marketing approach; and
• 'How to Promote and Sell Your Products and Services' which is a 'how to do' practical workshop which complements the strategic approach in the Business Planning workshop.
Stokes, James Earning a Living in the Visual Arts and Crafts – Hale and Iremonger 1997
Craven, Robin E and Golabowski, Lyn J The Complete Idiots Guide to Meeting and Event Planning – Alpha Books 2001
Roll, Graham HSC Study Pack Business Studies – Marketing – Warringal Publications 2001
Hickey, Peter Business Planning – The Timesaving Guide to Business and Marketing Planning – Maus 1996 www.maus.com & www.manacom.com
Dickman, Dr Sharon Arts Marketing - the Pocket Guide - Centre for Professional Development 1997
Steidl, Dr Peter Marketing Strategies for Arts Organisations – Australia Council 1997 www.ozco.gov.au
Making it Happen – The Cultural and Entertainment Industries – Centre for Professional Development 1996
Hodge S, James J, Lawson A Miles Ahead: Arts Marketing that Works in Regional Australia – Australia Council Sydney 1998 www.ozco.gov.au
Establishing a Small Business – Marketing – NSW Department of State and Regional Development 2002 www.business.nsw.gov.au
communitybuilders.nsw – working together to strengthen communities NSW Government 2002 www.communitybuilders.nsw.gov.au
Making Dollars and Sense of Community Events 2002. NSW Department of State and Regional Development – Lake Macquarie City Council 2002 www.lakemacquarie.nsw.gov.au
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Community Information Services
Department of Sport and Recreation
Department of State and Regional Development
Fuel 4 Arts
Regional Arts NSW e-Bulletin
Regional Arts NSW e-Bulletin
- Also see:
- State Government Arts Sites