Marketing is the management process for identifying and anticipating customer requirements profitably. All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs. Those setting up their own business should remember that profitable sales volume is more important than maximum sales volume.
There are four steps to successful marketing:
Market research may be carried out to determine the needs of potential customers
Analyze competitive advantages to develop a market strategy
Define your target market
Determine how to satisfy customer needs by identifying a market mix
1. Market Research
Before undertaking any research you need to be clear about what you want to find out. Here are some of the questions you might want your market research to answer:
What are your products/services? Is there a demand for your product/service?
What is the euro size of your markets? You need to assess the profitability of the sector which you intend to enter.
What is your sales and distribution setup?
What geographic area will you sell to? How critical is location to your business?
Profile your prospective customers – look at population, demographics, income levels, etc.
Study your competitors – who are they, how many are there, what are their strengths/weaknesses?
If you are able to answer these, and perhaps other questions satisfactorily, you should be in a position to estimate the amount of sales you are likely to achieve. The key question is will these sales be sufficient to allow you to operate a viable business?
Successful marketing requires timely and relevant market information. An inexpensive research program, based on questionnaires given to current or prospective customers, can often uncover dissatisfaction or possible new products or services.
Market research will also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. Population shifts, legal developments, and the local economic situation should be monitored to quickly identify problems and opportunities. It is also important to keep up with competitors' market strategies.
Conducting your market research:
Identity and define the problem – Defining objectives is highly important to a marketing campaign. A lot of time can be wasted performing market research on the wrong problem.
Analyse the situation – An analysis of the situation is an informal survey of what information is available in the problem area. It will help you prioritise the information you need. It is important to carry out secondary research before primary research, as an expensive primary research survey may be commissioned to provide information already available from secondary sources. Sources of information include:
Government agencies such as Enterprise Ireland (www.enterprise-ireland.com), Shannon Development (www.shannon-dev.ie), Údarás na Gaeltachta (www.udaras.ie), www.basis.ie, www.irlgov.ie
City and County Enterprise Boards (www.enterpriseboards.ie), Chambers of Commerce or Specialist Trade Associations
Local libraries, business magazines and journals, census information, banks, etc.
Pre-study field research – to ensure that you are seeking relevant information. Focus on facts, revert to your list of questions and see if you are answering them. Collecting interesting but irrelevant information is time-wasting
Data collection method - concept and test your questionnaire. Make sure that the questions are understandable and will give useful answers
Field research – Asking the questions. It is important to select a varied sample group. Do not base market research only on the opinion of friends and family. You may not get honest opinions.
Data processing – Analyse and interpret the information received
Reporting – Presenting the information. Research findings and conclusions should be acted upon and...
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