This blog is the first in a series designed to help the small to medium business understand what they can and cannot expect when hiring a marketing company. This first offering will provide a quick overview of marketing research, strategy and planning.
Companies spend thousands of dollars to conduct marketing research, with the goal of better defining a strategy and creating a plan to implement. Marketing research may include focus groups, one-on-one interviews, phone surveys and sometimes testing the product or service to a smaller group before sending it out the masses. This type of research helps companies solve challenges or problems up front, as well as discover valuable information on the needs and wants of consumers.
After research has been completed, they can develop a marketing strategy, which is a comprehensive plan that encompasses their marketing goals. The strategy will ensure that a company’s messaging addresses the consumer’s needs in order to reach the ideal audience and eventually turn them into customers. The road between introduction of a product or service to purchase depends upon many factors! Some purchases may be more of an impulse buy, while others may take research and planning. The strategy then determines the marketing plan.
A marketing plan outlines advertising and marketing efforts. It takes into account the audience and their needs/wants, as learned from the research, as well as the company’s messaging, as created in the strategy. The plan will provide a blueprint for the types of content and messaging, where these items will be pushed out and how – email, social media, advertising, blog, direct mail, publicity and more.
That said, even those with small budgets can still go to market. Hundreds of companies across the globe, including our company 100th Monkey, have been able to grow steadily each year, even without spending thousands of dollars on research, strategy and planning.
In lieu of a large marketing budget, patience is required. Through marketing, mini versions of research, strategy and planning can take place. We start with talking to you to get a sense of who you are and what you do. We will ask about past marketing hits and misses, what your clients look like, who you are looking to attract, the types of content you currently create and the types of marketing you currently utilize.
From there we will begin to craft your messages and send these messages out via your social media and other marketing channels. We suggest a mixture of posts that speak to the company’s mission, as well as the where, what, how, who and whats of the business. Since social is a two-way street, it provides us with a bit of marketing research each and every day as we see first-hand the messages and posts that receive the most attention. Over time, more and more can be learned, all of which leads to better messaging, strategies and planning.
Don’t let your budget keep you from participating in marketing, but also know what to expect. When your expectations do not align with your available budget, it tends to create frustration, and no one needs that. Instead, realize that you are spreading the thousands of dollars over time and with each post, each email, each newsletter, etc., you are conducting marketing research that will allow for an ever better understanding of the marketing strategies and plans to put in place.
We can help! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!