Both production and distribution play an equally important role in ensuring the success of any business. Marketing is one aspect of distribution. Without good marketing strategies, it would be impossible for a seller to target prospective customers. It makes the potential customer aware of the features of a product. In fact, big firms spend a lot on advertising and marketing, because they realize the importance of a customer being able to identify with a product. Small business firms, on the other hand, lack the resources for huge advertisement campaigns. They often face the problem of extinction, not because their products are obsolete or lack quality, but simply because of a dearth of ideas when it comes to marketing their products.
Online Marketing and Sales
The kind of strategy adopted by a firm would depend entirely on the nature of the product. Nowadays, small business firms try to capture the market by using the web for advertising as well as sales. However, the success of Internet marketing depends on the kind of products that people choose to buy online. Generally, products that have a good online market can be grouped into the following categories: books, music, electronic goods, and software. Books, music, and movies have a market share of 34%. Software has a market share of 30%, while the remaining 14% goes to electronic goods. If our business model involves the production and distribution of any of these items, we would be better off selling online.
There are a number of websites that not only allow small entrepreneurs to sell online, but also allow customers to provide seller ratings. This feedback mechanism helps in sales as well as marketing. Advertising is possible since potential customers get to read about the features of a product. Customer reviews and ratings again help in identifying a conscientious seller. Moreover, a seller can write a short feature about himself on some of these online sale sites. This helps the buyer and the seller to get acquainted. The seller can also create an account with these websites for a nominal subscription. Creating blogs and social networking sites are also useful ways of marketing such products.
Building Relations Through Community Service
Web-based marketing may not be the best option for people selling cakes, flowers, and other perishable items. The reason being, these items are generally purchased from the local mom and pop stores. This is when community service centers can come in handy. A small business can give away some products at charity events in order to build goodwill and a sense of kinship. These functions can provide an important platform for advertising. Building personal relations will also go a long way in case of such business models. One might be able to build a significant customer base by sponsoring a small charity drive. This might even result in a noteworthy mention in the local newspaper, and will serve as a sure-shot way in increasing sales.
Tapping on People's Emotions
A few years ago, my friend went to a mall with the intention of splurging on her new wardrobe. She was running her fingers through her hair time and again, hoping to somehow manage her unruly locks. This was when she was approached by a perceptive salesman who had gauged her weakness. He managed to sell a hair care product she had never even heard of and had no intention of buying. This experience serves to teach us the importance of focusing on emotions while trying to make a pitch. This is true for both sales as well as marketing.
Marketing a product does not have to be an expensive affair. Every small business should focus on the strategy that is best for its business. Providing discounts, giving live product demonstrations, and focusing on prospective customers can go a long way in marketing. These can also help achieve the twin objectives of marketing, viz. building awareness and sales.