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-- Marketing 101
By Barb Headrick
How do you make company owners aware that you operate a
service-oriented firm? How do you convey to your clients
the strong moral convictions by which you conduct your
business? How do you share your "Mission Statement"?
The answer is not simple, but has become increasingly
obvious to those seeking to make a living by either
self-employed means or as an integral part of any firm,
whether large or small -- a commitment to perform some
form of direct marketing and/or long-range business
These are the 90's .. a time of extreme competitiveness,
tighter company budgets, and downsizing. So how do you
maintain your sales volume from the previous year and/or
grow to your desired or anticipated potential? The
answer, again, is "marketing" - the present-day buzz word
for "advertising" and/or "selling" your services.
The term "marketing" has become relatively commonplace,
but the concept requires much more. Marketing, by
definition and by nature, is a long-term proposition. It
requires a strong commitment to time, energy, and expense
to perform the far-reaching steps required to undergo and
successfully perform a comprehensive marketing program. The
logical first step is a "plan". Without a marketing plan,
you become "reactive" to the marketplace, and may spend
extra dollars to "advertise" your services or plan a
one-time expensive media splash. With the onset of a total
marketing program, however, you can plan well in advance
what monies will be spent and what expectations may
reasonably be realized.
The road to a marketing plan begins with one step - a goal.
It may be to increase sales by a reasonable percentage or
simply obtain long-term employment. Whatever your goal, it
is generally attainable through hard work and commitment.
Marketing provides the avenue to guide you toward your
projected goal and make the best use of your advertising
What works for retailers, doctors, or accountants, however,
may not necessarily work for your business or service. You
aren't advertising a "close-out" sale, weren't recommended
by the local medical bureau, and can't help your client save
on his quarterly taxes. What, then, will bring new
customers to your door?
As with all services, relationships must be established; in
many cases, you are attempting to replace a firm or product
with which the customer is familiar or even satisfied.
Customer satisfaction and/or service is critical - taking
care of your client's needs, meeting his time frames, and
working within his established budget are all critical for
repeat opportunities. But, again, how do you get that client
in the first place?
Some firms employ a Director of Marketing or a full division
of marketing specialists to perform the critical sales calls,
brochure preparation, and media notices. Some hire outside
professionals, such as an advertising agency, for mailing
Working as an independent consultant, home-based business or
sole proprietor, however, means that you, alone, are the sole
marketer for your firm (you). That means you are responsible
for "The Plan, The Data Base, The Cold Calls, The Follow-up".
You don't have a team to call upon to undertake your
marketing needs. Yet, you seek the same result -- increased
awareness of your capabilities, specialties, and expertise.
Effectiveness is measured by increased activity, thereby
creating increased project opportunities, which in turn
creates increased sales volumes. The path is clear ... some
form of salesmanship is necessary to compete in today's
Obviously, any service industry depends upon building and
establishing relationships with potential clients. How do you
make them aware that your services are the ones they should
use -- regardless of whether your rates are lower than others,
higher than others or simply competitive? Of course, the
bottom line is their primary consideration .. so how do you
convince them to use your services and/or products, and to
change to you from another firm?
We, in Marketing, believe the answer is to initiate and utilize
the "plan". YOU know you are credible, well-informed,
experienced, responsive, and service-oriented. Now let them
know, too. Getting from Point "A" to Point "Z" requires
commitment, time, and money.
Marketing -- Business Development -- Advertising -- Sales --
whatever you choose to call it --creates the avenue for end
users to "beat a path to your door."
Barbara Headrick, has been self-employed for twelve years,
owning and operating Headrick Marketing Services, an outside
consulting firm which specializes in marketing & business
development of small firms. She has written a booklet called,
Marketing 101, A Guide to Marketing Your Own Firm and conducts
seminars on this topic. In addition to her marketing
consultations, she also promotes various items on the internet,
including Cloth 2001 -
emu oil products - http://www.baxsie.com/purpleemu/ and
coffee - email@example.com.
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Tags: Sales and Marketing