Grow your business in the new year: Marketing your way to millions

First, happy new year!  We are all filled with hope at the beginning of a brand new year.  Many of us have set goals for ourselves and our businesses.  I suspect that a lot of businesses out there have set a goal for growth–either revenue or customers/users.  How are you planning on growing your business?  This is a question I ask a lot when I talk to small business owners/start ups.   The answer I get all too often is “Oh its going to go viral!”  Well, I have news for you, just because you built it doesn’t mean they will come.  Yes, you/yourproduct(service) is as awesome as they come, no doubt but you have to have a plan to TELL people how fantastic you/yourproduct(service) is (are).   Here is where a great marketing plan comes in.

This will be the first in a series of posts analyzing key elements of a marketing plan.   We will begin by understanding the importance of market research and analysis.  This is a key step in any marketing plan.   By researching and analyzing current market conditions you can determine where your company stands in the market place.  This allows you to identify growth opportunities that exist. The following are key aspects:

Industry Analysis: Understanding your industry is key to ensuring you have positioned your business to be as competitive as possible.   The analysis consists of understanding the complexities of a particular industry and the market forces that impact it.   When doing research you should take into account economic, political and market factors that may impact the industry.  A good tool to use in analyzing the data is Porter’s Five Forces (more on this in a later post).

Competitor Analysis:  It is important that you understand your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.  This will allow you to understand your company’s position in the market place.  A great tool is competitor profiling.  By having deep knowledge of your rivals you will be able to determine gaps in the market.  Furthermore, you will be able to add value where the need exists.  Another advantage is that you will be better able to predict your competitors moves in the market and be prepared to meet the challenge.

Market Segmentation:  This allows you to determine the sub-set of the market that is more likely to buy/use your product/service.  Understanding your primary target market is key in being able to effectively reach potential new customers/users.  Segments are homogeneous and exhibit common needs.   They have the same worldview and respond similarly to market stimulation.  By knowing this information you can better customize your company’s value proposition, position statement and messaging.  Remember you can’t be all things to all people.  Knowing what segments of the market are already open to your message will save you invaluable time and a lot of money.

Ok, lets stop there for now.   I hope you have found this information helpful.  In coming posts, we will explore different aspects of the marketing plan, including consumer analysis, product strategy, internal company analysis and much, much more.

Please leave a comment or question. You can also find me on twitter @npersona.

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18 Responses to Grow your business in the new year: Marketing your way to millions

  1. Pingback: Beware of Invention Promotion Companies

  2. This is so important as a first step, but many small companies leave it till last or ignore it all together. Looking forward to your next posts.

  3. npersona says:

    That is very true!

  4. Steve Healy says:

    Very interesting post, marketing has always been a strong interest of mine but also the most challenging. My business ITS (www.itsis.co.uk) has grown in the past six years from word of mouth, i have made it my aim that 2012 will be about creating a strong marketing strategy and to really understand why customers have bought our services and how we have retained so many for such a long time.

    • npersona says:

      Hi Steve–Marketing is one of the most important business growth strategies and surprisingly, one of the least understood by many business owners. I think its great that understanding why your customers buy is one of your goals for 2012. Being able to target your customers is key to growing the customers that are truly profitable for you. I am a big believer in quality vs. quantity. Also, the 80/20 rule applies to a lot of businesses. It is important to identify the 20% of your customers that bring in the most profit and create a profile so you can bring in the most profitable customers possible. I would be more than happy to speak with you if you have any questions, my email is lorena.diaz@npersona.com and please continue to post on the blog. Its great to hear from readers and fellow business owners!

      Have a great 2012! Lorena

  5. Magia Malvar says:

    This is such a helpful article especially for owners of start-up businesses who are still looking at the whole marketing field in rose-colored glasses. We all need to be realistic and set realistic goals for our businesses. There should be no room for assumptions, especially when it comes to analyzing our competitors and identifying the needs of our clients. I’m looking forward to reading more tips from you. Any pointers on how to maintain a great business blog?

    • npersona says:

      Hi Magia! Glad to hear you liked it and found it useful! Thank you for your comment. As for your question, I think the best way to keep a great business blog is to write about your own experiences as a business owner. What work, what didn’t work and what you learned. Writing about your own experiences will help with establishing authenticity and building trust. These are essential in creating a strong brand–for more on branding see: http://bit.ly/rsaLXE
      Hope that helped! Feel free to ask more questions/comment and please pass a long the link to my blog to anyone that you think will benefit from it! have a great day! Feel free to email me directly with any questions at lorena.diaz@npersona.com and I am on twitter @npersona

  6. john says:

    Hi npersona,

    Great post, it gives me good info. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Emery Tamm says:

    very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

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