Too Much Like Work?

In Marketing Planning on October 1, 2011 by John Kenmuir

I don’t encounter too many small or mid-sized businesses with a real, written marketing plan. There are a litany of excuses tendered but let’s get rid of four of the top myths about Marketing Planning.

1. It will be a book-length novel. OK, it takes more than the back of a cocktail napkin but 10 pages or less is not out of the question.

2. Its too complicated. Maybe you operate in different geographical markets, have different products or services, multiple channels or customer segments. If the task of planning for all variables at the same time is too onerous, prioritize and then divide the process into manageable chunks.

3. It will be carved in stone when I need flexibility. Marketing is a dynamic process. Your plan is something to refer to often and to refine and update regularly.

4.  It will cost a lot of money.  Getting professional assistance on marketing planning will probably cost you less than a financial audit and likely have more impact on your business success.

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Don’t Reinvent the Market Research Wheel

In Market Research on August 1, 2011 by John Kenmuir

Credible, comprehensive market research on the size, makeup and characteristics of a given market can be time consuming, complicated and expensive, with costs often counted in the tens of thousands. At the same time market due diligence is central to good marketing planning and business strategy development.

The prohibitive costs associated with needed market research poses a dilemma for small to medium-sized enterprise. Depending upon the product or service in question, there is a solution; buy a copy of a standing report from a marketing research vendor. There are a number of online organizations that offer both downloadable and hard copy serice. Two such online examples are: www.freedoniagroup.com and www.marketresearch.com. Both allow you to browse available research by industry sector or product/service.

Copies of studies that might have cost tens or even hundreds of thousands to generate can be purchased in full for a few thousand. In some instances you can purchase sections of a study for less still. So, do your homework; cost is likely not an excuse to avoid it.

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Tweet This!

In Online Marketing on July 12, 2011 by John Kenmuir

“I’m here in Fenway watching the Safeway truck unload and you shoulda seen the size of the pomegranate they just dropped”. OK, maybe I exaggerate, but what I am missing about not being interested the mostly banal comings, goings and observations of people I barely know? Why would they be interested in mine?

Us older types don’t really use social networks much because we just don’t get it. OK, I admit maintaining a Facebook page so I can monitor the activities of my twenty-something daughter (geesh, don’t you own any tops without plunging necklines, I’ve never met that boy before…..). One thing I do get, is that for non geezer/boomer audiences, social media marketing has come of age.

Doubt the serious of it? Meet Scott Monty, VP of Social Media for Ford Motor Company: http://www.scottmonty.com/ As you’ll see, these guys aren’t kidding. Scott’s blog is a useful reference to learn about social media marketing plus as you might imagine, the internet is littered with other factoids and guides that can help you.

If you target younger consumers, better get with the program and educate yourself on going viral. A little bird told me.

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Test Marketing- De-Risk New Product Introduction

In New Product Introduction on June 1, 2011 by John Kenmuir

Seven out of 10 new product introductions fail. This includes entries from the packaged goods industry who have bigger marketing departments than many companies have total employees, multi-million dollar advertising budgets and hundreds of thousands of distribution points. Not surprisingly, it is this sector who pioneered test marketing – the risks of failure on a national scale for them are just too large.

Despite the well documented risks of new product introduction, time and again I’ve encountered industries who, armed with what seems like a good idea, blow their brains out from sea to shining sea in one fell swoop, only to be badly mauled by the result. Many a good product idea has fallen victim to poor or over-ambitious introduction.

A test marketing program replicates a full national or regional program, normally in one or two metro markets. The product is launched with all the marketing and promotion bells and whistles that would normally be associated with a national launch. This can make some production costs seem very high given a relatively low universe of potential customers for the test; however, these costs are nothing compared to the cost of failure on a national scale. Test marketing allows you to identify mine fields without mortal danger, project and calibrate with confidence and fine tune products and plans, as nothing is ever perfect out of the starting gates.

On one end of the scale, test marketing enables you to avoid large scale disasters and on the other, it is certain to lever up your chances for success with a roll out. Think you’ve got a better mousetrap? Take a baby step first to make sure the market agrees.

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