Improving your competitiveness

Do you continue to search for new products and services? If you don't have durable marketable products, you will not build up and more importantly, retain a customer base.

Profile your competition

How well do you know the other businesses that compete for your customers? Who exactly other competitors, and what are their strengths and weaknesses? You should gather as much information as you can on the marketing and communication strategies, types of advertising, their products and services, prices, and how they take advantage of market trends, And changes in the industry.

Analyse market opportunities

Market research is essential. Assemble information about your business's current and potential markets, about the consumers of your products and services, and about those areas where your business has a competitive advantage when it comes to introducing and improving new products and services or entering new markets.

If your business is a small to medium business enterprise (SME), research tells us that almost 75% of your customers will come from within a 10-km radius of your business to buy from you.

Target your market

Based on the information you have gathered, and other skills and resources of your business, you should now be able to select specific target markets.

You're not in the mass marketing business (i.e. You don't offer your products to everyone out there), then that you are in a position to pinpoint those segments of the market at which your products and services should be targeted.

Develop an appropriate marketing mix

Your preliminary research will now unable you to consider the traditional 4P's of marketing. This is the set of controllable variables that all businesses attempt to blend into the right combination to achieve a dominant position in the marketplace.

The four key factors are:

  1. Price (what other price points for your products/services?)
  2. Product (how many types of products/services will you have?)
  3. Promotion (how will you create a demand for your products/ services?)
  4. Place (where will the location of your business be? Shop? Home? Online?)

In the long run the success you have in addressing these four components Will determine your ultimate success in the marketplace. Only objective research will give realistic feedback when your customers needs in the when your customers needs and values.

Develop a strategy for publicising your product

If you have products and services people want, and they are prepared to pay to these, then your next step is to bring these to the people's attention. You will need to develop a strategy to address advertising and promotion of the products/ services, new product launches, sales campaigns, and distribution policies.

How can you get value for your advertising dollar? Are there more cost effective ways to promote your products, should you be using more than one method. With the exception of new products, look to promote and advertise over the 'lean periods' of the year with existing products to supplement otherwise low sales periods.

Review of your performance regularly

Unless you monitor the progress of your marketing plan, you will run the risk of not finding out until it's too late the plan is not working. Analyse and review sales results constantly to ensure t targets are being achieved along with expectations. Amend your plan accordingly in the light of your findings and analysis.