Arguably, the most important function of any business is marketing. To many people marketing just means selling, but it is far more than that. Making a product or providing a service is relatively straightforward. The hard part is ensuring that your potential customers are aware that you exist. It is essential, therefore, to prepare a detailed marketing plan - a plan of action. You need to define your overall marketing objectives, you need to identify your target market and you need to know what 'marketing mix' you will use.
Advertising can be costly and any business advertising for the first time must consider carefully the most cost-effective method. A suitable budget should be built into the business plan and its use monitored carefully for effectiveness and control.
All businesses need to advertise in some way. Word of mouth is advertising despite the fact that it cannot be planned or controlled. Advertising is also about image. Businesses must decide what image they want to present - trendy, organised, slightly up-market and so on. The primary way of putting this across is through advertising.
Digital marketing is the practice of promoting products and services using digital distribution channels to reach consumers in a timely, relevant, personal and cost-effective manner. Whilst digital marketing does include many of the techniques and practices contained within the category of Internet marketing, it extends beyond this by including other channels with which to reach people that do not require the use of the Internet. As a result of this non-reliance on the Internet, the field of digital marketing includes a whole host of elements such as mobile phones, sms/mms, display / banner ads and digital outdoor.
Direct marketing is any unsolicited contact your business makes with existing or potential customers in order to generate sales or raise awareness. For many businesses, it's by far the most cost-effective form of marketing.
According to PR guru Max Clifford, "public relations involves setting out and creating the best possible image for my clients in the press and media", but how can you use PR to the greatest effect in your business?
Conferences and Exhibitions provide a good opportunity for businesses to engage with potential customers face to face, maintain or enhance their profile, network and generate new business leads and feedback.
Business Cards are one of the simplest forms of marketing and promotion and an essential tool for networking with new and potential clients.
Getting people to hear about your business is arguably one of the toughest things when starting out as a new business as it can be expensive and targeting the right people can be difficult. We have asked some of our recent Shell Grand Ideas Award winners what different marketing strategies they have used and whether they have been successful or not.
2010 Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award-winners, Ben and Rosemary Scrimgeour give us their take on how to make it big in the business world.