39 Wrentham Drive Medford, NJ 08055 609-636-9893 HarryHecht@gmail.com www.linkedin/in/harryhechtThe Leader. The Expert. The Source.Marketing Strategy? You May Be Throwing Your Money Away....Dealer Principals should avoid a reactionary marketing approach and strategically examine their business toensure the best use of valuable resources.Ive been spending a lot of time meeting with executives from small- to mid-market businesses todiscuss their current marketing approaches and goals. In many instances, they already have adefined what types of services they desire (i.e. ad development, PR sales coverage, websiteredesign, social media platforms, etc), although when I inquire about why they need, forexample, a Twitter account, they have no reason other than "that‟s what my competition is doing."That may be the case... or it may not. Just because it‟s the „cool” thing to do, doesn‟t mean youshould copy it. Small businesses in particular need to be strategic in their marketing approach toensure every last valuable dollar is spent in the most effective and productive way possible. This isimpossible to do without spending a bit up front to conduct some basic research of your market - inother words, determine where you currently stand, and where you want to go.According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), conducting a market analysis, "is theprocess of analyzing data to help you understand which products and services are in demand, andhow to be competitive. Market research can also provide valuable insight to help you:* Reduce business risks* Spot current and upcoming problems in your industry* Identify sales opportunitiesThe SBA continues on to outline the components of an effective analysis:Industry Description and Outlook – Describe your industry, including its current size andhistoric growth rate as well as other trends and characteristics (e.g., life cycle stage, projectedgrowth rate). Next, list the major customer groups within your industry. Are you a B2b and retailplayer, or do you focus on major accounts, government and schools?Information About Your Target Market – Narrow your target market to a manageable size.Many businesses make the mistake of trying to appeal to too many target markets. Research andinclude the following information about your market:Distinguishing characteristics – What are the critical needs of your potential customers? Arethose needs being met? What are the demographics of the group and where are they located? Arethere any seasonal or cyclical purchasing trends that may impact your business?
39 Wrentham Drive Medford, NJ 08055 609-636-9893 HarryHecht@gmail.com www.linkedin/in/harryhechtSize of the primary target market – In addition to the size of your market, what data can youinclude about the annual purchases your market makes in your industry? What is the forecastedmarket growth for this group?How much market share can you gain? – What is the market share percentage and number ofcustomers you expect to obtain in a defined geographic area? Explain the logic behind yourcalculation.Pricing and gross margin targets – Define your pricing structure, gross margin levels, and anydiscount that you plan to use. Are you a “Nordstrom” or a “Walmart”. Price accordingly so yourvalue is clear.Competitive Analysis – Your competitive analysis should identify your competition by productline or service and market segment. A plan of attack that clearly communicates and defines yourdifferential is important, so that your sales organization can bring this to light on their approachmeetings.In addition, you should also define what types of marketing activities your top competitors aredoing, and doing well. Once youve gathered this information, you can then develop a plan forreaching new customers. It may involve an email newsletter, twitter account, or it may not, butwithout looking at the relative data, youll never know for sure. As a successful business owner,why would you ever spend money on a guesstimate?Market and business planning isnt just for start-ups, its also for those businesses who have neverundertaken the planning process. If it has been more than two years, most likely the market mayhave changed, it may be time to do a SWOT analysis. Just because youve been successful to datedoesnt mean you wont benefit from strategic planning - and my bet is that youll find ways tobetter spend your marketing dollars that you may have never considered.In summary, "business without market research is like stepping out onto a tightrope withoutbothering to check the tightness of the knots that are holding the rope in place or if there is a safetynet. You‟re halfway across when the knots loosen, the rope wobbles; you lose your balance,and……you know the rest.About the AuthorHarry Hecht, Business Coach and Consultant, has over than 32 years of industry small business operationalexperience. His successful track record includes a 22 year distinguished career as the Vice President US Dealer Salesfor Konica Minolta Business Solutions and 5 years as VP/ General Manager for Global Imaging Systems, a XeroxCompany. Harry Hecht is an active member of the MPSA has been actively involved for over 10 years in thedevelopment, creation, implementation and growth of Managed Print Services programs throughout the independentdealer channel. www.harryhecht.weebly.com