By M. Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant
This post is part of a series taken from M. Dana Baldwin’s article Marketing: A Key to Long Term Success published in Compass Points February 2002. In Part One, we introduced the series and discussed What is marketing? In Part Two, we discussed taking the long view. In Part Three, we discussed What is included in the marketing effort? In Part Four we will discussed What Next? In this post we will discuss What about longer term goals for marketing?
What about longer term goals for marketing? The classic elements of marketing are very important, too. But, you must be able to afford them, or to figure ways around the obstacle of cost. Example: Knowledge of your customers is a key to knowing what they will need in the future. Market research can be expensive, but there are some ways around some of the expense. One possibility is to have a local business school do some research for your company. Sponsoring a graduate business school student will often help both parties. It will also provide you with some positive publicity, and the results should be helpful in your overall marketing approach.
Knowledge of your competition is also important. There are some inexpensive ways to gain some knowledge of your competitors. Call your competitor and ask for general information. The purpose is to see if you can determine how well inquiries are handled. Also, you will be able to see how nicely telephone contacts are managed, and how courteous or abrupt the initial contact is. Attend trade shows and conventions, and shop your competitors. Look up your competitors in the leading directories for your industry to see what they are advertising, and what they are not advertising. The internet is a good tool for research. Spend some time in your competitors’ websites. You can learn a lot from what they are telling their public. Talk to their competitors. It can be surprising how much you might learn from one competitor about another. All of these are relatively inexpensive and can be quite enlightening.
In the last part of this series we will discuss What role does advertising play in marketing?
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M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: email@example.com
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