As published in the “Orange County Register,” reprinted with permission
If you firm is looking to expand into new markets, consider these five steps from the outset:
(1) Evaluate your situation. Are your current market segments unprofitable? Is there not enough growth potential? Or are you just ineffective in your marketing and sales activities? Before launching into new targeted markets, take time to figure out if your marketing efforts are actually the reason behind your failure with existing markets. If you continue the same unproductive practices, your future targeted marketing will likely be futile.
(2) Develop objectives before starting. The saying is true: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Develop reasonable objectives for revenue growth, profitability, market share penetration, increased image, etc. Make sure that you have an adequate amount of human and financial resources to support achieving these objectives.
(3) Define your targeted markets. Far too many small to mid-size businesses lack a clear definition of their targeted market. For example, don’t say that all of Orange County is your targeted market. You must be more precise. With over 100,000 businesses and 3.1 million people in Orange County alone, most smaller businesses cannot truly serve nor market to all of the county. For businesses, consider criteria such as industry, location, purchasing needs, price threshold, etc. For individuals/consumers, consider demographics, geographic location, and other factors that can drive customers to you.
(4) Select the right marketing tools. Since marketing is based upon the needs and wants of your market, a single approach will not work for everyone. While this seems obvious, too many business owners fall prey to the latest fads in marketing, instead of carefully determining what will be suitable for their targeted market. For example, print advertising may be a great revenue generator for one type of business but an abysmal failure for another. Informative brochures and printed sales materials may be absolute essentials for some, while a website is the answer for another. A savvy marketing professional can help you to choose what is best.
(5) Implement your program professionally! Don’t make the mistake of choosing the right tool (e.g., direct mail) but then employing it in a useless manner (i.e., cheap, low budget). Always maintain the same high quality in your marketing as you deliver in your service or product