"Social media is a conversation … it’s a way to find out what your customers want, to engage with your target market … if you’re not there already, give it a go, try … look at your market, where are they online? Build social media into your everyday activities."
The philosophy behind marketing is to satisfy the needs of your customers while making a profit for your business. The idea is that, if you make your customers happy, they will buy from you – not just once, but again and again. And they’ll tell their friends – starting a virtuous cycle of expanding sales.
Because, not to put too fine a point on it, business is all about sales. No sales, no business!
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and creativity of marketing, forgetting the purpose of what you are doing.
The key elements of marketing are:
- The 4Ps of the ‘marketing mix’ – product, place, price and promotion
- The 3Ps of service – people, process and physical evidence
- Customer service
Combined, these should lead you to a marketing plan, which in turn should lead to a sales forecast – your best estimate of the sales you expect to make in the coming year and how you will achieve them.
Re-visit your market research to ensure you understand your customer and your competition. You need to understand who your customers are, what they really want to buy and why they buy from you and not from your competitors. This is critical to developing your marketing plan.
Next consider the ‘marketing mix’ – the 4Ps: product, place, price and promotion –and also the 3Ps of service: people, process and physical evidence.
Within ‘product’, focus not just on the core product but on the ‘surrounds’ – the elements, often tiny, that create added value in the mind of the customer. For example, consider signing each craft piece that you make; numbering them so that each is unique and the customer is buying one of a limited edition; framing or boxing items so they appear more valuable; or telling the story behind the item’s creation.
In ‘place’, think of how you reach your customers – directly through your own studio/gallery or online, indirectly through exhibitions and retail outlets.
‘Price’ follows naturally from ‘place’, since reaching your customers indirectly means that the retailer must be compensated, while if you save their commission by selling direct you now bear all the costs of marketing yourself.
For cost-effective ‘promotion’, look at public relations (PR) before exhibitions or paid for advertising.