In marketing, the ultimate goal is to convince customers to buy your products. However, before that can happen, you must learn about your clients and your products. When learning about customers, geographics, demographics, and psychographics must be taken into account. Geographics is where your prospects are, demographics is who your prospects are (age, sex, religion, race, income, marital status, etc.), and psychographics are who your customers are (what they like to do; ski, parasail, knit, sew, things like that). It is important to know your prospects in all three areas, so you know where to concentrate your advertising efforts.
An efficient way to mine all this information is by sending existing customers (most techniques require you to have existing customers) surveys asking them questions about who they are, what they like to do, and also, what they like and dislike about your business. Additionally, if you have a Web site (or your business is all online), you can send surveys through email. Another way to collect information is by only looking at the people who come into your business and listening to what they talk about. This helps you find out who they are as well as what they think about your business.
Once you’ve identified some common demographics, geographics, and psychographics for your customers, you need to advertise to people who aren’t customers, called your prospects individually, or, as a whole, your target market. Here’s an example: If you run a web design business, you wouldn’t advertise on unrelated websites, it would be wiser to advertise on sites dedicated to helping webmasters, and there you would offer your business as a solution to the problem of designing a good site. In this case, webmasters are you target market (in this case, demographics and geographics aren’t very important, only psychographics). If you know who your prospects are, you can better use your advertising funds by concentrating them on your prospects, instead of just advertising randomly and praying for results.
It is important to understand your product to most efficiently sell it completely. Most businesses think a price is the most important factor, but there are several other things people consider when looking at a product. Other things include the features, the quality, the cost (of course), ease of purchase, reliability, guarantees, and more. All of this adds up to the value of a product. All customers, when buying products, want to receive more value than they are paying for. That’s why it’s important to make sure your products are of the best quality, in all areas.
Sometimes, if a product’s price is too low (it’s too cheap), then people see the value as being lower. A product can get more sales if the price is higher! Still, it can’t be too high, because no matter how good your product is, if somebody beats you by lots of cash, the person will always turn to them. Price your products along the lines of your competitors, just make sure your value is higher than theirs, and you will always make the sale.
All products (except services) have life cycles. It starts with the product being developed (of course), and then being sold. Then, people start buying the product, and as time goes on, repeat purchases of the product and new sales. Soon, competitors start selling the products, and all businesses involved in the sale of the product start heavily promoting the product. Then the product reaches maturity, which is the phase when the most people are buying. Then the growth rate slows, substantial discounts are offered in order to encourage more purchases, overall sales decline, and finally the product is withdrawn from the market, or reinvented in some new and exciting way.
Many times, business that offers services, and performs the functions excellently, can do much better than a company that simply sells regularly items. Services are always needed, frequently, and it is easy to convert customers into repeat buyers if the business does a good job. If you run a business strictly selling physical objects, and business is down, consider expanding and allowing people to come to you for a particular service.