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By Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi, LLB, PhD

We often see Sales and Marketing synonymous to each other. But these are different terms and process. Marketing is a wider term which also includes Sales. According to Management Guru Peter Drucker “Marketing is an art by which you can sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo on the north Pole.”

Before starting a marketing and frame a plan, we require research data to formulate a good marketing plan and strategies. Marketing that is successful usually requires timely and relevant market information, in other words, results of marketing research. An inexpensive marketing research program, which is based on questionnaires that are filled up be current or prospective customers of the product or service, can often uncover dissatisfaction or in fact may bring forth insights that might lead to the formulation of new products or services.

Marketing research also helps in identifying the trends that affect sales and profitability. In order to map these changing trends, it is necessary to track the population shifts, legal developments, and the local economic situation. This helps in quickly identifying the problems and opportunities. Marketing Research also serves the purpose of keeping up with competitors’ market strategies.

Marketing Research also helps in a wide variety of business decisions involving a range of areas. Business information is required to make sound decisions and to prepare a credible business plan and cash flow forecast.

Some of the important business decisions that a market research helps and aids is product line, choice of a good location, sales projections, pricing strategy, where to advertise, offering credit, how much capital might be required, how much floor space might be required, how much inventory might be ordered, how much equipment and supplies would be required, how many employees to be hired, etc.

In marketing research, surveys and focus groups represent more formal ways of getting insight from your customers. In case you have a specific information requirement and a definable audience, it is likely that you can undertake a useful survey.

The challenge of conducting an efficient marketing research is to design a non-biased questionnaire, as it requires great attention to detail. There are many good books available on questionnaire design and initiating a survey.

And if the survey is meant to assist with a costly decision, you may want to consider hiring a professional marketing research firm.

Marketing Research is valuable for generating new concepts, getting feedback on proposed advertising or gaining insight into attitudes and opinions about a new product. Focus groups require a skilled interviewer and hand picked participants. Professional marketing research firms can be hired to tackle the project for you.

Marketing strategies

There are only three essential factors that marketing strategies should satisfy in order to reach the end of growing your business. The three essential marketing strategy factors are as listed and explained below:

  • Increase the number of customers
  • Increase the average transaction amount, and
  • Increase the frequency of repurchase.

 

Every marketing strategy that is implemented by a company should be analyzed and measured by its ability to directly impact and improve upon each of the above listed three factors.

Increasing only one of the above listed factors will produce linear business growth. However increasing all three factors will ensure a geometric business growth.

 

Increase the number of customers:

Increasing the total number of customers is usually the very first step that most business owners and managers resort to in order to grow their business. However, this strategy can backfire because losses can occur when inexperienced sales personnel are put in charge of designing and implementing a marketing program.

If executed efficiently and cost effectively, basic marketing strategies always produce new prospects who are ready, willing and able to buy products or services. The main purpose of any marketing strategy is to generate new prospects that the sales personnel can convert into paying customers.

Customers more value via additional products or services at the point of sale that business owners can take to increase their average transaction amount.

 

Increase the frequency of repurchase:

A customer’s repeat business is usually only earned by the business that gives the customers what they want. Without putting in place basic marketing strategies or processes for consistently offering customers more of what they want, the repeat business is earned less frequently.

 

Sales Marketing

Sales marketing specialists, or sales representatives are people who sell products to wholesalers, retailers or consumers. The usually do this on a commission basis. Sales Marketing executives usually call on customers, demonstrate their products, point out salable features, answer questions and forward orders.

Some of the sales marketing representatives also sell intangible services rather than tangible products. Opportunities for services sales marketing representatives and financial services sales marketing representatives are growing at a dramatic rate in India.

 

What types of skills are required?

The job requires skills in communication; buyer behavior, human relations, business management, accounting and economics are required for positions in sales marketing.

Where are they employed?

Sales marketing specialists usually work in a variety of manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing environments. Most of them also work in the service sector in India as well.

Whether it comes to presenting benefit information in front of prospective clients or creating a brochure that catches their attention, talented, knowledgeable employees who are focused on presenting the best possible product to the customer are generally employed as Sales Marketing Executives.

Sales marketing representatives usually play the lead role in getting the word out to potential and existing customers. The regional sales offices employ sales marketing reps who work with agents, brokers and companies around the country.

If you have excellent written and oral communication skills and enjoy partnering with others to meet their goals, you can be an integral part of the any company’s sales marketing support/communication process.

If you can balance a high level of creativity with the ability to comprehend technical information and apply business concepts quickly, then you’ve got what it takes to be a successful sales marketing executive in India.

 

Direct Marketing

Normal response to direct marketing is only about 1 to 2 percent. Unless you’re selling a really high-ticket item, it is very difficult to recoup the cost of direct marketing let alone make a profit. With direct marketing, there are times the possible problems of implementation are as follows

-The targeted people are wrong people, and the direct marketing effort was ignored.

-The design/layout of the direct marketing piece didn’t attract the attention of the recipient and wasn’t opened.

-The piece itself was not motivational or clear enough and was tossed.

-The offer was badly timed and moot.

There is a high possibility that if you might have used the same ad in the trade magazine, you probably might have had the right audience at that time. However there might be a possibility that the ad itself, whether in the magazine or through direct marketing in the direct-mail piece, may be to blame.

When conducting a direct marketing exercise, it is important to ask yourself these questions:

-What’s the product’s benefit to the consumer-what need or desire does the product fill? And whether you emphasized that benefit in the direct marketing clearly and in a strong way?

-How is your product superior to that of your competitors? Is it higher quality? Less expensive? More convenient to buy or use? Is it one of a kind? And whether you stressed on those advantages or conveniences in the direct marketing as reasons for consumers to come to you instead of to a competitor?

-Does the product have a season or a window of opportunity in which the most purchases are likely to occur? An example would be snow skis, boats or lawnmowers. And whether you timed your direct marketing properly so you didn’t miss the season?

After having answered all the above questions, you must consider all the information gained and then think about the ideas below for future direct marketing campaigns:

-Include a testimonial or indicate references from satisfied customers in the direct marketing piece.

-Repeat the direct marketing exercise. You need to be consistent in your advertising whatever form of media you use.

Direct Marketing is especially popular in India because by nature Indians do not trust claims made by most of the companies unless they have a first hand experience of the product or a direct contact with the service offered by the company. This has been proved in the past with the grand success of the Eureka Forbes products in the Indian market. The Eureka Forbes products were marketed purely through Direct Marketing efforts and have the largest share in the cleaning products market in India.

 

International Marketing

International Marketing is a very broad field and it encompasses many different types of professionals working at vastly different types of occupations. Some of the International Marketing executives work in the world of business, some others in finance, others in advertising, and the rest in human resources.

However, wherever it is that they work, it is the people who work in the area of international marketing who help grease the wheels of commerce so that a company based in one country can do business as easily in any other country. For example a company like Benetton that is based in Italy does business and has setup so many outlets in India.

It is the International Marketing executives who research business opportunities in foreign markets and make contacts with the appropriate figures to get the business deals started. It is the International Marketing executives who find sources of raw materials and goods in distant countries and prepare all the import and export documentation needed for shipping and transport.

International Marketing executives are also responsible for research of trade laws and they prepare documents for commercial banks in order to ensure compliance with the foreign government regulations. International Marketing executives are also responsible for keeping track of any political conditions that might affect business dealings in a country. Most of the International Marketing executives are aware of cultural nuances that might effect how a company goes about doing its business in a foreign land.

International Marketing usually help companies define and transmit a consistent message about a product across all markets. They also take care to retool advertising campaigns and brand names to fit the tastes of each culture.

As the world continues to shrink, the role of those involved in international marketing and business will only continue to become increasingly important. This is especially the case in a country like India, which had only just started exploring the international markets through exports. With the oncoming dismantling of the quota system in the retail sector, the demand for International Marketing executives in India is only set to rise.

Specific duties of International Marketing depend on the exact occupation, however someone working in this field might be responsible for one or all of the following duties:

 

-Finding and evaluating foreign customers and distributors

-Negotiating and preparing contracts

-Deal shipping and transportation, letters of credit, port authority, and customs

-Locating foreign markets

-Visiting foreign markets to discuss business strategies with foreign partners and distributors

-Defining products and set prices

-Conducting market analysis

-Producing promotional material, including mailings and web pages

-Maintaining and enhancing customer relations/service

-Finding low-cost foreign sources for products and components.

-Monitoring the activities of the competition

-Keeping track of products through the development and manufacturing process

 

The education that is required to work in the field of International Marketing depends on the exact job. However, generally people with a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in international business, or global management are probably the most competitive and preferred candidates for jobs across the board.

 

Event Marketing

While marketing an event, there are a few key tactics and methods that can be employed to ensure that the event gains the maximum response and also that event is managed in the minimum cost possible. Event marketing has been a concept that has only recently been pioneered in India. But, though new, the concept has taken off very well with the Indian consumers who are evolving rapidly.

Some of the tactics and methods are listed below. Following them can ensure a cost effective implementation of the event marketing.

Event Marketing Hint 1: If the event is meant to market a certain product, then it is necessary to ensure that the purchase decision-maker attends the event. It Customer indecisiveness, skepticism, indifference, or confusion are among the top sales killers in the business world. Access to the attendee mailing list so you can implement a pre-mailing process in order to promote your one-day trade show special, as well as the location of your booth.

Make sure you get participant contact information before the event as well as after. Other value-added benefits that can be expected from the show organizer include: being included in participant email distributions promoting the event, as well as an advertisement in the event show guide.

Event Marketing Hint 3: Before the event is undertaken, the cost effectiveness of promoting the product through the event should be questioned by asking yourself event qualifying questions around the “who” instead of the “how many”

Event Marketing Hint 4: The giveaways at the event should be relevant to the business being promoted through the event. And make sure you don’t give something away for free just for the heck of it.

Event Marketing Hint 5: The location chosen for the event is perhaps the most important aspect. Make sure you don’t purchase a cheap booth at a popular exhibition because there are strong chances that no one will be visiting you, since your booth will be tucked away hidden from all eyes. The most ideal locations in any exhibition areas are found at the entryway to the event and near the pathway to the food stations and restrooms.

Small business marketing

Or single unit marketing

Most of the small businesses, which are startups don’t usually have the resources to launch huge advertising campaigns across multiple media formats. In fact, even long running and existing businesses don’t always have an extensive cash allocation kept aside for marketing.

This is because most of the marketing activities are extremely expensive. Despite of the adequate funding that large national companies enjoy, even they often find it difficult to develop successful advertising campaigns. And of course, with the increasing number of companies that advertise through every imaginable communication avenue, it is becoming increasingly difficult for small businesses to attract the attention of consumers.

But, contrary to popular perception, there are many non-advertising approaches to marketing that can be used by the small businesses for promoting themselves. These non-advertising approaches generally require less money to implement and are often more effective than effective. But of course, there is a catch and that is that they require time and creativity to develop.

One of the avenues that can be used for small business marketing is a coupon. Of course, it is not necessary to distribute the coupons in print advertising or in big direct mail campaigns. Handing out the coupons on the street corner, or at trade shows, or just about anyplace else is perhaps more effective. Another option is to send a few coupons to your best customers. And another thing that can be done is to include “next purchase” coupons in customer orders.

Another interesting avenue for small business marketing are contests. Most people love contests. And what’s more surprising is that they even love to see other people win. This is proven by the phenomenal success of game shows on television. In case you choose to develop a promotional contest, make sure that you infuse it with fun. The key is to make the contest wacky and crazy enough. This will ensure that you get good media coverage for free.

When it comes to discussing small business marketing, the option of gifts is perhaps the most effective. Most people love to receive something for free, even if they have to pay a premium price for a more expensive item to get the freebie. This technique has been used most successfully in the beauty and cosmetics industry in India. And there is a complete possibility of replicating the success of the method in the area of small business marketing