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8.1 Entrepreneurial Marketing and the Marketing Mix
Marketing refers to those activities companies use to identify consumers and convert them into buyers. Entrepreneurial marketing is a set of unconventional practices that can help start-ups and younger firms survive in competitive markets. One way to think of the marketing mix is to break it into the 7Ps: product, promotion, price, place, people, physical environment, and process. Entrepreneurs often don’t have deep enough resources to use all of these marketing tools, so they need to be strategic in which ones they choose and how they execute them.
8.2 Market Research, Market Opportunity Recognition, and Target Market
Market research is an important aspect of being an entrepreneur. Research can help you vet ideas as well as reveal opportunities that you may not have seen before. Whether you are using secondary data or performing primary research, it is important to know your research questions and goals. Good market research and analysis can help you position your product within your target market.
8.3 Marketing Techniques and Tools for Entrepreneurs
Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive; entrepreneurs have many affordable techniques at their disposal. The only input necessary for these techniques is plenty of passion, creativity, and energy. These tools include guerrilla, relationship, expeditionary, real-time, viral, digital, and WOM marketing. The pros of using these techniques are plenty, as you can see from the examples shared for each of the tools. They include being able to reach many people at the same time; leveraging the timeliness of feedback; and making real, sincere connections with people. In addition, affordability, creativity, and good results (clicks, shares, comments, purchases, and awareness) can stem from using these techniques. On the negative side, customer reviews that are not so positive can also make their way through these channels and damage the reputation of a company if they are not handled with care.
8.4 Entrepreneurial Branding
Branding gives an identity to the product and company to which the customer can identify. It is based on its mission, goals, and product benefits, and it must be integrated with the marketing mix for greater impact. Brands help communicate a message to the consumer about product quality, pricing, and overall benefits. When the communication strategy is not cohesive, the consumer may become confused by the different signals the company sends. The entrepreneur must work hard to create a unified message all the way through.
8.5 Marketing Strategy and the Marketing Plan
Once you have an idea of your marketing mix, the next step is to develop actionable strategies and write them down in a marketing plan. A marketing strategy describes how a company will reach consumers and convert them into paying customers. A marketing plan is a formal business document that is used as a blueprint or guide for how a company will achieve its marketing goals. A good marketing plan can be used to guide internal decisions and attract external investors.
8.6 Sales and Customer Service
Sales drives profit. They may require a simple sales approach or a complicated sales system. An example of a sales system is a six-step sales strategy: doing research about prospective clients and creating a list; making an appointment to talk about your good or service; meeting with them to present a proposal; handling objections; closing the deal; and nurturing the relationship after close. When selling luxury and expensive items, the sales approach is usually more thorough and requires more sales training and finesse. Customer service is a component that is linked to this process and with proper training can really differentiate a company from the competition.