Marketing Basics

In order to successfully grow your business, you’ll need to attract and then work to retain a large base of satisfied customers. Marketing basics emphasizes the value of the customer to the business, and has two guiding principles:

  1. All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs.

  2. Profitable sales volume is more important than maximum sales volume.

To best use these principles, a small business should:

  1. Determine the needs of their customers through market research

  2. Analyze their competitive advantages to develop a market strategy

  3. Select specific markets to serve by target marketing

  4. Determine how to satisfy customer needs by identifying a market mix

Marketing programs, though widely varied, are all aimed at convincing people to try out or keep using particular products or services. Business owners should carefully plan their marketing strategies and performance to keep their market presence strong.

Conducting Market Research

Successful marketing requires timely and relevant market information. An inexpensive research program, based on questionnaires given to current or prospective customers, can often uncover dissatisfaction or possible new products or services.

Market research will also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. Population shifts, legal developments, and the local economic situation should be monitored to quickly identify problems and opportunities. It is also important to keep up with competitors’ market strategies.

Creating a Marketing Basics Strategy

A marketing strategy identifies customer groups which a particular business can better serve than its target competitors, and tailors product offerings, prices, distribution, promotional efforts and services toward those segments. Ideally, the strategy should address unmet customer needs that offer adequate potential profitability. A good strategy helps a business focus on the target markets it can serve best.

Target Marketing

Most small businesses don’t have unlimited resources to devote to marketing; however, the SBA wants you to know that you can still see excellent returns while sticking to your budget if you focus on target marketing. By concentrating your efforts on one or a few key market segments, you’ll reap the most from small investments. There are two methods used to segment a market:

  1. Geographical segmentation: Specializing in serving the needs of customers in a particular geographical area.

  2. Customer segmentation: Identifying those people most likely to buy the product or service and targeting those groups.

Want helping marketing your business?  Book an appointment with one of our small business counselors 

Where to Find Us

Iowa Western Community College

2700 College Road

121 Ashley Hall (Park in Ashley Hall Visitor Parking)

Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503

712-325-3350

Sue Pitts - spitts@iwcc.edu

Michael Mitilier - mmitilier@iwcc.edu

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA). All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA