Your products may be topnotch and your services first class, but unless your prospects instantly recognize that your business can meet their needs and desires, they will spend their hard-earned dollars elsewhere. By designing a customer driven, integrated marketing strategy, you'll reach your prospects wherever they are, in a variety of media and increase your chances of success by instantly connecting your customers' problems with the solutions your business offers.
The first step in planning a customer driven marketing strategy is research. Market research can be as informal as an online survey you send out to your email list or a phone survey. Make your survey questions simple and easy to understand, starting with general questions that move into more specific questions as the survey goes along. Always pretest your questions with a sample group to identify any problems so you have the opportunity to revise them before sharing your survey with your respondents.
The simplest method for presenting statistical data is descriptive data analysis, a simple quantitative summary of the data collected in a survey. For example, your target audience's responsiveness to products and services, preferred methods of customer contact and advertising formats can be summarized in a series of brief statements like, "80 percent of participants strongly preferred being contacted by phone to being contacted by text messages," or "A third of our survey respondents preferred Product A to Product B."
An integrated marketing campaign is designed to "touch" your prospects and customers in the ways they prefer to be reached. Normally this means combining one or two traditional print media methods with online marketing techniques to ensure your brand is everywhere your audience is. For some markets this amounts to a monthly postcard campaign, weekly delivery of an e-newsletter and a text message to announce special promotions and discounts. Some of the many possibilities for reaching your audience include content marketing, text messaging, social media or a good old-fashioned phone call.
A marketing strategist's work doesn't end when the online marketing campaign has been e-delivered or the flyers have been distributed. Tracking customer response to a campaign will provide important information on its success, and will streamline the planning process for future marketing efforts. Create a clear method for tracking results, from tracking opens of your e-newsletter, to tracking coupon codes from a print campaign in a simple, easy to update database. Update your spreadsheet whenever you receive information about how a customer found you -- and always remember to ask.