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The Wisdom of Planning Ahead in A Customer-Driven Market

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Whenever I watch a movie featuring a traveling salesman (usually an older film), I’m struck by how drastically B2C marketing approaches have changed in recent years. Consumers today (myself included) don’t like being sold to. With a digital world at our fingertips, we seek our own solutions to problems when we need them, wherever and however it’s convenient for us. B2C businesses need to plan ahead to make an impact in this challenging, customer-driven market – taking the time to build strong, flexible marketing strategies.

Today’s IT-savvy consumers are informed and empowered, with a nearly endless array of options. In fact, through online dialogue, they carry out much of the marketing process on their own –and that process changes constantly based on their unique sets of behaviors, needs, wants, and perspectives. What’s more, consumers can switch vendors with the touch of a button. In such a competitive, customer-driven market, haphazard or scattered marketing activities only lead to wasted money and resources. Successful marketing depends on having a comprehensive plan – one that incorporates many individual activities together to reach a long-term goal.

Of course, a good marketing plan requires a huge amount of research, both to create and to carry out. That time and effort is essential, though, to keep your feet in a customer-driven arena. The more clearly you understand the markets you’re trying to penetrate, the better you’ll be able to anticipate trends, adapt to changes, and stay ahead of your competition. In particular, it’s important to keep a few core marketing principles in mind:

Product – What sets your offering apart from your competitors’? Henry Ford may have succeeded with a Model-T that only came in one color, but today’s businesses can only stay one step ahead of the game by adapting to their customers’ changing needs, wants, and motivations.

Price – How much will customers pay for your product or service – and why? By carefully following consumer behavior and campaign performance, businesses can lay out more effective strategies to offer greater value to maximize revenue.

Promotion – How do consumers learn about your product or service? Email, social media, and mobile devices have opened new doors for engaging prospects – but it’s essential to monitor all that communication data to create more focused, more personalized, and more competitive marketing programs.

Placement – How and where do consumers obtain your product or service? Successful distribution means delivering your product or service in the right way, at the right time – a careful balance of supply, availability, and audience trends.

A new year can be a great opportunity to redirect old strategies toward fresh markets and more sustainable prospects. If you’re looking for guidance to pave your way for 2014, join Pulse Marketing Agency for a free B2C marketing plan guidance session next Friday, November 8th!  This 2-hour workshop will give five B2C entrepreneurs the tools to build strong marketing plans for 2014, along with free templates and materials, a Question & Answer session after the presentation, and a complimentary breakfast. To qualify, attending organizations cannot be currently engaged with a marketing agency or consultant, as we hope to bring the greatest benefit to organizations with low or no marketing budget.

The B2C marketing workshop runs from 7-9AM on November 8, at our office on 175 Exchange Street, Bangor. As part of our Planning Ahead guidance series, this first session will be followed by workshops for nonprofits on November 15th, and for B2B businesses on November 22nd.

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