* A)What is marketing?
* What exactly is marketing and why is it important to you as a MANAGER? Simply stated, marketing is everything you do to place your product or service in the hands of potential customers.
* It includes diverse disciplines like sales, public relations, pricing, packaging, and distribution. In order to distinguish marketing from other related professional services, S.H. Simmons, author and humorist, relates this anecdote.
* "If a young man tells his date she's intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he's saying the right things to the right person and that's marketing. If the young man tells his date ...view middle of the document...
It begins with customers — those people who want or need your product and will actually buy it.
* Entrepreneurs are in love with their ideas, and they should be. After all, why would anyone commit their energy, life savings, and no small part of their sanity to anything less than a consuming passion. Because entrepreneurs are passionate about their idea, product, or service, they innocently assume other people will feel the same. Here's the bad news — it just doesn't work that way!
* People have their own unique perceptions of the world based on their belief system. The most innovative ideas, the greatest products, or a superior service succeed only when you market within the context of people's perceptions.
* Context can be many things, singly or simultaneously. To name a few, you may market to your customers within the context of their wants, needs, problems solved, or situation improved. Entrepreneurs need to be aware of many other contexts, such as social and economic trends or governmental regulations, which we'll discuss another time.
* People don't just "buy" a product. They "buy" the concept of what that product will do for them, or help them do for themselves. People who are overweight don't join a franchise diet center to eat pre-packaged micro-meals. They "buy" the concept of a new, thin, happy and successful self.
* Before you become consumed with entrepreneurial zeal and invest your life savings in a new venture, become a smart marketer. Take time at the beginning to discover who your potential customers are, and how to effectively reach them.
* Without a plan, your entrepreneurial dream is really wishful thinking. While a marketing plan can be a map for success, remember that the map is not the territory. A strategy that ignores the customer isn't an accurate reflection of the landscape.
* A good marketing plan can help you focus your energy and resources. But a plan created in a vacuum, based solely on your perceptions, does not advance the agenda. That's why market research, however simple or sophisticated, is important.
* Just keep in mind that research attempts to predict the future by studying the past. It reveals what people have done, and extrapolates what people might do — not what people will do.
* Planning is imperative, research is important, but there's no substitute for entrepreneurial insight. After all, as Mark Twain wrote, "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus".
B)The Marketing Plan
If marketing is everything you do to place your product (or service) in the hands of potential customers, how do you do it all — especially if you're all alone? It helps to have a plan.
A marketing plan is more than your map for success. It's actually a map-making process that when complete will reveal a clear route to your prospective customers.
A good map reveals specific items of information. A good marketing plan should do the...