How To Use Market Facts
To Keep Your Business On Top
by Tom Egelhoff
We make decisions every day of our lives based on instinct. Even more importantly we also make decisions based on known facts.
During our Montana winters you learn to check with the weather channel before taking a trip of any distance. Towns in Montana can be 100 miles apart in some places and trips can be life threatening. Candles (to keep you warm in a stalled car) and extra clothing are a no-brainier.
When you really think about it, how many decisions do you make each day where you have assembled some sort of facts to assist you? Even something as simple as where to go for lunch are based on cost, distance to and from, type of food, and speed of service.
You Could Flip A Coin
Research shows that using judgment or "instinct" to make decisions is only accurate about 50% of the time. Those odds are the same as flipping a coin. Should you make decisions based on fact or instinct?
Tilt The Odds In Your Favor
Once again, using marketing facts in a small town or small market is easier than in big cities or large markets. The market is smaller and easier to evaluate. The cost of reaching the target is usually less costly.
The down side is that if you make a mistake in either your advertising or marketing it can be much more damaging to your business in a small town than a large one. One you have convinced the market place of what your business is, and you are wrong, it's tough to change those minds. (See: How To Develop Your Position Strategy."
Start With The Target Market
Now you are going to have to separate fact from fiction. You must start with your target market. Where are they? Are they in town or on farms? Do they work or are they retired? Are they men, women or both? What do they buy? When do they buy it? Do special events in town affect traffic to your business?
The really tricky one--why do they buy? You are going to have to ask them. What is the decision making process? These very important questions will determine how you will reach them and what the message will be. You will need the facts about your target market in order to make an informed decision about marketing and advertising your product to them.
Who's Getting The Facts On You?
The answer to that question is simple--your competitors. They are hard at work determining what is fact and what is fiction about your business. You, or course, should be doing the same thing.
What are the major differences between you and your competitors? Your strengths and their weaknesses and vice versa. What are your competitors saying to customers about your products and/or services? What are you saying about them.
If you have an advantage over your competition make sure it's featured prominently in all your advertising.
What If You're Wrong?
That's the beauty of marketing and advertising. If it was easy everybody would be doing it. Even armed with the best possible set of facts you are still going to make mistakes. Don't dwell on them. Keep on collecting the facts and discard those that prove to be unreliable.
In life and business there are no guarantees. If you make a mistake, make sure it is truly a mistake. If you are convinced that you were right in the first place -- then try, try again.
If you missed something, make sure that your new direction is still in step with your marketing and advertising objectives.
The Last Word On Marketing Facts
As you have probably noticed, there is no new information in this article. If you read at all you've heard this same message in a hundred different versions.
The point I want to make with this article is that we sometimes know there are facts involved in our decisions we just don't look at them. We don't separate them from our intuition or "hunches."
Make sure you have all the facts in front of you and you will find that your advertising and marketing decision making will be easier and usually much more effective.
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Based in Bozeman, MT, Tom Egelhoff is the author of How To Market, Advertise & Promote Your Business Or Service In A Small Town, and The Small Town Advertising Handbook: How To Say More And Spend Less. He is also a seminar and workshop presenter and trainer. He may be reached at 888-550-6100 or PO Box 271, Bozeman, MT 59771-0271
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