Most Powerful Marketing Tools

Companies that become industry leaders and achieve higher profitability than their peers do so because they have the right combination of outstanding products and services and are extremely effective at them. A company’s efforts are designed to demonstrate the benefits its product and services provide to customers and to build awareness of the company among its target customer groups.

Word of Mouth
Having customers recommend your business to friends, family members or business associates — word-of-mouth advertising — is a tool for businesses of all size. Small businesses such as sports bars or restaurants are highly dependent on this form of marketing. Many companies fail to take advantage of the potential for word-of-mouth marketing because they don’t encourage their customers to do so. A simple technique is allowing customers to earn discounts on goods or services when a new customer recommended by them does business with the company.
The Internet
Websites have become storefronts for businesses all around the world, enabling them to attract customers from around the globe for a relatively small cost. By learning methods of search engine optimization, or SEO, small companies can compete with larger ones in terms of the number of visitors they attract to their websites. Combining a Web presence with social networking allows companies to find their target customers and build a relationship with them.
Free Publicity
Marketing savvy small businesses often take advantage of the media’s insatiable need for stories and content. Media companies have to find ways to fill the airwaves and pages of newspaper print each day. And don’t forget the online editions of each of these media outlets. Businesses with unusual stories — news hooks — can obtain feature coverage that almost always results in bringing in new customers. Businesses looking for capital can even use publicity to further that objective. One of the best ways to find investors is to have the investors find you.
Advertising
One of the oldest marketing is still one of the effective because of the proliferation of media. Magazines are now published that serve smaller niche markets, and regions or cities, allowing companies to spend their advertising dollars more effectively and reach precisely the customer groups for which they are seeking to do business. Internet advertising is increasingly being utilized, as well, for the same reasons — you can target your advertising campaign to reach your key customer groups and not waste money reaching individuals who are unlikely to buy from you.
Joint Ventures
Teaming up with another company can help build your sales. A mail order distributor of gourmet Southwest-style barbecue sauce could enter into a joint venture with a restaurant chain to feature the sauce on the menu and sell bottles of it at the restaurants. A company that has a lack of distributors in one region could expand into the region by contracting with another company to sell its goods there. Joint ventures enable companies to take advantage of each other’s strengths.
Independent Sales Reps
Many companies cannot afford to build a large in-house marketing or sales staff. Instead they utilize independent sales reps that routinely call on the company’s target customers. The reps typically sell more than one company’s products. Because the reps are paid for performance — how many units they sell — the company can keep its marketing overhead cost low while building its revenues.

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