Communication between a business and its clients is crucial to survival and should be incorporated when considering marketing for small business. A lack of communication leads to the potential of lost clients to competitors who are available when you seemingly are not.
Communications of any kind is a two-way street, with all parties involved alternating between absorbing information and sharing analysis or new information. Communication arises because someone – me, you, the person calling you – needs or wants something.
Communications is like a multi-lane highway:
- There are many audiences all traveling at different speeds to and from your company in search of varied destinations
- Multi-tasking, alertness, and frequent decision-making are required
- Maintenance is necessary, as is periodic redesign and expansion
- Opportunities are lost or destinations are missed if one is unaware, unprepared, or plodding along without a map
- Smooth flow means happy customers; roadblocks, detours, and confusing signals cost money, patience, and market share
Good communication, whether between a married couple or within a multinational corporation, takes place with these attributes:
- Knowing your audience
- Meeting their information needs
- Maintaining respect for audience and self
Once your overall business strategy is in place, plans for specific areas can be developed. The marketing plan, which ties into communications, is one of these plans. A marketing plan includes the following:
- Mission, vision, and values
- Target audience(s)
- Products and/or services
- Tasklist and accountabilities
Consider the following when creating your marketing plan:
- How do we make money? Where does our revenue come from?
- Who are the customers who generate most of our revenue?
- Who is our target customer? What do they want from us?
- Who is our competition? What are they up to in terms of positioning and promotions?
- How do we currently differentiate ourselves from the competition?
- How is the marketplace changing toward our products or services? Is it growing, shrinking, or maintaining?
- What are our business objectives for the next three, six, nine, and twelve months? What is our plan beyond that?
- What are the results of our analysis of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities?