Prospecting – Identifying New Marketing Opportunities
It’s quiz time. Name the for-profit business or profession that would not benefit from additional customers, clients, and buyers…
- Your doctor – when was the last time you didn’t have to wait?
- Your grocery store – don’t you always pick the wrong line?
- The Green Bay Packers, with a 40-year waiting list for season football tickets.
- None of the above, because there is no such thing.
Naturally, No. 4 is the correct answer. While there are many successful companies and entrepreneurs who claim to have all the business they want, if you probe a bit, you will find that they could usually handle more.
Even the physician’s office that is setting appointments five months down the road would privately confess to its public relations firm that it isn’t a greater quantity of patients they want, but a better quality. They would like to be able to select those who do everything the doctor tells them to do and don’t complain, and the Packers wish they could sell more beer mugs. You get the idea.
All successful companies search for additional or different revenue streams. Those who reduce their marketing efforts and do not stay in touch with trends or the tools their customers use risk ending up like Blockbuster, Atari, and Kodak. Remember them?
Ultimately, demand is unstable. What people want today may be obsolete next year. So, what do thriving companies of any size have in common? They are constantly on the lookout for new and improved ways to market their products and services and the customers who need them. They are willing to revise their strategy as the situation demands.
The following steps can help establish an ongoing marketing strategy to locate new sources of revenue and prevent the horrible moment of realization that the ship has set sail without you:
- Consistently research your industry for updates. It often comes as a shock to business owners that there have been recent significant changes in products or procedures. The ones who find out last often fall through the cracks.
- Researching your competitors is not the same as researching your industry, but it’s just as necessary. One way to do this is to run searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo to see who is ranking at the top for your keywords. What are they offering that you aren’t?
- Building and updating a target customer profile and using online resources like LinkedIn to find companies and individuals that fit the profile.
- If you don’t currently work with a solid marketing agency, you may be surprised to learn that the good ones produce more than they cost. Trying to do it all yourself takes valuable time away from your core business activities.
You are already paying for one of the most useful marketing research tools there is and probably not using it. The U.S. government uses your tax dollars to turn census figures into valuable data. Whether you are marketing locally, regionally, or nationally, here is a good place to begin: http://www.census.gov/econ/census/use_data/idmarkets.html.
It can come down to your available time. If you have plenty to spare will benefit from staying current with industry publications. Joining local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce or Rotary generally extracts benefits beyond the time allocated.