Business Development in 2017 – What You Are Missing | Extraordinary Business

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Small and medium-sized businesses are often tempted into thinking that they don’t need to market their products or services. This complacency usually arises when the business has a loyal set of customers and growing revenues and profits. The company owner thinks that when the firm already has more customers than it can handle, it would be a waste to spend on business development.

But marketing is not only about acquiring new clients. It also helps to retain existing customers and cement your relationship with them. There is another reason that every firm, regardless of its level of success, must develop a marketing strategy. The external environment could change at any time. A new competitor with a stronger value proposition than yours may take away your customers.
How can a business ensure that its clients do not go over to the competition? What are the steps that you can take to strengthen the bonds that tie your customers to your firm? What can you do to attract new clients?
Here are some guidelines for the New Year.
Personalized, one-to-one marketing
High quality, direct communication that solves a problem or addresses an issue that is important to the customer is sure to generate enormous goodwill. It is also likely to lead to positive word-of-mouth references.
In 4 Ways to Create a Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business, author Jeffrey Hayzlett writes that personalized marketing is no longer an option but an essential requirement for every business. How can your firm establish a direct link with the customer? A retailer can send exclusive discount offers to loyal customers. An airline could tell stranded fliers the best way to pass their time.
Every business will have to find ways to communicate at an individual level with their clients. The results will be worth the time and effort that this takes.
Email marketing
This is possibly the most under-utilized tactic in a company’s marketing strategy. Many marketing professionals consider it to be ineffective.
But in an article in Small Business Trends, Andrew Gazdecki points out that those who claim that email marketing yields little or no result are probably going about it the wrong way. If your company’s email communication contains useful content that provides value to its customers, the exercise is sure to help you in your marketing efforts.
The problem is that many companies use email merely to just push their products and services and repeat the same message endlessly. This approach is sure to alienate customers and erode the company’s goodwill.
Social media
In 3 Trends Impacting Small and Medium Businesses Now, Chief Marketing Officer of YP, Allison Checchi, says that most small and medium-sized businesses view social media merely as a means to post updates about their businesses. Instead, firms should use Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to connect with potential customers as well.
Social media platforms offer paid media opportunities, which, if used intelligently, can lead to an increased awareness about the company and its products. Small companies will have to take their social media presence to the next level and learn how to use it to actively promote their businesses.
Business as usual may not be good enough
Small companies will need to step up their marketing efforts even if they think that they have no immediate need for business development. They should also start acquiring new skills while they have the luxury of time and healthy order books.
The greatest mistake that a business can make is to start planning its marketing strategy only when its sales start declining. Such a delay could prove very costly.
Ravinder Kapur is a business operations writer at Aepiphanni, a small business operations and strategy consultancy that exists to help small business owners CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses. He is a commerce graduate and a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He has been affiliated with various interests in the financial services industry for more than 30 years. His finance expertise includes the commercial vehicle, automotive, and construction equipment sectors, as well as corporate finance. His experience in these disciplines has included business development, credit analysis, risk management and financial recovery. In addition, he worked extensively in corporate finance recoveries and was involved in several large value arbitration cases.
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