Posted on 7, February, 2012 by Jeremy Knight

marketing mixMarketing is different these days. There was a time when businesses could make cold calls or unsolicited visits and sell their products and services to other local businesses. Those days are gone. Now, businesses have to convince potential customers to give them a chance.

Why the change?  Because the competition for eyeballs has intensified.  Business owners are exposed to more marketing messages than ever before - so many, in fact, that they can't sort through them all.  Instead, they decide which products and services their businesses need and deal only with the vendors that provide them.

So businesses must be found before they can make their sales pitch.  But to get found, they need to develop the right marketing mix.

The best marketing mix for your business combines the right marketing channels with the right offer to attract loyal customers.  You need to question your outbound marketing activities and analyse what inbound marketing techniques you could employ.  But how do you know what works?  If you put in some effort before, during, and after a campaign, you'll have the right mix before you know it.

Know Your Customers
Look at the companies you already do business with. What are they buying from you?  What business need are you meeting?  What do these businesses have in common?  Do they come from the same industry, the same market, or the same region?  

If you know the types of customers you have, you know what kinds of businesses would be interested in buying from you.

Know Where They Are
The right marketing mix comes from knowing where to market.  Did your customers learn about you from certain newspapers or magazines, or were you found through blogs and websites, or maybe they heard about you at industry events or through networking.

These options will go into your marketing plan, but they should also be the starting point of a fuller media plan.  If you've create a customer profile based on who already buys from you, use that profile to find out where similar businesses go to learn about new products and services. This will help you come up with new venues to market your business - and find new customers.  

Know What They Want
You probably already know why your customers buy from you and the benefits they get from your offerings. If so, chances are that you'll be able to make the same pitch and offer the same incentives to similar businesses.

Think back to how you attracted your first customers.  Did they visit your website or speak to a sales rep?  Were they actively looking for your products, or did they want to use a sales incentive?  How do they buy from you, by web, email, or phone.  How often do they buy?

Take the offers, messages, and channels that attracted customers in the past and incorporate them into your new marketing plan, but above all start to devise a content plan around the things that already work for you and select the best ways of editorialising your communications. After all, these days you are looking to gain permission to communicate rather than broadcast your sale through a megaphone.

Know What Works
Some elements of your marketing mix will work, and others won't.  How can you tell which is which?  By measuring the success of each effort.

If you run an ad on several websites, you could measure the entire effort, but measuring each site individually gives you more accurate results.  One website might generate all your responses, while other sites generated nothing.  Or maybe ads with a salesperson's name generate more responses than those that don't.

The more you measure, the more you can do to make each campaign more successful than the last.

The right marketing mix takes time to put together, and it may even change over time as business needs change.  But as long as your customers are leading your marketing process, you'll find the right mix every time.Ask yourself this -

Tell us about your oun marketing mix and what is working for you.

What is inbound marketing?

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing

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About the Author

Jeremy Knight
Jeremy Knight
Jeremy spent 20 years as a B2B publisher, creating publications targeting the private equity and fast growth business sectors before launching Equinet Media in 2009.read more