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Setting your marketing goals for business success

Consumers purchase a product or service for what they think it does to them
By Entrepreneur Staff |

To ensure success, the marketing strategy of your startup needs to achieve four specific goals for a particular product or service: strong consumer focus, meaningful segmentation, clear and compelling brand positioning, and a relevant marketing mix.

Strong consumer focus

Nobody buys anything for what it is. Consumers purchase a product or service for what they think it does to them (benefit). Thus, it is a must for companies to be grounded on solid understanding of the consumer or customer. They should find out as much information about their target through relevant consumer researches or studies. They should be aware of what makes their customers/consumers want to buy a specific item or service.

Marketers have the tendency to want to develop products that carry superior functional claims. Though this is a good thing, it is not always possible to achieve such demonstrable product superiority because of technical or cost limitations.

Meaningful segmentation

To really know their target market, marketers need to identify the group of consumers that has the strongest need for or affinity to the brand. Every consumer is, of course, unique. Each has needs that are different from others, so it would be unwise to custom-fit a product or service offering to a single individual. For the same reason, it would be impractical to expect the needs of all consumers to be satisfied by a single product or service offering. Thus, the most cost-effective, practical way to market a product is to target a specific group of customers and consumers with largely similar needs.

This is where market segmentation comes in—identifying and targeting a group of consumers that are in some demonstrable way similar to one another but different from the rest of the market. Determining the most apt group of consumers for its product or service can, of course, be done through an appropriate market segmentation study.

Clear and compelling brand positioning

Creating an image for your product and clearly positioning it in the minds of the target market—these are musts for establishing a long-term relationship with the consumers. Brand positioning, which sustains the brand image and explains the product’s unique selling proposition (USP), is ultimately what makes the consumers choose a product over its competitors and patronize it over the long term. It is what makes a brand uniquely meaningful to its target markets and what clearly distinguishes it from the other players in the same product category.

Solid marketing mix

A strong marketing mix that is consistent with the brand positioning is a must for ensuring that a brand will continue to sell. The marketing mix is simply the totality of the activities done by the company that affects the marketing and selling of the brand. Each element of the mix—product, packaging, pricing, distribution, promotions, advertising—has its own characteristics, but each must be carefully considered in its relationship with the other elements and with the overall marketing strategy to ensure that the delivery of the brand promise is maximized.

This marketing mix should be balanced and made consistent with the brand’s desired position and image in the market. To have it any other way would just confuse consumers and weaken the standing of the brand in their minds.


This article was first published in the August 2007 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.

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