A checklist for marketing readiness: 10 key questions that can save you wasting a fortune on misfiring promotions

How well are you set up for effective marketing?

1. Do you know exactly who and what your existing and potential clients are? Businesses or consumers? Resellers or end-users? Their ages, genders, income levels, tastes, habits, and purchasing patterns? Where else do they purchase? What seasonality do they follow?

2. Do you have a CRM or database (not just your debtors list) to enable you to easily and quickly market to existing and future customers, by email, text, SMS, Facebook, Twitter and if all else fails – snail mail? Can you group customers easily? Do you have a VIP club or list?

3. Do you know what your customers want? What do they need? What are their preferences for service and delivery? Have you documented these things and not just in your head? Can your staff find all the details without you there? What payment terms is each customer entitled to?

4. Do you have sales records by product, by each customer, by dollar value and by season? Is the information easily accessible for analysis? Do you use sales management tools like “HI/LO” reports with your sales team and account managers? Are you running friendly team competitions for your retail or quoting staff?

5. Do you measure your promotion and advertising results? How? Who checks and discusses it? What remedial actions are taken and who by?

6. What effect would a price change (up or down, preferably up) have on your market – have you tested it? Do you know exactly what the price points are in your market, for your product or service?

7. Do you know your existing/potential competitors, including all the online options? How does each compare to your offering – have you done a SWOT on each?

8. What are your competitors doing in promotion, benefits listing, pricing, bundling, special offers and distribution methods?

9. Remember competition includes what your customers might spend money on if they choose not to buy your product or service at all. Do you know what the alternative spend might be?

10. Do you know how customers of your competitors feel about them?

Next steps

Once you have made a reasonable fist of answering all the above and in writing, not just by guessing; then you have completed the main steps for market-readiness. As a result, you can now promote your business cost-effectively and efficiently! It’s also a great time to engage a business advisor if you need some external guidance on how to do this.

By Rod Way