Wisdom beats understanding.
Understanding is better than information
Information is way, way better than instincts.
If you are going on instinct, your odds of success are very low.
If your perceptions are not grounded in facts, then their source is your instincts. So they are valid at some level. But if you see an opportunity so must others. That is your justification. It is also the biggest problem. Somebody is likely already exploiting the opportunity or has tried to do so. Why are you different?
That is where marketing comes in. Marketing is not just websites, business cards, or grand openings, or great copy, or social media, or media blasts. These are part of marketing tactics. They are the last part of your marketing program and hands down, they are the most expensive. Especially if you haven’t laid the groundwork.
If you start here, at the end, you definitely missed a few critical steps and will likely waste a lot of time and money.
To begin, you need to do primary and secondary research. Primary marketing is talking to people about your concept and the market. Secondary research is vetting concept and the market.
Once you’ve done these, you have the underpinnings for the next step, analyzing the market’s options. Options are competitors or other choices the customer has. To understand the choices, you need to understand the customer. Your target market always has options. At least two. They can opt to do nothing at all and often do.
We typically hear “We have no competitors!” Yet every market we’ve studied shows this as untrue. Another is “We know our customers.” Again when we ask them to show us, they can’t. They are going on instincts. Instincts we find at best only partially right.
But if you to do the presteps before you create your marketing plan, you’ll have a solid foundation and a good sense of the nature of your offensive and defensive marketing tactics and the resources you will need. We often find that after doing the research, the marketing plan is obvious. And remember, a good marketing plan is the fundamental basis of a business plan. Huh? Yes. A business plan without a good marketing plan is a waste of time. The marketing plan is the blueprint for profitability
One last warning, it is difficult for you to do the prep work. Not because you are not capable but because inadvertent bias and tendency to ignore any dissonant data. How can I say this with confidence? Not just from experience but from our knowledge of how humans process information and make decisions. Indeed, the minute you thought up your concept and began thinking about it, the biases began. It begins in your subconscious. You are consciously unaware of this process so there is no way to avoid it. To steal from Nobel prize winner Robert Shillers’ book title, we all suffer from” irrational exuberance.” To counter this, get outsiders. Either engage a firm such as ours or people you’re confident are truthful to counsel you.