Your best friend owns a small children’s clothing store located in the downtown area of a community of 50,000 citizens. Business has been slow the past year due the construction of several new strip malls and a new Wal-Mart store (Increased competition). She discovered you were taking an online marketing class, asked you for your advice for ideas that would increase her sales (She owns her present building and will not relocate her business, even though the downtown area is losing stores to the new strip malls). Based on what you have learned in this course what would you tell her.
There are several things I would tell my best friend about ideas. First off, I would recommend conducting some marketing research. According to Kotler and Keller (2012, p. 99), small companies can hire the serious of a marketing research firm or conduct research in creative and affordable ways. Some of the ways would be engaging students or professors to design and carry out projects. In my undergrad, we created a marketing plan for a non-profit. Our grade was not based on winning, however in past history, the winners did get an A. My team tied for first place, but the thing that helped us was that we actually put some of the project into process. We actually called local radio stations and did PSA’s to get the attention for opening weekend for the Fish Hatchery and it was a huge hit!
Using the internet would be another option for the smaller company. A company can collect considerable information at very little cost by examining competitors’ web sites, monitoring chat rooms and accessing published data. Checking out rivals can also help. You can always see what your competition is doing better and learn what changes they have to make. Routinely visiting competitors is a way to get an edge on the competition. Tapping into marketing partner expertise like ad agencies, local marketing firms, distributors, etc. can help with sharing the knowledge that they have accumulated (since they are more than experts in this area).
Also, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers outline a four-step framework for one-to-one marketing that can be adapted to CRM marketing as follows:
1. Identify your prospects and customers. Don’t go after everyone. Build, maintain, and mine a rich customer database with information from all the channels and customer touch points
2. Differentiate customers in terms of (1) their needs and (2) their value to your company. Spend proportionately more effort on the most valuable customers (MVCs). Apply activity-based costing and calculate customer lifetime value. Estimate net present value of all future profits from purchases, margin levels, and referrals, less customer-specific servicing costs.
3. Interact with individual customers to improve your knowledge about their individual needs and to build stronger relationships. Formulate customized offerings you can communicate in a personalized way.
4. Customize products, services, and messages to each customer. Facilitate customer interaction through the company contact center and Web site.
Kotler, P. & K.L. Keller (2012). Marketing Management, 14th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.