Marketing Tips for Success
This summer I was a full-time marketing researcher for Julius Koch USA, a cord and ladder tape manufacturer located in New Bedford. My experiences with marketing at Beetle Press in Easthampton prepared me for this role, and over the summer, I learned more about marketing strategy for products and services.
Julius Koch USA’s leaders were looking to expand their products and services into new markets. That’s where I came in. I took the company’s ideas for potential new applications and researched whether there was a place for them in those markets. I spoke to the salespeople at companies that manufacture in those markets and learned about industry standards and consumer expectations.
As a result of this work, I learned a few very key tips about marketing along the way.
- If you’ve been around your product, service or company too long, you may need to take a step back or ask for outside opinions. You know what your company has to offer, and you understand why it’s a great company. But you’ve also been around the product or service you offer for too long. When you’re trying to expand into a new market, it’s important to see what you already have to offer from a fresh perspective so you can see what else you have the potential to do.
- Thinking outside the box involves learning what else is out there. Whether you’re looking to sell your product or service to a new client or are actively trying to get into a new industry, you need to understand what else is out there, providing similar services. It is only when you know what’s already in existence that you can find the gaps that your company can fill with its own unique offerings.
- Learn the industry standards for the market you want to expand into. Distributors and consumers already have expectations about what to expect from a particular product or service. If you’re a shoe manufacturer, and you want to start manufacturing shoelaces as well, you have to find out what the industry standards are for shoelaces. You need to know what size they should be, what colors they come in, what materials they’re made out of. Once you understand the industry standards, you can have more confidence in whether your company is really capable of expanding its market in that direction.
- Go straight to the source for information, and exhaust all opportunities. If you want to know whether there is a market for the new products or services you want to offer, the only real way to find out is to ask. No amount of background research will tell you if the world needs a new shoelace manufacturer or if there’s any need for new online blog editors. It requires actually calling the leaders of some of the companies you’ve been researching and asking them questions about their needs. Perseverance is key here; the more people you call to find information, the more likely it is that you’ll receive useful information.
- Follow unexpected leads. During your market research, you may find that new companies are interested in your company catalogue, or that there are opportunities in industries you hadn’t considered. If they seem promising, don’t rule them out just because they weren’t in the original game plan. Investigate the possibilities, even the unexpected ones, to see if there are opportunities for success that you weren’t aware of yet.
Marketing research is a learning process – learning about the competition, about the current market, about where the needs are and about how your company can try to fill them. Once you’ve completed a thorough research phase, you’ll be in a much better position to understand what your company needs to do in order to improve and become more successful.