Marketing

Marketing helps you reach your target audience, drives customers to your business and encourages them to purchase your goods or services.

Marketing processes help you to identify important business and marketing decisions: 
 
  • what - your product or service
  • why - what you are hoping to achieve
  • where - your location(s) (physical and online) and marketing channels
  • who - your target audience
  • when - timing of your campaign and marketing efforts
  • how - how to measure success and make any needed changes
Understanding your target audience helps you to know how to provide customer satisfaction whilst benefiting your business.

Marketing requires research, time and suitable allocation of budget. Your overall budget should include a figure for marketing activity, which might include your branding, website, regular communication activity and the staff or external resources you’ll need to complete the work.
 
Investing time in developing your marketing plan can help your business grow or sustain itself. You may decide to have separate marketing plans for specific projects such as starting to export, creating a new product line, diversifying into a new sector or expanding into a new location.
 
The marketing mix (or 5 Ps) is a set of key elements that can help build your brand and offering in a planned and consistent way. Working through these elements can help you think about the areas of your business you can change or improve, to help you meet the needs of your target market.
  • Product

    The product element refers to what you’re offering or selling to your customers. This includes the benefits, value-added features, styling, quality, accessories, branding and packaging as well as service, repairs and warranties.
  • Price

    How do you set the prices for your products or services? Calculate your overall costs and include the advertised price, any discounts, sales, credit terms or other payment arrangements or price matching services you offer.
     
    The best price is what customers are willing to pay without affecting your profits. Researching similar products may help you find the best price for your products. Continue to monitor your pricing as part of your overall market research to make sure you still meet your customers' expectations and your prices stay competitive.
     
    These market influences below can help guide your choice of pricing strategy to counter any unfavourable conditions.
     
    • Demand for your products or services will influence your price. Generally, the higher demand for your product, the higher you can set your price. Demand can also be influenced by price. As prices go up or down you may notice changes in customer demand or behaviour, these changes are known as price sensitivity.
    • Competitors can impact your price - generally, the less competition you have the less options your customers have, so the higher the demand there is for your product, and vice versa. When looking at competitors prices make sure you are comparing value-based traits such as special features, quality and customer service as well. If customers can see your goods or services are of higher quality than your competitors they may be willing to pay a higher price
    • Local and international government regulations and market conditions can influence your pricing decisions depending on your industry or how global your market is.
  • Promotion

    The promotion element refers to all the activities and methods you use to promote and build awareness of your business and products to expand your customer base. This includes sales, public relations, direct marketing and advertising.
     
    You can use any combination of promotional activities to target your customers, including:
     
    • Advertising – you can pay to advertise your business in newspapers and magazines, on radio, television and the internet, and using outdoor signage, such A-frames, bus shelters and billboards.
    • Publicity – created by sending media releases to media outlets, giving interviews to the media and from word-of-mouth.
    • Short-term promotions – this might include things like vouchers, competitions and contests.
    • Direct marketing - involves sending letters, emails, pamphlets and brochures to individual target audiences, often followed by personal selling or telemarketing - visiting or calling potential customers. There are important rules you need to follow when you conduct telemarketing.
    • Online marketing – you can use cost-effective online websites and social media to your advantage such as Facebook, Twitter, or using a blog.
  • Place

    The place element refers to how you deliver your product or service to your customers. This might include the physical location (e.g. a shopfront, online or a distributor), delivery methods as well as how you manage your stock or inventory levels.
     
    If you're looking to grow your business, you might consider changing or expanding the way you sell your products and services. For example, if you're a homewares retailer, you might think about setting up a new store in a different location, or franchising your business.
     
    You can also consider setting up a website to allow customers to purchase online. You'll need to think about how your customers use the internet, if they would feel comfortable purchasing your offering online and if they would be willing to pay shipping costs for your products.
     
    Choosing the right business premises and location is an important business and marketing decision.
  • People

    The people element refers to your customers, your staff and sales people, and yourself. It includes your customer service and communications, which provide the right experiences to reinforce your brand, keep customers, and win referrals.
     
    In most cases, good customer service skills include:
     
    • treating your customers respectfully
    • understanding your customers' needs and wants
    • delivering what you promise
    • helping your customers when needed
    • handling complaints and returns gracefully.
     
    Taking the time to seek customer feedback and follow up on feedback received can be a good way to measure and improve your customer service.
     
    You'll also need to consider the skills that you and your employees need by recruiting the right people and providing the right training. For example, do your staff have the skills to manage a website? Will you need to provide further training for them?

Planning templates

Use these free planning templates and guides to help you better plan, prepare, manage, and exit a business. Investing time into proper research and planning can help turn your ideas into reality, and prepare you for what’s to come.

Business plan

A business plan works as a guide when your business is operating; how you operate, planning the future and preparing for risks. It is also often a required document for finance applications.

Marketing plan

An effective marketing plan can help you set clear, realistic and measurable marketing objectives for your business. It can boost your customer base increasing your bottom line.

Emergency plan

Your business is critical to your financial wellbeing, so you’ll want to protect it as much as you can against emergencies and disasters.

Succession plan

Planning for the day you leave your business is a valuable investment.

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