Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marketing strategies

As entrepreneurs, the majority of our time should be spent marketing our business.  I know, it's hard to admit, especially when we enjoy the "making" of our goods.  And I know that I also become consumed in various aspects of my business, wanting to pretend I'm "creating", or I'm "marketing."

And these are the times I return to my business educational materials for guidance.

Several marketing strategies are defined, and intuitively we gravitate to one or another without being strategic in our thought:
  • Product Leadership - being the best in our field...think Google for search engines. 
  • Concentrated Growth - resources are directed to the growth of a single product, in a single market with a single strategy.
  • Market Development - opening additional geographic markets or market segments. E.g., for social media, expanding into another online marketing venue; advertising in a new media.
  • Product Development - modifying an existing product for a new market. For example, Philadelphia Cream Cheese broadening into flavored cream cheese products and cooking ingredients.
  • Innovation - developing a new product or service. Apple created few new products or services of their own, but they took the concepts to new mass markets.
  • Horizontal Integration - acquiring product lines in the same stage as yours. For example, jewelers specializing in earrings begin to develop necklaces and watches.
  • Vertical Integration - acquiring vendors or suppliers for sales growth. Many Etsy vendors begin to sell supplies as a way to increase their revenue.
While basic and certainly not exclusive, this should give us a few examples of how to increase our business.  Many of you may doing it already.

If you create bracelets, are you also creating and selling watches?  Horizontal Integration.

If you create necklaces, are you selling supplies you no longer need? Vertical Integration.

Recently, I've expanded my product line about as full as I can go with horizontal integration in simply the home fragrance market.  I have three options for container candles, tea lights, then I moved into votives, then naturally into candle tarts. Soon to be announced are reed diffusers and other air freshener products.

My horizontal integration is the home fragrance market.

So what's next?

Unless I add more fragrances (product development), I will need to explore other opportunities for growth.  While I realize Etsy is an extremely competitive market for home fragrances, I prefer not to venture into other online opportunities (Artfire, Zibbet). I believe social media can only handle one marketplace and prefer to direct these efforts to one shop.

I do explore market development by trying to land my products into bricks and mortar retail environments and personalized products with event planners.

I have ideas of where I am going from here, and do my best to frame the internal discussions with myself in basic marketing strategies.  If you don't have a business background, I recommend you do some simple online research into some of these strategies.

Last week, my post revolved around "venturing forward" and the need to take risks in our business.  This week, I challenge each of you to take the risk into understanding basic marketing strategies and developing ideas on how to grow your business around them.

Happy sales!
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