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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Carrying out market research - checklist

Knowing your market, and the trends in your sector, is vital if you want to maximise sales and stand out from the competition. We explain how to find and use market information.

  • Focus on market research which will help you make better business decisions.
  • Work out what you need to know, and whether you need an in-depth understanding of the situation or a quick snapshot.
  • Decide how quickly you need the information, and how accurate it needs to be.
  • Start your research project with a clear brief, including objectives, deadlines and any important background information.
  • Decide whether you have the expertise to carry out larger research projects yourself, or need to use an external agency or freelance researcher.
  • Make full use of easily accessed information from internal records, employee and customer feedback, publications and the internet.
  • Ask your customers who they see as your competition, and why they have chosen you.
  • If necessary, invest in surveys, focus groups and observation studies to back up decisions.
  • Analyse research results carefully and objectively.
  • Be prepared to carry out further research if the information you have is insufficient or out of date.
  • Use your research to make decisions and plan business strategy.
  • Regularly update your understanding of customers and market conditions.

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