Making Technology Work


Marketing

Why limit yourself to advertising in a local newspaper when for the same money you could advertise yourself globally?

Marketing is about understanding and creating the environment where customers want to buy, using techniques such as advertising, sales promotion and public relations.

In-depth research

For market research, the Internet provides an ideal starting point. Customer surveys, business reports, specialist data, market analysis – you’ll find a mass of accessible, up-to-date information about your market and potential markets. You could even learn useful things by looking at your competitors’ Web sites.

Over 90% of companies using the Internet use it for information gathering.

Better targeting

Promote your company inexpensively to potential customers round the world through a Web site on the Internet. Unlike mail-shots which are sent unsolicited to customers, with a Web site customers come to you. It shows they are already interested in your market.

Web sites record how many ‘hits’ or visitors your site gets (and how long they stay). Asking people to register for further information provides you with valuable marketing leads.

Regular follow-ups

Web marketing needs tailoring to the opportunities and limitations of the medium. Once you have drawn someone to your Web site, the key is to keep them interested. Detailed up-to-date price lists, special offers and new products in small, accessible, structured pages. Let potential customers use your Web site to e-mail you enquiries and comments. Or keep in regular contact with customers by sending direct mail shots automatically by e-mail.

The Nottingham Cake and Cookie Company puts images of their cakes and cookies taken with a digital camera on their Web site. To encourage responses, their smallest cake can be sent anywhere in the world for just £2.50, and with any kind of message on top. People in over 65 countries have placed orders.

Cheaper catalogues

For many small companies, the cost of printing catalogues can be expensive. If you need to target specific companies, then consider a CD-ROM as an alternative. For small runs, the unit cost of a CD-Rom can be cheaper than producing a large, glossy catalogue. Unlike a paper catalogue which can’t be changed, publishing in electronic format makes it easier to make future amendment like price changes, half-way through the year.

Nearly three quarters of businesses have computers with CD-ROM.

Questions & Answers

Q. I want to promote myself, but I don’t have a lot of money to spend.
A. Compared with traditional advertising and marketing, such as using the local radio and press, the cost of setting up and maintaining a Web site is small. Especially when you consider you will be reaching the whole world. And for very simple sites, you might be able to do all the work yourself.

Q. How can I carry out some inexpensive market research before I launch a new product?
A. Use your Web site as a market research medium. For example, if you have developed a new fly fishing hook, you could contact the fly fishing newsgroups on the Internet, inviting the first 50 visitors to your Web site to be the first to try out your new product.

You will score in a number of ways:

  • you will get e-mail addresses for your target market;
  • you will gather invaluable pre-launch market research from the feedback you get;
  • you will have drawn attention to your company Web site, creating further opportunities for selling other associated products.
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