Janet Sutherland is a former Chicago radio newscaster who specializes in marketing and public relations campaigns for the medical industry, non-profits and broadcast professionals. She’s currently Director of the Chicago chapter of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation and President of Sutherland Media.
(Photo courtesy of Janet Sutherland)
Sutherland gives advice on the best marketing practices business owners can make for the most public exposure.
What are the top five things small business owners can do in marketing to differentiate themselves and be successful?
The five elements of SWOTT need to be reviewed by the business owner and key decision makers. Ask yourself what are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, trends and threats?
Understanding your strengths will enable you to create a successful marketing plan and help a business owner to develop its competitive strength. Once you start the SWOTT analysis there are key questions for the business owner.
- What are your advantages over other businesses?
- What does your organization do well?
- What do people see as your strengths?
Determining a business weakness is tough, but it’s best to tackle these issues because determining a weakness in your business may help your business grow. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What improvements are needed in your business?
- What could you do better?
- What problems keep occurring?
Review the business client and your company internally and externally to determine opportunities.
- What is coming up that may be important to your business (e.g. community events, key seasons)?
- What may be coming up that may put you ahead of your competition?
Determine the “big picture” of your business and the environment and predict any challenges ahead.
- What laws may affect your business?
- What is the competition doing that may affect your business?
- Is there any weakness that could affect your organization?
This should help your team coming up with ideas for your business and how you view the future trends in the business community.
- Will the local or state economy have any influence on your business?
- What seems to be the pattern of your consumers that is growing and unique?
- What kind of spending patterns are you experiencing for your buyers?
- What is hot and in demand?
After performing this business evaluation, you will be able to establish and implement a comprehensive effort for improving awareness and expanding customer volume (market share).
Following a SWOTT analysis a company should:
- Evaluate effectiveness of marketing activities and revise promotions as required.
- Participate in establishing program objectives, long-term goals, division policies and procedures.
- Convert market research findings into actions to develop better messages, products, materials and marketing strategies.
Remember marketing isn’t always advertising. It can be community outreach, improving employee communications, internal employee promotional initiatives or business-to-business relationship building.
This article was written by Michelle Guilbeau of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.