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"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

-John Wanamaker

    A great idea will only get you so far, as many inventors have discovered over the years.  Aside from writing a business plan, developing a Marketing Strategy is the second most important step a small business can take.  A marketing strategy is more than just an advertising budget - it defines how a company will compete in the marketplace, and even defines who the company is to its customers / consumers / clients. 

    In 1960, E. Jerome McCarthy proposed the Four 'P's of marketing mix strategy:




Place (method of distribution or placement)

    Each of these aspects must be addressed if a company wishes to be successful long-term.  However, other topics may need to be considered as well:


Customer Segmentation Analysis

    The following is an example of a brief customer segmentation analysis developed for an Irish pub.  Notice the estimated size of each segment  - this will then correlate to the percentage of the overall advertising budget that each segment receives.  By redirecting the existing advertising budget to target only specific customer segments, the pub was able to increase revenues significantly without increasing total advertising expenditures.

Office-Luncher (16% of total customers):

  • Description:  This segment consists of employees of nearby small and mid-sized companies who may leave work for a quick lunch or have lunch delivered to their places of business.  Factors important to this group are speed of service, quality of food, and selection.
  • Targeting Strategy:  Contact key personnel at these businesses and leave them with information, including menu offerings.  Focus on healthier entrees such as selection of Irish salads and vegetarian options, as well as point out convenient location and speed of service.  Also provide a delivery option to the company on orders over a certain size.

Non-Working Luncher (2% of total customers):

  • Description:  This segment consists of non-working individuals, retirees, stay-at-home parents, and visitors.

Blue-Collar Luncher (2% of total customers):

  • Description:  This segment consists of blue collar workers, generally brought to CLIENT by their supervisor or foreman. 
  • Targeting Strategy:  To reach this segment, target the supervisors and foremen.  These customers are likely in the dinner or weekend segments.

Evening Diner (30% of total customers):

  • Description:  This segment consists of individuals and couples between the ages of 25-45 who choose CLIENT for both food and alcohol.  This customer is looking for good food, reasonable prices, and social atmosphere of a pub.
  • Targeting Strategy:  To reach this segment, consider direct mail (post cards, ValPak, letters) to surrounding residents, focusing on the friendly Irish atmosphere and small pub feel, as well as convenient location.

Night Drinker (50%):

  • Description:  This segment often (30%) overlaps with the Weekday Diner, but is primarily a Friday/Saturday night customer.  This segment can be further subdivided into two categories: 
    • 30% Weekend Band-Fan:  This person comes to CLIENT because of the specific band playing on a given weekend.  While this person is initially loyal only to the band playing that evening, they can become loyal customers of CLIENT, as well, particularly with “no cover charge” policies and free or discounted drinks for their next visit to CLIENT.
    • 70% Weekend CLIENT Fan:  This person comes to CLIENT because there is a band playing or open karaoke on a given weekend.
  • Targeting Strategy:  To reach this segment, present a clear brand image with date-specific, event-driven advertising in entertainment publications such as LOCAL PRINT Magazine.  Create a weekly email newsletter highlighting specials for the next week as well as upcoming performances and events.

    Specific, targeted advertising will achieve noticeable results.  By targeting offices, lunch traffic could easily be increased by 10%-20% or more.  An email newsletter will increase repeat weekend traffic, and direct mail to nearby residents focusing on evening dining in an Irish pub environment will help boost weekday dinner and drink sales.  At the moment, advertising money is being spent with little results.  Simply redirecting the existing budget will lead to measurable increases in traffic and sales.



Distribution Strategy

    Alton Consulting Group, LLC - Distribution Chanels imageA startup company needed to know how to sell its new products in the marketplace.  After determining the target customer segments (which consisted of individuals and institutions), different distribution channels would be used for each segment, depending on the size of the end customer.  This illustration led to the development of a traveling sales force divided into territories and representing each of the distribution methods:

  • Distributors to small retailers
  • Direct sales to large retailers
  • Wholesalers to small companies
  • Direct sales to large institutions






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