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Lemonade Stand Marketing – Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!

Lemonade Stand MarketingDo you remember the basic business lessons learned as a kid? How can something as simple as a lemonade stand teach the business essentials to grow a large and profitable business? Let’s find out…

This past weekend was the annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival which takes place in the park across from my house. It’s two days of racing dragon boats down a course, with hundreds of teams participating. It has also turned into the largest Asian culture festival in Colorado. Over 100,000 people attend the 2-day event.

Why is this information important to a child’s lemonade stand you ask? You could say Location, Location, Location; but I call it Traffic, Traffic, Traffic! The business location is important, but the key characteristic of the location is the amount of traffic of targeted customers that location brings. In our case, with 90 degree heat and 100,000 potential thirsty customers we put up the lemonade stand and invited some friends over to help run the store. So what happened?

Timing! Business success is all about timing. Do people drink lemonade in the morning? Not really. Do they drink it while they are on their way to the festival? No, because they just left home and are still refreshed from the air-conditioned car. When do they drink lemonade? On the way home from the overcrowded, sizzling hot, sunny festival.

Get in front of the customer when they are ready to buy!

So what time do you think the kids reaped the most reward for their efforts? That’s right, from 2-5pm; the hottest time of the day. When the girls put up the stand at 2pm, there were people standing in line while they were setting up! How’s that for a booming business!

Now, the girls took this one step further. They actually noticed that their were a lot of people with dogs passing by. One girl said, “We need free water for the dogs!” And so it was. The dog water was put out and then when the girls saw someone with a dog they enticed them over with the promise of free dog water. Now how can you pass up seven super cute 5, 7 & 9 years old girls with ice-cold lemonade and fresh water for your dog? That’s what I call knowing your customer and targeting their needs!

Are you applying these principles in your business? Have you identified the best traffic-getting location, timing and needs of your customer? Do you know how to get in front of them when they are ready to buy? How have you made timing, location and customer segmentation work for you?

Next up, Lessons from the Lemonade Stand: The 5Ps of Marketing.

How to create a Marketing Strategy

How do I write a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy is a process that enables you to optimize your resources (time, money, people, etc) and focus them on the best way to generate sales and achieve a sustainable advantage. An effective marketing strategy defines how you will attract prospects, engage customers and overcome competitors.

The marketing strategy is the underpinnings of the marketing plan which includes the tactics used to implement the strategy. The strategy is dynamic and interactive. It can change and evolve in real time based on changes in the company goals, competitor actions, or customer responses.

In a corporation, there is typically someone responsible for overseeing the entire marketing strategy for a product or business unit. There are then sub-groups responsible for a given tactical area such as advertising, distribution channels, internet and public relations. Each of these specialists then develops the detailed tactical plans for their area of expertise.

In a small business, it is usually the owner or maybe one marketing person responsible for the entire marketing strategy and implementation. As you can image, this gets very overwhelming. How do you begin?

The marketing strategy is where you define who your customers are (the customer segments), which ones you want to work with (your target), and the benefits you have to offer them (the positioning). As a small business owner, you want to identify the target customer that brings you the most joy and personal fulfillment to work with. That’s why you are in business for yourself, right? Don’t you want to be happy, have freedom and control your destiny? If so, you need to find the customer that is the best match for you and then talk directly to them.

Customer Segmentation

Customer Segmentation is when you divide the market into discrete customer groups that share similar traits. There are four basic ways to segment the market. They are based on psychographic, demographic, geographic or physiographic data. When you segment your customers, you want the division to be meaningful and measurable.

The Target Customer

Now that you know all you can about your customers, you need to identify which of these segments you are going to target. To do this, you will need to determine the profit potential of each segment by analyzing the potential revenue vs. costs of selling to that customer. As an entrepreneur, your costs also entail your time, effort and personal fulfillment. Which segments are easier for you personally to work with? Which ones will bring you the greatest joy? Profitability isn’t always measured in dollars.

Positioning

Positioning is the perception your customer has of you, your company or your product/service in relation to their perceptions of your direct competitors.

To effectively position your product or service, you need to know what makes your customer tick. What problems do they have that you can solve? How can you/your product help them better than anyone else? What makes your solution uniquely better than anyone else’s? Be sure to tweak your product/service and pricing to best meet the needs of your customer.

Now that you know who you are going to talk to and what you are going to say, you need to move to the next step in your planning process. The next step would be to clarify how you are going to deliver your message and where. This leads you out of the strategy phase and into the tactical phase of your marketing plan.

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