Before The Design-What Are Your Plans?
I know I am supposed to be writing about design. But, there are things that you, as a client should be doing first. Here is the scenario….
You have a farm and have decided to make soap with your goats’ milk. You have spent a lot of money on supplies and have spent hours reading, learning, and creating different soaps till you got the perfect recipe and scents. You give them to your friends and family for the holidays and they rave about them. Finally, one day, you decide to quit your job at the office and follow your dreams. You want to turn soap making into a career. You take out a loan and buy more equipment and supplies. Now you need a logo and some packaging.
Slow down there, Buddy…… Don’t get ahead of yourself.
What Did I Miss?
You do not start with the logo or packaging. What you need before you contact your designer is a marketing plan. Yes, you are the only one running the whole show. But you have to develop a plan to engage and develop a relationship with consumers and make them aware of your product. In case you did not know it, you do not tell the consumer the value of your product. Your customer decides its value. And, your “product” goes way beyond soap. Your product is also how you relate to your customers, whether traditionally, on social media, and also how you conduct your business’s customer service.
Step 1: Who Are You Targeting?
You need to start thinking about to whom you want to sell your soaps. You usually can’t sell to everyone with one product line. Are you thinking of selling to young women? Will you be selling to young men? Will your soaps be created for affluent middle age women? Will you be selling your soaps to health -conscious people? To people with sensitive skin or skin problems? Are you going to make a pet soap?
Step 2: What Is Your Mission?
You know you want to sell soap. What is the big deal?
A mission statement is seeing a bigger picture. What need is your business fulfilling and for whom? What are the values you believe in for your business that will equate to the values of your customers? What level of service will you bring? These are the types of questions that should be summed up in two or three sentences.
Lindsay Kolowich lists some very good examples of mission statements for various companies in this blog post she wrote.
Step 3: Impact/Support
Do some research of the history of how products similar to yours have impacted the environment, the industry, and the proven potential for your business and product to change the future. If this is not your first product, how has your business impacted your customers? If you are a big enough company, how have you impacted the world? What changes can you bring to your customers and the world with your new product and how? It is important to have supporting statements to answer these questions.
Step 4: SWOT Analysis
A SWOT Analysis is internal influences of Strengths and Weaknesses and external influences of Opportunities and Threats. Basically, what does your business have going for you or things you that are not going so well? If it is new, you might not have as much information there. But, you might have a lot to put down for opportunities and threats. Are there doors you have not opened, yet? What are some things happening, including what your competition is doing that could affect your success?
Step 5: Market Segmentation
Your target market should be further broken down into segments. There are four differentials of consumers for segmenting. They are:
- Geographic- broken down into segments by location, whether it be national or broken all the way down to a specific neighborhood. This also can encompass climate.
- Behavioral-This differential is broken down into segments by how people buy things. This could be occasional shoppers- such as seasonally, or by holiday. It also encompasses shoppers that look for certain benefits from buying things- healthwise, fun, hobby, etc.
- Psychographic- broken down into segments by personality, status in society, and style of living.
- Demographics- This is kind of self-explanatory. It could be segmented by age, stage of life, or generation, income, education level, religious preference, and ethnicity.
Now, research the relationship with the type product you are selling to the segments you are targeting. How would those segments be impacted? What are they looking for in a product in your industry? What products have these segments historically purchased which are similar to yours?
Step 6: Your Competitors
Now, research your top competitors and their products. You can look everywhere online, including their Facebook page and Twitter. Do the SW of a SWOT Analysis (Strengths and Weaknesses) for each of them.
Step 7: How is Your Product Unique and What are Your Objectives?
What makes your product different than your competitors? What do you plan on doing with your product line to make your product different? Propose your objectives.
Step 8: Marketing Strategy Statement
This summarizes what you have already stated, and establishes your goals for return on investment. What are your financial goals for the first year? For the second? What is the overall total of what you will be spending for the year for marketing your product? This includes web design, hosting, advertising, packaging, etc.. What are your plans for staying ahead of your competition? What is your goal for increasing your market share and how much of a return on investment do you seek?
Step 9: Pricing Strategy
Will you utilize market-skimming, where you set one price, and schedule price reductions over time to profit by capturing all income levels of consumers with your pricing strategy? Or, will you use market-penetration? This is where you come in at a very low price to win over the market.
There are various strategies where there are prices based on the various products in a product line, prices for products when optional accessories are included, pricing for bundling products, prices for products that only work with a parent product, and even price strategies for selling waste products. There are also many various strategies that adjust prices such as discounts, and promotional pricing.
Step 10: Distribution
What channels will you use? What are the various stages necessary to get your products from manufacturing to your customers, and who will oversee each stage?
Step 11: Promotion
A mix of sales promotion, advertising, personal selling, digital marketing and PR, when combined together is called integrated marketing communications. A combination is the norm for today’s businesses, as it really gets you out there, engaging with consumers. List the details of how you are going to promote your product in this section. This is where you might start thinking about design, but design for a purpose. Design for who your targeted segments are. Design everything for that.
Step 12: Implementation, Evaluation & Control
For implementation, you would list who is responsible for every aspect of your promotion mix. Break it down into financials for each task. Here is an example of one task. You should have many. It does not reflect my freelance pricing.
|Brochure & Signage Budget|
|Printing per 500||200.00|
|Vinyl Banner Design||450.00|
|Banner Printing for 3||150.00|
Evaluation and Control is where you check to make sure you are getting a return on your investment. It is also where you plan on keeping track of mentions of you on social media.
To check your return on investment, one way to do it is to evaluate sales figures before, during, and after a marketing campaign, to see if it was a success.
And, you must keep track of your mentions, likes, and appreciations. You can use monitoring, such as the ones listed here. But, it is important to know what consumers are saying about you, whether it is good or bad. If you find a lot of negative comments- Let’s say your soap is making people break out, perhaps maybe it is time to check that recipe out again.
So you have a lot to think about before you start considering design. Now you should be ready to go to your designer with an idea of where you want to begin. Of course, respect your designer for the education he or she has, and let him make the actual design decisions, but you can have great input from what you have learned by doing your market plan.
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