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Customers buy on benefits, not on technical features and advantages superior to competitive products and services.Understanding the customer, your organization, and developing a strong marketing plan will, in the short and long term, give you a fighting chance to meet the demands and challenges of the future in an ever-changing electrical market. Customers are placing a higher priority on time than money, and it seems that nearly all projects are now “fast track.” Managing money is easier than managing time, and every electrical contracting company struggles with waste, inaccurate records, or even time theft. Most mass media take a shotgun approach, which means that if your marketing strategy is to develop name recognition or imaging to a large community, then TV, radio, newspapers and magazines become the approach of choice.
In all approaches, a script of significant points must be developed so that a single message is delivered to the market.
The message must focus on the benefits of your products and services, which is directed at satisfying the customer’s needs and wants.
For example: telemarketing, surveys, industry reports on trends, associations and vendors.
But the best method is the direct customer approach, which is based on your established dialogue and knowledge of the customer.
That plan is based on the answers of the most difficult, repetitive questions facing contractors today: The answers to these questions will lead to the development of the organization’s mission statement.
The mission statement will provide the foundation and the representing image by which marketing can develop strategy for both customers and suppliers.Knowledge of the customer is the cornerstone for planning the marketing strategy of any organization.Planning has many benefits: first, it sets standards of performance; second, it shapes the organization’s direction and objectives; and third, it leads to better coordination of resources, efforts and control.You could work as an employee and gain valuable insight into how other companies operate, or you could work as self-employed.Becoming self-employed will lay the foundations for your business and is the next step towards having your own business as an electrician.With this information, a sales direction can be established and supportive literature can be developed to address the target customer.There are several approaches for getting the message out to the market: TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, yellow pages, Web sites, direct mailing and telemarketing.MARTIN is a business consultant for Alan Martin & Assoc., consultant for SBA, speaker and adjunct instructor with NECA-MEI, based in Morris Plains, N. How would you like to be your own boss and earn a lot of money by doing something that is genuinely enjoyable most of the time?There are those who will argue that it is useless to have a marketing plan in a changing environment. Planning better prepares the contractor for a sudden change in products and competition by anticipating changes and having the ability to respond quickly.Marketing planning and strategy is only part of an organization’s business plan.