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INTRODUCTION

Marketing is the process by which goods and services move from a concept to the customer. It involves the coordination of four basic activities (Marketing, n.d.):

  • Identifying, selecting, and developing a product

  • Determining the price

  • Selecting a distribution channel to reach the customer

  • Developing and implementing a promotional strategy

One key aspect of marketing is viewing the product or service from the customer’s viewpoint. That means asking—and answering—the following questions:

  • What do people want?

  • What demonstrates value?

  • What are people willing to pay for?

This chapter covers some key areas of marketing that are critical for business owners.

“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”

–Seth Godin

DEVELOPING A MARKETING STRATEGY

When starting a business, business owners must determine an overarching marketing strategy to make the new business known to the right population of people (that is, the desired market segment). Developing a marketing strategy means answering several key questions:

  • What is the business message?

  • What services will be offered?

  • How will the business be branded? (For more on branding, see the section “Branding” later in this chapter.)

  • Will the business be independent or a collaboration? For example, suppose an advanced practice nurse wants to set up her own clinical business. Would she set up the business such that she sees patients collaboratively with a physician? Or would she work solely on her own (within the law and scope of practice, of course)?

  • Will the business include consulting? Using the same advanced practice nurse example, would she put herself up for hire to provide specialty services such as infection prevention, business operations, quality improvement, or perhaps risk management?

  • What makes the business special or unique in the field of interest?

  • Is there competition? If so, how is this business different from the competition?

  • Does the business owner have a specific set of skills, a novel concept, or unique qualifications and/or training?

  • Is the owner known as an expert in her field? For example, has she received advanced academic preparation or is she nationally certified?

  • Will this business serve a niche market?

MARKET SEGMENTATION

To market effectively, business owners must know who their customers are (or could be). What audience do you want to reach? If you want to establish a business, you must understand the community you want to serve.

One way to do this is through market segmentation, or dividing the total potential customer base into smaller segments. Business owners might use behavioral preferences, geography, demographics (such as age distribution), or psychographics (grouping potential customers relative to attitude, aspirations, etc.) to segment the market and/or ...

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