Business English. Learn Business English with a Business English Reading Prompt:  Marketing Your Business Part 2 of 3
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Business English. Learn Business English with a Business English Reading Prompt: Marketing Your Business Part 2 of 3


English vocabulary and phrases, Business English: target market, targeting, marketing, marketing strategy, competition, customer, market.

The first article on “Marketing Your Business” gave some plain English ideas about marketing, your customers, and your competition. This article will focus on finding and marketing to the correct target market, or communicating what products or services you have to sell to your customers.

As stated in the first article, marketing is fairly straightforward. You have a business, you have products and services, or know of a need in the market, or have this great idea or product you want to sell.

The first thing to think about is who is going to buy your products or services? How do you determine who your customers are or who are your potential customers? If you are new in business, just starting a small business, or starting your first Internet business, then a quick and easy way to get some ideas is to look at what your business is or what products you have. Suppose you’ve had a lot of pets for a long time and you now have a lot of practical information on how to raise pets, ideas on how to keep them happy, ideas on pet health etc. You have started or about to start an Internet business that provides practical information and advice to pet owners. You think you have some good ideas for other pet owners that you want to sell along with some practical products that cat or dog owners might want to buy. Who is going to buy your products and services? Maybe cat and dog owners? Yes and no is the correct answer.

Today’s buzzword in business marketing is “segmentation.” Segmentation is simply the process of dividing a market into groups of similar customers and selecting the most appropriate group(s) for your company to serve. In other words, we know that you probably aren’t going to sell your products to pet owners who have fish or pet owners who have birds, but focus on dog and cat owners only. That way you can better serve those customers and maximize your time, money and energy. Sounds practical and logical right? Well it is but you wouldn’t believe how many big businesses don’t understand the concept of segmentation. They take what is called the “shot gun approach,” trying to market and sell to everyone they can reach, believing that “if we market to enough customers someone is going to buy our products” Well for a large Fortune 500 company that might work, or might have worked ten years ago, and it certainly won’t work for a small business that is operating on limited time, money, and energy. If you operate a small business you have limited resources at your disposal. As such it requires you to be as efficient as possible. Market segmentation gives you that efficiency that you need.

If we go back to two of our questions, “Who is going to buy your products and services?” We said “Maybe cat and dog owners?” And we also said “Yes and no.” Why yes and no? Yes we are selling our products and services to dog and cat owners. Are we going to sell to “all” dog and cat owners? If you have unlimited time, money, and energy then maybe you would say yes, “I want to reach every dog and cat owner.” Another question to ask yourself is how big is the dog and cat ownership market? Also again do you have the resources that reach and “effectively market and serve” every dog and cat owner? Most small businesses don’t have the resources; it would be foolish for a new or startup business to attempt to serve the entire market.

So what are the alternatives for a small Internet business that wants to sell their products to cats and dog owners but don’t have the resources to “effectively reach” each and every dog and cat owner? Again the answer is “market segmentation.” Businesses must choose who or determine exactly who they want as their customers so that they can be effective in selling and servicing those customers only and not every related customer who might be dog or cat owners. How is this done? A business might limit the types of dog and cat owners they market to. They might do this by focusing on specific types of cats or dogs. Or even dogs or cats only. Or even the types of products or services they will sell or market. Some business might want to sell and market to a certain age group, for example, young married couples with a few children, or older consumers who now only have the pets at home and not the children.

There are many ways to segment your market based on your products that you want to sell or based on the consumers you want to reach. Remember, a small business is limited in time, money, and energy. As such pick and choose your products and customers so that you can be effective and efficient and still make money. Once you decide who you are going to market to, then you can focus all your energy and time on that segment of the market and not all the other segments of for example the dog and cat pet market, or pet market, and you will provide better service and products to your customers.

Now that we’ve had a brief look at marketing and your customers, part three of this series will give a description of marketing and your competitors. It's important to understand and realize who your competitors are and what can you do about them.

Discussion: Choose a business and try to determine what their target market is.



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