University of Maryland Extension

Is Your Marketing Strategy Working?

Ginger S. Myers

Mastering Marketing - June 2016


Who’s Your First and Best Customer?

Target Marketing involves breaking a market into segments and then concentrating your marketing efforts on one or a few key segments. Having a good grasp on your target market makes the promotion, pricing and distribution of your products and/or services easier and more cost-effective. It provides a focus to all of your marketing activities.

Targeting a specific market does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets.

Example of target market segments for locally grown foods or local services include:

  • Health conscious food buyers
  • Customers sharing similar purchasing values
  • Community builders
  • Seasonal products
  • Retail, Wholesale, or a blend of both.

Test & Track

But simply identifying your target segments and hoping you’re reaching those customers may not be enough to guarantee your marketing success. Trying to guess at your marketing strategy and effectiveness is a guaranteed way to fail. People and market dynamics are just too complicated.

Everything you do in your business will be a test. When you try something that produces good results, you’ll keep it. When you do something that doesn’t produce, you need to stop doing it. Sounds simple, but a surprising number of businesses keep repeating a marketing strategy because it’s easier, or they don’t have another, or they’ve convinced themselves it’s a good approach with willful disinformation.

To grow your business effectively, it’s vital that you know what is working and what isn’t. There just isn’t enough time, energy, and money to waste on things that produce nothing for your company. Tracking is simply keeping track of what marketing efforts you are using, and exactly how many responses you are getting from each one. Ask customers how they heard about the business, collect coupons, code sales offers and mailing responses. Without this information, you’ll waste a great deal of time and money, and lose even more in missed sales.

Is Your Marketing on Target?

According to Mitch Levinson’s Guerilla Marketing concepts, you can be pretty sure you’re not marketing properly if any of these seven danger signals are present:

  1. Your sales are driven mostly by price.
  2. Customers cannot distinguish your products or services from those of your competitors.
  3. You use disconnected sales gimmicks.
  4. You do not have a unified plan for imparting your message  to your customers and to the trade.
  5. Most sales leads come from your sales staff.
  6. Longtime customers say, “I didn’t know you offered that.”
  7. You do not have a customer or prospect database.

 To print this article (pdf format) click the "Download document" below...

Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2020. Web Accessibility

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.