According to the American Heritage Dictionary, marketing defined is the act or process of buying and selling in a market, but what are some of the strategies that successful corporations use to gain an advantage over their competition? Successful companies invest up front to develop an advertising and promotions plan, which clearly outlines the goals and strategies of the organization. Once the plan is in place and ready to implement, identification of target markets must be determined. Successful companies also pay close attention to the competition and use failures and successes to their advantage.An advertising and promotions plan will include such items as identifying target markets, creating messages to the market and what avenues will be used to communicate the message. The plan should also identify how successes are measured through the use of a quantifiable list that tracks whether or not the tasks are accomplishing the goals.

One of the most valuable factors of successful marketing is to know your target market. If Anheuser-Busch, one of the most recognized trademarks in the world, targeted customers under the legal drinking age of 21 years, chances are they would not be a world leader. The most effective way to find out about the targeted market is through basic market research. How will they perceive the offered product or service? The best way to find out what they want is to ask them.

Send out surveys and offer incentives for completing and returning the survey promptly. Telephone surveys are another valuable tool that can be utilized to gain valuable market information from consumers.The successful advertisers are always looking at their competitors' ads and marketing strategies, learning from their mistakes and pulling ideas from what has proven to be a success. Analyzing demographics, customer volume, peaks and valleys of service requirements, prices, product line etc., are all elements to a successful marketing strategy.
In the early 1990's I had the opportunity to start and operate a limousine company.

My marketing strategy was basic but the research listed above proved to be a valuable resource. Marketing my business held as much weight as having the limo on the road as much as possible to increase revenue. Working on a low budget I started with a basic ad in the yellow pages then moved quickly to flyers at major events in my area. By analyzing the advertisements of the larger more successful companies I quickly turned to newspaper, magazine and media ads. By the time I sold my business, I had learned some very valuable lessons such as using your competition to gain a marketing edge.

The key to success is to develop a clear advertising and promotions plan and build from that plan. The same marketing ideas that work for large successful companies can work for all companies. Marketing is bringing a service or product to the eyes of potential customers. There are many paths to success; the key is finding the path to victory.