More and more people these days are reaching out to third party marketing analytics research providers to make their marketing dollars go further. It can be extremely difficult, especially for small businesses, to make time to generate sales when you are also in charge of operations. For this reason, many entrepreneurs partner with a professional marketing firm in order to focus solely on operations. However, in order to create a firm partnership, it helps to have a strong grasp on your brand and marketing. Here are a few things you can do to get your marketing program ready for outsourcing, or to bring it to a more sustainable work load for you, the owner.

1. Analyze Your Business and Market

First take an honest look at your business and your market. Who are your competitors? What are your relative strengths and weaknesses? You probably have a good idea of what these are already, but listing them out will allow you, or a marketing partner, conduct further research regarding your niche in the market, and will allow you to visualize how you can gain a bigger share of it. Start thinking of ways to refine your brand or marketing approach.

2. Design Your Marketing

How do your customers typically find your business? Customers in urban areas are more likely to go online, and often do research on your business and competitors before converting to further inquiry or sale. For businesses that serve their local geography, you might prefer to advertise in the newspaper, the local radio, attractive signage, or flyers. Once you have selected one to three of the media you know will reach your audience, all you have to do is create an original image and message describing why your business is better than all the rest.

3. Put Systems in Place to Track Data

As soon as, or even before you start implementing your marketing programs, it is vital that you have systems in place to track data about how your customers find you, what they are experiencing when they interact with your business, and what most effectively leads them to buy your product or service. In addition to tracking the number of inquiries, leads, and sales, you should also track specific information about your marketing platforms you are using, such as number of impressions per day (how many people see your marketing), and what percentage of those impressions respond or purchase.

4. Start Implementing Your Marketing

Decide what you will need to implement your marketing. On the high-end, you can buy radio and television ads, or you could print flyers or mailers to send to your local demographic. You may decide to build a website and create a strong presence on the Internet using social media. Your marketing may require extra labor to perform sales, the expertise of a web developer, or simply capital. At this point, your marketing budget really comes into play. You may have to reanalyze things or get creative in order to reach key customers.

5. Re-evaluate

Once your programs have had some time to run their course, make use of the data systems you put in place to analyze the results. What were the trends? What appeared to work and what did not? As you look over the data, get into the marketer mindset by brainstorming experiments you can run to manipulate the data you see.

By following this process you are introducing yourself to the world of marketing. The process is fairly simple: analyze, design, track data, re-analyze. Marketing analytics research in a sense is a science, you are simply observing phenomena and taking advantage of the opportunities you see. Understanding this process will allow you to grow your sales on your own or with a marketing partner.