How to market your business with potent marketing
A good understanding into what marketing actually involves will equip you with a potent insight that will enable you to efficiently communicate with your prospects and outmanoeuvre your competition.
We take a lighthearted look into common misconceptions regarding what marketing is perceived to be.
Read this, know more and be better than your competition.
It is amazing how many people running a business or those planning to start a business think that marketing is just about advertising, brochures, the logo, exhibitions and perhaps websites: in fact anything to do with the pretty picture presentation of the business.
The reality is that “presentation” is only one of the many last elements of the marketing function. For the sake of simplicity let’s take a simple advertisement as an example of an attempt to present your business to the outside world.
Knowing when and where to place that advertisement means we have to first consider the messaging channels available. An online publication or social media, or offline such as a print publication, radio or even TV are the broad categories of choices immediately available. We then have to choose a specific medium within one of these categories.
Who’s waving back?
This means you must first decide whom you actually want to buy your product or service. Once you decide that then you have to gain an understanding of that potential customer’s habits, likes, wants and likely behaviour.
After all, there isn’t much point in placing an advertisement of your WIZZBANG64 Drag Racer head gasket torque spanner on the front page of Horse and Pony magazine. You need to get that advertisement in the place where your prospect is likely to see or hear it – and at a moment when they are likely to want to see it.
So far then, the marketing function has expanded from just being about a pretty picture moment to knowing a lot more about your prospect. And it’s not just the type of people you have to think about, it’s also where they are located. Placing an advertisement where most of its viewers are based in California might provoke interest but if your business model and logistics means you only sell within the London M25 corridor then that activity its about as much use as a moose receiving a gift wrapped hat rack for Christmas.
What’s your headline?
Having determined an idea of who and where our target is and therefore which medium to use, we now have to decide what content should appear in the advertisement. Again, many people give this conundrum scant regard and simply slap a pretty picture (often awful pictures) along with a statement along the lines of “buy me” or “we have the best quality or service”. And shouting best quality and service only works when your competition deliver zero quality and service.
“If you’re shouting “best quality and service” then you’re probably in the wrong place.”
The content of most advertisements (unless its a teaser brand type of thing – which is another story) consists of two main ingredients. These are the proposition (your offer) and desired next action (what do you want your prospect to actually do beyond think nice things about you). After all, nice thoughts don’t feed the kids or pay the bills.
The “next action” bit depends on your sales funnel model and strategy and the journey you have designed for your active prospects and the journey you have planned for those not yet ready to buy. A lot of this depends on the product, price points, the buying frequency and the sales mechanism you have set up for the job.
The proposition part is a whole new ball game and crammed full of variables and right decisions to be made. And that’s a good thing, because the more variables there are then the more opportunities you have to get ahead of the competition by getting it right and the more chances there are of the competition getting it wrong.
In fact, the less variables there are then the more chance there is of a proposition just being about price. And we don’t want that – do we?
The proposition can be a mind bender. Let’s start with the reason why your chosen prospect would want to buy what you have to offer rather than give money to the guy down the road. This provokes all sorts of scenarios and options that can be quite different between competing companies – even in the same sector.
This is what we call positioning. In other words, giving people a choice. Your positioning should strive to appeal to a segment of buyer type within your market sector. And that means you should first assess all the other types of buyer in your sector and what the competition is already doing or plan to do to address those.
“If you give people a choice then they might choose you.”
The proposition can be a unique benefit or selling point that is actually appealing enough to your prospect for them to give you money or even more money than they are willing to give to your competition. Simply put: consider this benefit as a defined unit of value that can be a usage utility, usage or ownership experience or money saved.
Without a defined unit of benefit that is substantive enough to separate money from your prospect then you become like a chancer on a TV talent show. “I believe I can sing but I cannot play an instrument, read music or had any training; and I hope I may be perceived as having talent. I am a wannabe and I wannabe famous”.
In other words, being motivated by “wannabe an entrepreneur” moments will not cut it in the reality of the business world. Your prospect and definitely your competition will not let you get away with that for very long. And that’s a good thing because this means the world is slightly more fair. When you have a substantive unit of value, you know you have a worthy reason of being in the game.
Identifying that unit of value, your particular contribution to the well being of the universe, really is what marketing is all about.
“Deliver a substantive unit of value to your prospect and the universe”
Let’s examine in a little more detail the proposition to place on this advertisement. Getting this right can take us on a profound process of self-exploration. Consider these few mind twisters.
The answer depends on the question you ask. If you ask the wrong question then you simply get the wrong answer. And the question can often depend on your perception of the problem, the opportunity and the situation; and even the dimension within which the question is being constructed.
Your perception is often based on bias and belief. Belief is a great thing when it’s right and a damned waste of time when it is misguided. Being too negative or being too cautious creates the same dilemmas.
In other words, looking in the wrong place will return to you the wrong view. Not only that, but your customers and competition also have the same mind gymnastics to play with – either consciously or subconsciously.
All this means a healthy thirst for reliable data. Data indicates dry land but it is mostly retrospective so it doesn’t always warn of incoming tides. Data enables more reliable forecasting (a whole new subject) so it is still far better then nothing. Data means you are standing in the right place, gazing in the right direction in order to see and devise a more realistic vision for your future. Data is the rocket fuel for good marketing. Getting data is called market research.
“Allowing a product to choose you will reward you with years of struggle”
The key ingredient of any proposition is the product or service. The proposition will stand or fall on the product you have chosen to market. Note the operative word “chosen”.
Good marketing chooses products based on sound marketing principles. Bad or non-existent marketing allows products to choose you; either due to circumstances, decisions based on emotion or just plain zombie walking. Unless you are lucky, you are then faced with potentially years of struggle in trying to make that pup successful.
In fact, there are a whole list of potent variables to contend with when guiding a product into your prospect’s shopping bag. Each one can easily make or break a business; product shape, colour, size, function, reliability, touch, essence, life cycle. The differences between your product and that of your competitor can be slight but stark for those prospects for which it is important. Consider: iphone v Samsumg, Coca Cola v Pepsi, Google v everybody else.
Actually should we be selling another product instead: or even not selling in that market at all.
But just a minute: isn’t marketing just about pretty pictures on brochures and a nice looking logo? Where did all this other stuff come from?
Basic marketing books actually call all this stuff the four Ps.
In fact, marketing is everything and all around us: from being nice to the postman at the front gate to countering positioning strategies. If your competition believes that marketing is just about advertising, brochures, the logo, exhibitions and perhaps websites and you think different then you are definitely onto a winner.