Why Most Marketing Doesn’t Work!
Whether an existing business or a start-up, the prospect of marketing your products & services can seem daunting. The reality is that without regular well thought out marketing strategy and activity any business will struggle to reach it’s full potential - particularly in an increasingly competitive market place.
The good news is that if you put in place some solid foundations you will quickly see a positive return on your marketing activities. Here are seven “must-do’s” to get your marketing working for you:
1. Research, Research, Research
This is the most important stage for your business. Do this correctly and meticulously will make everything that follows so much easier. It will also save a lot of time, money and heartache in the future. There are too many examples of businesses that failed because they tried to give their customers something they didn’t actually need.
Your market research should include industry research, competitor research and customer research. If you’re an existing business, also include some staff research – they’ve loads of great ideas!
And by the way, your research never stops because change is guaranteed.
2. Be Different
Most businesses have direct competitors offering similar products or services. This means your prospective customers have choices. Therefore you need to differentiate your business from your competitors in a way that is important to your customers. Commonly called USP (Unique Selling Proposition) this is an extremely important marketing tool for your business and will set you apart from your competition.
A common mistake with marketing material is that it tries to be all things to all men. For SME’s in particular you need to clearly identify your various types of customer – target markets. Your marketing material then needs to focus on the differing needs / desires of each target market. This approach is not only more successful, it’s also far more cost effective.
4. Clearly Communicate Your Message
Having identified your various groups of customer, (target markets), your marketing material needs to “Match” their specific needs / desires. This is known as the Market-Message-Match and is a key ingredient to producing successful marketing material.
5. Build a Relationship
Now more than ever it’s very important to build a strong relationship with both your prospective and existing customers. Keeping in regular contact, making your customer feel valued and “enriching their lives” are all highly successful strategies to winning and retaining customers. Better still, with an array of low cost marketing techniques available, this can be achieved for little or no cost to the business.
6. Develop a Marketing System
Marketing activity can suffer from peaks and troughs – i.e. we market when we’re quiet and stop or slow down when we’re busy. As confidence in your marketing ability grows, so too should your commitment to consistent and planned marketing activity. A business needs to develop a number of marketing activities or “Routes to Market” that are proven over time to achieve a positive return on investment.
7. Marketing Plan
Putting in place a Marketing Plan will be one of your best investments, and it need only cost you your time. Not only will it be a valuable aid and reference point as your business moves forward, the process of putting together a Marketing Plan will also stimulate fresh ideas, increase confidence in your business venture and provide clear direction for it’s future success. As the saying goes, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”