Monthly Archives: September 2009

Marketing Sync

Marketing messages and branding efforts for your products and services need to be in sync with your business.

If you promote the sizzle without serving the steak, no amount of marketing will overcome the negative perception your brand will engender in the minds of customers who’ve experienced a reality without any red meat. Be honest with your brand; find and promote what you do best and if your target market values this, promote it.

Walmart should never market itself as a retailer with exceptional customer service.  This doesn’t mesh with their business model.  But a message that promotes how they save shoppers money meets our expectations and works for those who want to save money more than they want exceptional service.

When you develop messaging, make sure your message actually resonates with what your customers experience.  Advertising can help lead your brand perception where you want it to go, but ultimately your business must deliver what you promise for it to be effective. It needs to be in sync with reality.

Advertising without proper marketing research is a waste of money.  Knowing the pulse of your customer’s needs and their perception of your brand is way more useful than crossing your fingers and hoping your hunch on what you do well and what your customers want pans out.

Match what you do well with what your customer’s want and the message you promote will not only resonate with your customers, but also build up the value of your brand and carve your business niche in your market.

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Five Ways to Recycle Marketing

In these economic times, marketing can and should be recycled when possible. There are many way to “recycle” marketing.  Here are five ways to recycle marketing:

  1. Copy proven marketing techniques
    When you see effective marketing methods being used in comparable marketplaces, why not try them within your marketplace?  For example, if your business receives a last minute cancellation for service, use a targeted email or Twitter to fill your unexpected vacancy. This gives your customers the opportunity to fill the vacancy, possibly at a reduced price, so they get a good deal and your slot doesn’t go wasted. Everybody wins!
  2. Share marketing resources
    Reach out to your network.  Team up with other companies in your community to pool resources for marketing purposes.  At the very least you’ll benefit from getting another (potentially more objective) perspective on your marketing ideas. It can be very helpful to share ideas.
  3. Barter your product for marketing services
    If your product or service is something a local marketing company could use in their business, try bartering your product for their marketing services.  I’ve bartered my services for many service providers, such as accountants and consultants.
  4. Re-use graphics or marketing elements
    Hopefully your marketing efforts are targeted.  If so, there could be opportunities to use parts of your marketing campaign for new target prospects/customers.  There’s no law against reusing graphics, images, or templates from previous campaigns, just make sure you change enough of your collateral so your marketing effort is distinguishable from past promotions.
  5. Re-distribute your content
    One of the most effective marketing tactics is providing relevant and useful content.  When writing content, you never know if that content will be a viral hit.  Redistribute popular content through other channels (e.g. – website, mail, email, syndication, speaking engagements) or package content in a new way (e.g. – offer a Top Ten Blog Posts for signing up to your e-newsletter or link back to past content as I did in this bullet).

There are numerous ways to recycle your marketing.  Use these suggestions to lower costs while increasing sales.  Hopefully, this post will help get you jump-started in finding your ways to do just that!

How have you recycled your marketing?  Please share your experience or send me a message.

Creating Buzz

The best way to get your company and product to grow is having evangelistic users spreading the word on your behalf.  However, don’t underestimate the effort it takes to get an influential person to find your product, use it, and endorse it to their followers.

Assuming your product is as great as you think it is, to create buzz, you’ll need to actively identify users who’ll share why your product is the next great thing.  If influencers don’t find your product, it might as well not exist.  Getting found by influencers is crucial to creating buzz.

Influencers may find your product through other means (e.g. – press release, product reviews, etc.), but to make things happen for your business you must, I repeat you MUST, actively reach out to influencers in your market and get your name out there. For more information on how to identify and reach out to influencers read this post on influencer marketing.

Learn what influencers think, continually improve your product, and make it buzz-worthy.  These conversations are key to planting the seeds that bloom into conversations that sell your product through word-of-mouth marketing.

If your product is great and you can identify/introduce/evangelize your product to influential people, not only will these influential voices help spread the word, those who listen and agree will continue the conversation.  Hooray!

What product or service are you buzzing about?

Dream Big, Narrow Your Focus

I dream big.  I also know that focusing on the key customer-driven components of my business solution and aligning my company’s processes around those elements is the best way to turn my big dreams into a successful business.

In a small business, it’s all too easy to get distracted by potential development opportunities that add breadth to your product or service line.  Don’t fall prey to this lure.  Ensure your success by selling a viable product or service before taking misguided steps that steer your attention away from your company’s mission.

Focus on one specific solution and deliver it better than anyone else.  This will lay the ground work to pursue more intricate business opportunities down the line.  Take a cue from 37Signals build a simple focused product like BaseCamp and parlay that success into other complimentary products that add additional value to your enthusiastic client base.

For entrepreneurs, it’s critical you define and stay focused on what your customer needs are and deliver your solution that is so focused on those needs that your customer’s alternative options become substandard in comparison.

Customer prospecting and marketing research upfront is key to accurately determine whether your solution meets your target market’s needs.  Once these needs are defined and you have your product mission statement, you can focus on developing your core product or service.

For example, let’s say I’m a window washer that’s discovered my customers want eco-friendly washing detergents and fast service. That’s great, but are they actually going to pay money for these proclamations? Be sure your prospect wants, is willing to pay for, and has the ability to purchase your product or solution.

As a window washer, If I find my prospects are more willing to pay for fast service then you better believe every decision I make will be guided by this need for speed, and my marketing efforts will position my services as the speediest window washer in town!

The takeaway from all this is when your starting out, narrow your focus, deliver a solution that meet your paying customers needs and parlay your success into developing complimentary solutions.  Dream big, but stay focused.  Your success awaits!

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