Is this you?
You’re so busy spinning the various plates you need to run your own business; you barely have time for your business. One of these plates may be marketing and, in this article, I cover some points which I hope will help.
Here’s a question:
Would you embark on a journey to a new destination without checking where you’re going and how long it will take?
When it comes to marketing your business it’s pretty much the same. Your business is on a journey and, by taking some time out to plan at the outset, you should find your route to meeting your business goals smoother and even quicker.
What is Marketing?
One of the common misconceptions is that marketing is all about advertising or selling. Whilst these are components, real marketing is about knowing what your customers’ or clients’ needs are and fulfilling these needs. However, marketing is not an isolated function. It should be seen as a philosophy that guides your whole business. Ultimately the goal of marketing is to create customer satisfaction profitably by building valued relationships with your customers or clients. And this needs to be embedded throughout your business. It’s not a stand-alone add on or something to think about further down the line. If you can integrate the philosophy of marketing into your business’ DNA now, you’ll find you need to spend less time planning and more time on your core business.
Marketing works by influencing a customer or client to take action and is all about getting the right message in front of the right people at the right time. But how?
Firstly, identify your target market
This is key. Without understanding who your market is, how can you reach them? So, it’s worth spending a bit of time upfront segmenting your market – breaking it down into groups of similar like-minded individuals and finding your most profitable market segment. You may well have a broad target market and that’s okay. But, for marketing, it’s advisable to segment to hone and target communications. And it’s important that each target market is identified clearly at the outset of any communication or marketing campaign to make sure you’re speaking to that particular group. This way you can ensure your messages resonate and motivate, ultimately leading to action.
Next determine its needs or wants when it comes to your product or service
If you can find out what your target market’s needs and wants are and ensure you’re supplying the solution, you will be well on the way to getting them to buy your product or service.
But how do you do that? Simple, you ask them!
There are various research techniques available to help us gain insight and better understand our customers and their needs/wants. These include qualitative (focus groups or individual interviews where we can get rich and detailed answers) and quantitative (questionnaires using large, representative groups where we can assign numerical value to consumers feelings, beliefs and behaviours).
Next you need to ensure you’re speaking their language
Here you need to show you understand their ‘problem’ and that you can provide the ‘solution’. And it may sound obvious but say it in a way that they’ll understand. It’s easy to get caught up in acronyms and sector-speak. We may think, by using these, we sound more informed and knowledgeable but, unless these are universally understood, it’s best to steer clear and relay your messages in ‘consumer-speak’.
And lastly, where and when should you speak to them?
The answer is where your target market is and when it’s likely it will be receptive to your messaging and go on to take action. Sadly, it’s unlikely your customers or clients will come directly to you without prompting, so you need to find out where they hang out. Once you’ve established this, communicate, advertise or post there.
Are they on social media and, if so, which platform? Maybe your target market doesn’t use social media – it is possible! Where else can you be speaking to it? It’s helpful to break our communication channels into three:
· Paid (advertising)
· Earned (PR/shares on social media etc.)
· Owned (website/intranet/newletters etc.)
Now let’s look at the ‘when’. When will your customer or client be receptive to your messages? For this we can look at and map our customers’ journeys against the various touchpoints. One of the simplest ways to do this is to use the AIDA model (acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) developed back in 1898 by Elias St. Elmo Lewis but still holds true today. We can add retention and advocacy at the end to reflect the true customer value.
This really is a whistle-stop tour. I hope it helps a bit with the plate spinning and explains why we should spend time upfront on marketing. However, if you’d like more information or if I can help in any way please do get in touch. Alternatively, you may like to read the series of articles I’ve written on getting to know your customers which cover the above in much more detail. You can access these here.
Marie Wimlett is a highly experienced marketer who has worked with small, medium and FTSE 500 companies on campaigns ranging up to £2M. Now, she works with business owners who need help starting out or scaling their business to the next level.
You can connect with Marie here: