Why in Business we need to make the most of Marketing
Marketing is a key string in any successful company’s bow and is overlooked at your peril. Really effective marketing is about putting your customer at the centre of absolutely everything that you do and every decision you make.
My experience of working with start-ups is that marketing is often their biggest problem. Many new companies believe that marketing is just about brochures, websites and advertising. While these are indeed part of marketing, effective marketing is about putting your customer at the centre of absolutely everything that you do and every decision you make.
To put it simply, you have to follow a strategy that your new company is all about serving the customer, rather than maximising sales. In order to succeed, you will need to acquire a 'thinking', rather than a 'doing,' approach to business development and look at your customers as life-long customers, rather than merely 'once-off' sales.
Before you create any message in the market place, you have to ask your potential customers what they need, rather than assuming that you know what they want. It’s imperative to hear straight from the customers about their interests and needs. When you do this, you will be able to create your unique marketing message.
DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS
Before you go out to the market with your message, ask yourself a simple question: What business am I in? To give an example, I do not refer to myself as a mentor or business trainer when people enquire what I do. When asked, I say: "I work with companies to help them grow their businesses."
This is the essence of my business - in other words, my brand - and you have to be able to describe your own business in this way as this will form the core of your marketing message.
GETTING YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS
So, once you know what you are all about as a business, how do you communicate your message?
There are four key elements of any marketing communications strategy: Direct Marketing; Internet Marketing; Networking And Advertising/Public Relations. You need to do all of these, all of the time, in order to have any meaningful engagement with your customers.
Some businesses believe that Internet Marketing is the panacea to all their problems and that all they need is a good website and engagement in social media. While it is important to be on the Online plaforms, the truth is that internet marketing is just one channel of communicating with your customers. Therefore, it does not make any sense to ignore the other three marketing channels below, each of which can have a profound impact on your business.
Direct marketing – which can take the form of either through a letter or flyer, depending on the business you are in – can, if used imaginatively, support your brand's values and can also be used to direct traffic to your website. Internet marketing, meanwhile, involves not just monitoring and updating your website but defining exactly what you are going to do around social media. It’s imperative to always follow the target.
Networking is just as important. It can pay dividends to join business networks and establish a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients. Don’t overlook the potential benefits of build your virtual network on useful sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
Last but by no means least is Advertising and Public Relations. If funds permit, consider employing the services of a reputable PR specialist. However, there’s plenty you can do without loosening the purse strings. Try to get as much free publicity as possible. You could, for example, write your own article and send these to newspapers and/or online websites that are looking for expert opinion articles and advice for their readers.
Advertising, meanwhile, when done well, can help when placed in the right publication. Ensure that any publication you take an ad in is read by your target audience and remember to use words 'you' and 'your' in any advert copy. Once the advert has run, measure and test its effectiveness to determine if it should be repeated.
There is, of course, no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing – what works for one company will not guarantee results for another. Effective and successful marketing is about testing and measuring. If you are not getting results, do not keep doing the same thing over and over because you will simply get the same result over and over.
Remember to keep active in the above four marketing channels and always keep the customer at the centre of everything that you do and every decision you make. For more advice on Marketing check our my smart easy to read Marketing book The Cheese Mall.
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