By Chuck Groot
Marketing and using the best advertising medium has vexed entrepreneurs since the beginning of time. Understanding your business and the role it plays is essential in crafting an effective marketing strategy and determining the best advertising vehicle is crucial for you and your business. It is easier than you think but few do it, why? Because it takes time and thought!
1. Know yourself
Who are you? No, really who are you? And what are you trying to accomplish? Clarity is your lifeline that instantly connects you with your prospective clients. This clarity is critical in knowing your purpose and explaining that purpose to others. When it comes to your product, service, or idea; this clarity will get to the heart of the matter and the heart of your customer in seconds. Logic drives decisions but emotion drives purchases.
Knowing who you are and who your business is, is critical in this equation. What are your values? What are you willing to do to get the job done? How important is your success to you?
How does your business practices align with your personal beliefs and habits. Look at the following list and think about where you want your life and business to go.
· Inner Harmony
· Meaningful Work
If you are not happy, your business will not be happy! It will be so much easier to find people who align with your values and to do business with them, when you intimately know yourself.
2. Know your product
In order to effectively sell your product, service, idea you need to be confidentially familiar with it. There is no way you can express to your prospective client all the benefits and areas they will enjoy the use of your product unless you know them. After all, there are only two reasons people buy:
a. To get rid of a problem
b. To gain satisfaction of some sort
Good starting points would be the following:
· What problems do I solve?
· What the purpose of your product is?
· How can it be described? How is it made and with what?
· Why would this product benefit your client?
· How will it improve the clients life?
· How can your customer get your product?
· How much does it cost?
We all know that people buy the benefits of the product, but they want to know the features to make an informed decision. You must therefore be able to explain exactly how the product could make a difference to the customer – whether it will make them look better; feel better, or their life easier; happier; healthier or more productive.
3. Know your customer
There is a 40/40/20 rule in marketing and it goes like this:
· 40% of the success of your marketing is dependent on the target audience
· 40% of the success of your marketing is dependent on what you're offering [product or service]
· 20% of the success of your marketing is dependent on creativity
Considering that at least 40% of your sales are determined by knowing who your target market is, it is not a far stretch to realize that your success depends on it. Simply put, by knowing your product, you are well on your way to determining who your target market (your customer) might be. Exceptional companies excel in knowing who their customers are:
· Who would pay for my product or service?
· Who already bought from me and why?
· What information is important to me?
o Where do they live?
o What are their ages?
o Their incomes?
o Where do they hang out? To name just a few things.
4. Know your market
This encompasses knowing the competitors in your market. This is one area that many business people fail miserably. They may look at it cursorily but not in depth and most important, rarely more than twice. This is an ongoing, never ending exercise because like everything else it is ever-changing.
· Who is your competition?
· What is their style, image, culture. Is it similar to you or different and in what way?
· What do they offer? Do they have similar styles and options? What about the amount of inventory they carry – more or less?
· Are people talking about them? What are they saying? Who is in the news the most and why?
· Go shopping and e the customer, understand the shopping experience.
· What are their staff like, how are the trained, how much do they get paid?
· What are other states, provinces, countries, or continents doing? What are the new trends and styles.
· What are others charging for the same product? Are you competitive or too cheap?
· Who is winning the social media wars?
· Can you find out market share percentages, if so , do it?
5. Know how to reach your market
The ultimate question – how do I know where to put my advertising dollars, there are so many choices and few reliable statistics? You want to know if your ads are reaching the right audience and generating the sales.
A few years ago, a team from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia set out to establish the definitive answer to that very question. Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Colgate-Palmolive and a host of other big companies collectively invested more than a million dollars so that Wharton might track the return-on-investment experienced by several dozen small businesses as a result of advertising. These businesses were scientifically monitored and measured for seven long years. The final report filled more than 2,500 pages. Only three conclusions were reached:
1. There is no direct correlation between dollars invested and results gained.
2. Results are inextricably linked to the message.
Ads that speak to the heart of the customer and touch a nerve are the ones that turn little companies into big companies. But few people know how to write such an ad. Most business owners approach advertising with the goal of merely getting their name out. But there is no evidence to suggest this will help you in the slightest. The Wharton study indicates that everything hinges on the message you attach to your name. Is your message predictable and, consequently, boring? Is it believable? Is it relevant to the perceived need of the reader/listener/viewer?
3. Results increase with repetition.
You need to research the following:
· What advertising mediums are most accepted in your market area?
· Who is listening, watching, or following what?
· What is the heart of your message and which medium will translate it the best?
· Ask your customers how they found out about you?
· Research the best time to advertise your product, service, or idea.
Time of day
Time of year
There is no clear cut answer to what to do other than test, test, test. The honest truth is you should be maximizing your spend by running your advertisements on as many services as possible, at least in the beginning. Try different mediums and always track the results.