Marketing Success 101
Your business success doesn't just depend on having the best product or service out there. Prospective customers must have a way to find out about your business, associate your business with the product or service that will fulfill their needs, and they have to understand how you are different from everyone else.
Include these “ingredients” to make sure you reach your market (and your success goals):
Study the Market
In “Field of Dreams,” their mantra was “If you build it, they will come.” But that's not the case with most businesses. Unless you have Kevin Costner and a team of all-star ghosts getting the word out for you, marketing your business is going to take some leg-work – and possibly a clipboard. The key to every successful business venture is to do your homework before you start selling. This step could include taking a survey of residents or business owners in your market area, or it could be as easy as hiring an outside company to do a “market study” for you.
Know Your Competition
Is there someone else in the area who provides a product or service that is similar to yours – but that you offer in a different or better way? Ray Kroc used to find local burger joints in every town and open one of his shops with the "Golden Arches" right across the street. He sold burgers, fries and shakes quickly, efficiently – and best of all, cheaper than his competitors, which is what his working-class customers were looking for. Which brings us to...
Ask the Right Questions
Who are your customers and what do they want? Is your product or service something that fulfills a need in a specialty niche, or will it be purchased by everyone? Where do your customers live? And, just because they want your product, will they come and buy it from you? When Apple released its first tablet product – the iPad – people weren't sure what it was. Did they need it? Not really. Did they want it? You bet they did! The target market Steve Jobs reached out to was made up of information-hungry, working-class people with expendable income who liked having the latest-and-greatest gadgets. He asked the right questions and targeted his product for a specific audience (which grew from there).
Stand On Your Head
Not really. But you'll want to know what makes your product stand out from the rest – and make that CRYSTAL CLEAR. If you're the iPad, you're an Apple product, and your Unique Selling Proposition is that – well – you're an Apple product. But if you're a competitor's tablet, you might compete on price, or display quality while in direct sunlight, or on your product's ability to function when someone spills coffee on it... When people know what makes you different, you'll have a target market that buys your product for that reason. So stick with what works.
Complement Your Product
Your marketing messages and materials should clarify what you want people to remember about your product or service. It should solidify your brand in the eyes and ears (and memories) of those people in your target market. If you're at a trade show marketing a fitness regimen, you wouldn't hand out cookies or candy with your contact information on them – that would confuse your customers and diminish your credibility. But a “perspiration towel” or “stress ball” shaped like a running shoe - emblazoned with your logo - might do the trick.
And the same rules apply to online marketing. Certain products might do well with a social media platform, while others would be best served with an email marketing campaign, depending on the product, who you are trying to reach, where they “live” online, and how well your message complements your brand.
Do you need help getting your business brand off the ground or simply understanding the basics of marketing? At HeadsUp Marketing, we've developed a surefire strategy to develop your brand, build your platform and identify – and reach – your target market, using traditional and online techniques.
You can reach us via phone or email, and you can find us at a variety of networking events in the community, too. We look forward to working with you!