Ever wonder why some marketing tactics work for some businesses but not others? Maybe you heard about a business that paints their company website’s URL on the top of their delivery trucks and increased online sales by 25% in a single quarter. However, when you try the same tactic, your sales remain flat.
The reason most marketing tactics fail is that they are not part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. A comprehensive marketing strategy helps you to choose which tactics will work for your business and keep the sales coming in like clockwork no matter what the economy.
Defining Marketing Strategy
Imagine you are on a hunting trip. You find yourself standing in the middle of a field with your rifle in your hand. Without a marketing strategy, you’ll be shooting at every leaf that the wind picks up.
Your marketing strategy will help you to decide whether you should be shooting at rabbits or elephants. Not only will your marketing strategy help you to define your target, it will help you hit that target when you raise your rifle to your shoulder and take aim.
This analogy is rich with meaning. If you’re hunting Polar Bears, then Times Square in New York City is not going to provide a lot of opportunity for you to bag your desired trophy.
In addition to picking the right spot to hunt, you need to pick your weapon based upon the animal you’re hunting. The same ammunition that effectively kills a rabbit or squirrel is just going to annoy a rhinoceros. Conversely, the ammunition that drops a rhino is going to obliterate smaller game.
If you have never shot a rifle before, the you should know that the sight on a rifle will determine whether you hit your target. If the sight is out of alignment, even though you have the target lined up with your sight, you will not hit the target. You will, instead, end up shooting above, below or to either the left or right of your target. Even if your shooting mechanics are flawless, a rifle with a sight that is out of alignment will prevent you from hitting your target.
When your marketing strategy combines the rifle with the properly aligned sight, you will find your shooting accuracy will improve dramatically.
Four Steps of Creating Powerful Marketing Strategies
STEP ONE – Research, research research
This is where you find out what you do not know. The more you know, the better your marketing strategy will be.
Leave no stone unturned as you define:
* Your customers
Age, income, education, marital statues, religious preferences, comfort level with technology, where they live, where they work, what they drive.
You just cannot know enough about your customers.
* Your competitors
Who are they? Are they only in your industry? What is their USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? Why do their customers choose them?
You may be surprised to discover your competition is not another business after all. Consider the car wash chain that discovered their biggest competitor was their own customer! Instead of looking to annihilate the other car wash facilities, this chain began focusing their marketing efforts on educating their customers on the benefits to bringing their car to them instead of washing their cars at home. Sales increased significantly once this chain realized where to point their marketing strategy. Another often overlooked “competitor” is the ever present “Do nothing”. Doing nothing is always an option. Frequently, it’s the service professional’s strongest competitor. Never underestimate the power of doing nothing.
STEP TWO – Determine the problems your customer has and the solutions you offer.
Everyone has problems. Marketing is merely the act of bringing your solutions before the people who need it most and are ready, willing and able to pay for it.
Once you know everything about your customer, you already know the solutions he or she is seeking.
STEP THREE – Determine the emotional triggers that will ignite your sales.
The act of buying is a complex and emotional decision. The reason your customer is making a purchase is not always readily apparent. While you may be selling candles, your customers may be buying:
Find out why your customers are buying and you will be on your way to marketing success.
STEP FOUR – Creating a strategy that results in breakthrough performance for your marketing efforts
Now it is time to take the information gathered in the first three steps to create a precise marketing strategy for your business or product.
Following these four steps is the foundation for creating a precise marketing strategy that will break through to your best clients and customers.
About the Author: Kathy Hendershot-Hurd is a Small Business Internet Consultant, the owner of the web development firm Virtual Impax (http://www.virtualimpax.com) and the author of Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results. Visit the book’s blog at http://www.beyondnichemarketing.com or find out more about Niche Marketing at http://www.findmyniche.com.