By: John Lyszczyk, Gadd Business Consultants
The world of marketing has an ever-changing atmosphere that can either be a business’s best friend or an underperforming monetary burden. People are buying differently. More and more groups, niches, pages, gangs, clubs and cliques are being formed over the internet. Customers are changing behaviors with new trends or fads. The constant change can get overwhelming and very difficult for a business owner to develop a marketing strategy. Where does one start? With that said, I have compiled some marketing strategies for you to try out that will help jumpstart your efforts. Here is part one of the four-part marketing blog series. Enjoy!
- Start with what you Know and Don’t Know
Make two columns. Write down what you know about your ideal customer and what you don’t know about your ideal customer. For instance, do you know how your customer buys? Where do they buy? What motivates them to buy? What problem does your product/service solve for your customer? What are some of the objections your customer has when buying? These are just a few questions you need to ask yourself, but ultimately you will have to know everything about your ideal customer. If you want to be a successful marketer, you have to become the customer.
- Interview Your Team and Others
Sit your team down and go over the list you just created. They should know your customer just as well as you do, and they will be able to provide a different perspective. Moreover, this will help you and your team get on the same page when it comes to implementing the final marketing strategy. Ask your team questions and find out what their thoughts are. Most likely they will be able to give insight or information that you didn’t have before. Work smart, not alone. If you are a sole proprietor, then find key people in your industry and go over the aforementioned process with them. If you can connect with a person (even a competitor) within your industry that knows the customer, ask them what they know about who they are selling to. I have tried this myself and I was able to obtain helpful information. This may not be possible depending on your industry or business, so now what? Well, what’s wrong with asking your ideal customers directly? You should do the following even if you have a marketing team. Put together a survey with high gain questions that will help you understand the customer more. Find a Facebook group or send out an email to your list of clients and ask to connect with them. Ideally, you would want to sit down in person and find out what their needs/wants are, what their objections are, etc. This is time consuming, however, it is time well spent if you truly care about what your customer’s wants/needs are.
- Analyze Your Competition
Perform a SWOT analysis of your competition. List out a competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You will want to note what they do well and what they are not doing well. What are some opportunities that they are not capitalizing on? What is something that could fold their business? This process is not a formality, but rather a method to get you thinking about growing your business and beating your competition. With this in mind, you can also note how you will do things differently than your competitors. What can you offer to your target market that your competition isn’t delivering? Think of everything even if it seems impossible at the time. Ask yourself questions relevant to finding ideas that will help you differentiate your business from the competition. Lastly, look outside your industry for ideas to steal. You may learn something from a company that is in a completely different industry that will help you gain a competitive edge.
- Mind Map
Now it is time to put together all the information you have gathered and collaborate with your team. Start by making a linear map of your customer’s buying process and make notes that will help improve this process. Start with the customer’s motivation to buy and write down every step up to the point where the customer receives the product or service. This will help give you and your team a visual reference of understanding the customer. Highlight key areas to focus on and discuss how you will continue to play to your strengths. This is not a solidified document, so make changes or adjustments when necessary. However, you and your team should always be aware of what your customers are looking for. This exercise will aid in keeping up-to-date information on your customer’s wants, needs and their overall buying cycle.
Hopefully this article will help you get started on improving your marketing efforts. Obviously understanding your customer is imperative when attempting to grow sales. Digging in to the marketing trenches is where you’ll find more revenue. With that said, be sure to check out “Next Week’s article title”, which covers the next topic of our marketing efforts discussion. Thanks for reading!