Marketing results should be measured in only one way – increased sales. Marketing should not be considered an art form. Its mere existence is not enough. Marketing is the first step to the sale. There are seven underlying principles upon which to base your marketing strategy and efforts. Follow them and your business will be a raving success. Violate them and you will fail as so many small businesses do.
The seven underlying principles are Image, Differentiation, Repeat Business, Ease of Doing Business, Networking, Likeability, and Emotion. Let’s begin with image.
Much like people have an image so does their business. Some people are informal and likeable, as are some businesses. Some people are formal and aloof, as are some businesses. Your image is wrapped up in your packaging. The clothes you wear, the haircut you sport, the weight you carry, and the age you are, all create your image. The same applies to your business.
Every way your business presents itself to your customers adds to or detracts from the image you are trying to create with your marketing efforts. Decide on the image you wish to convey to the public and design your business to support that image. Your business cards, letterhead, website, advertising materials, and every other portion of your business which will come into contact with a customer must reflect the same image.
If you sell a product, your image is also reflected in your packaging, the colors, the box, the website, the store — everything. If you sell a service, your image is reflected in your writings, your website, your proposals and your presentations. Make every interaction with a customer or prospect reflect the image you have for your business.
However, remember, it is far easier to create an unforgettable image by differentiating yourself from the competition.
Be as different as a zebra in a herd of horses. You must be different from your competitors in order to stand out. And, you must be able to convey that difference in all your messages to prospects. If you know you are different and don’t convey it, you lose. You must leverage your differences to your advantage.
If you can’t differentiate yourself, it’s because of two general reasons. You think you don’t have any competitors. Or, you have copied your competitors to the extent you all look alike to your prospects.
Thinking you don’t have any competitors is a dangerous and naïve position to take. Even if someone doesn’t sell the exact product you sell, they do compete with you for people’s money. If a potential customer is spending money with someone else, they aren’t spending it with you. Offer something different in product or service.
The second option, where you look just like your competition, is equally dangerous. In this situation, the only way to compete is by having the lowest price. Lowest price also translates to lower profit margin. This means you’re working harder to make money than you have to.
Differentiating yourself …