What is “Marketing” and do I really need it in my business?
I like to define marketing as “the way you communicate to the people in your marketplace about what you are offering and why your offering is a better choice than the other options”.
So, whether you want to believe it or not, every business really does engage in a level of “marketing” simply by facilitating that exchange of selling their product or service to a customer.
That said, just because every business is doing it doesn’t mean they’re doing it well. That’s where a deliberate and planned approach to your marketing can be valuable. The question then moves from being about “do I need marketing”, to “how can I improve what we’re already doing”. Put simply, every business – big or small – should be looking at the message they’re putting out in the marketing place and ensuring it’s the best kind of way to communicate with their target market.
So….where do you start? In an effort to keep it simple, here are three short activities for you to do that will start you on a more pro-active approach to your marketing.
What do you do?
At The Marketing Box, we like to start with identifying every single product or service a client has on offer – just make a giant list and add everything you can think of. This helps to identify clusters of products, gaps (for future marketing and sales planning), things that you had forgotten that you offered, and most importantly it helps to identify your core business.
What do your best customers “look” like?
Knowing things about your customers is gold. The more you know, the better you can connect with them, which ultimately improves your opportunities to make a sale. Firstly, determine if your customers are consumers (Business to Consumer market – B2C), businesses (Business to Business market – B2B), resellers or a combination.
Side note: all of these details are important as they’ll help you later on in determining the best ways to reach these people via different communications mediums – for example the B2C market responds well on Facebook but has limited success with the B2B market.
Next, start to try and identify your customers by key characteristics – for example, are they generally from a certain geographic area? Do you predominantly deal with males / females? Who are the people involved with the decision making behind the purchase?
Lastly, try and determine your best purchasers, both by volume and by dollars spent. This helps you to know the people you really want to pursue with your marketing – your target market.
Side story: I have worked with clients in the past who believe everyone is a potential customer, so they aim to pursue everyone with their marketing efforts. The problem with this lies in the fact that everyone is different – and there’s no changing that fact. Through working with The Marketing Box, these customers were able to identify the “best” customers to pursue because they represented the greatest purchasing potential, and then they target their marketing efforts to these specific groups. The result: an increase in sales with the easiest customers to satisfy.
Which brings me to my last point….
What problem are you solving?
In this day and age where there are many different purchasing options and ways to source a product, your business need to send out a message that goes beyond the great features of your product, to communicating exactly how your product solves a problem. This is made much easier when you know who your target market.
This is often a hard question to answer as a seller, but it’s made much easier if you take time to talk with your customers and potential customers to find out what their problems are, and what they think of what you sell.
This is just the start, but if you can correlate answers to these three areas you’re well on your way to connecting better with your target market and ultimately increasing sales, your customer base and the frequency of purchases.