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There isn’t an investor in the industry, at least not one that has realized some degree of success, who would advise against a proper marketing strategy.
Marketing is an essential component to sustainable success. It is, for the most part, the foundation of your company. Without it, consumers won’t even have the chance to see you as a viable option.
Skimping on marketing is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make. No matter how highly you regard your business, there will be no demand for what you have to offer if nobody is even aware of its existence.
To get the most out of your next marketing campaign, or even to simply increase your exposure, I recommend several steps.
The first step
Let’s start with identifying your target market. The more people that are made aware of your company and what it does, the better off you will be. However, it is not enough to simply broadcast a message to the masses without a plan.
When marketing and advertising any business, you must first identify a target audience. The key is to get your material in front of the people you want to see it.
Identifying a target market is more about focusing your efforts than excluding those who don’t fit your criteria. In fact, you aren’t neglecting anyone; you are simply identifying those that are more likely to buy your product. You will quickly learn that marketing to a specific demographic is much more productive than the alternative.
Set aside some time to evaluate what it is you are offering, and who, specifically, would benefit from your product or service. You need to know exactly who your customers are and the demographics you hope to serve.
It’s impossible to know where you are going until you know where you have been. Subsequently, your current customer base should give you a good idea of how to formulate any future strategies. Who are you currently doing business with? There are most likely common characteristics that exist among your clientele.
Identify the common threads and adjust your plans to cater to those needs. However, don’t stop there. Dig a little deeper and identify the audience your competitors are targeting.
Although you might not want to target the same market as they are, what you learn might identify a niche that has yet to be served.
Betamax vs. VHS
Those who can recall the late 1970s might remember the marketing battle between Sony’s Betamax and JVC’s VHS. Each company spent years, and probably more money than they are willing to admit, fighting for market share.
As I am sure you are aware, VHS eventually won out. However, it’s important to note that JVC’s victory wasn’t the result of a superior product — but rather a superior marketing scheme.
JVC understood the importance of directing their marketing efforts at a specific audience. Understanding who they were marketing to gave their strategy the upper hand. It was more cost-effective, efficient and effective. It is as simple as that.
To that end, your goal should be the same as JVC’s: to understand your audience. Your product or service should be one of the first places you look.
It will provide insight into which demographic is more inclined to pick up on your marketing efforts. I recommend identifying the features your product has become synonymous with, and supplementing each feature with the benefits it provides.
Who has a need you can help meet?
Once you have identified said benefits, try to determine which demographic has a need that can be fulfilled by your benefits.
As the great management consultant, educator and author Peter Drucker once said, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
Remember, it’s catering to the needs of your specific market that will give you the upper hand.
Read part 2: “How to design your marketing plan.”