Strategy before tactics.

Any marketing effort will certainly fail if the business owner is consumed with figuring out the right tools or obsessing over the latest fads without first identifying the strategy first.

So before you can answer “how can I use Facebook to make money” or “should I use direct mail to reach my audience” – you must identify the strategy.  The 3 key areas of your strategy include:

  1. THE WHO – clearly identify your ideal client, drill down until you can detail the purchasing behaviors of this target market and learn everything you can about this “people group” that you can not only know their demographics (income, race, gender, geography, etc.) but understand the psychographics as well (their needs, pains, frustrations and fears; also includes their values, personalities, attitudes and interests).
  2. THE DIFFERENCE – simply ask yourself, “how is the product/service that I offer any different than my competitors?”  Forbid yourself from claiming “better customer service” and never, ever claim to have “better prices” unless you intend on getting in a bidding war with $5 off coupons driving from the competitors driving you out of business!  Differentiate by being the ONLY one in town to provide a brand of product or be the ONLY ____(dentist, school, doctor, realtor, etc)______ in town with a service guarantee like that.  Differentiate on values – appealing to your “WHO” (see #1) by performing your services in a way that resonates with the values of your target market.  Different on the customer experience – excite your customer’s senses (sight, sound, etc…) in a way that they will tell others about the experience!
  3. THE SYSTEM – now that you know WHO you are reaching and what SETS YOU APART from your competitors, you are ready to start developing a systematic approach to lead generation and converting those leads into loyal ambassadors!  Once your strategy is in place, you can freely explore the possibilities of every marketing tactic and determine whether it is a right fit – this strategy gives you a new lens by which you can make marketing decisions.  The system will also give you the confidence to examine the entire customer experience – determining where the gaps are and exploring creative ways to developing customers who repeat and refer!

Marketing is all about getting people with a specific need to know, like and trust you (that’s a cool marketing definition by John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing!)  When that happens, and as your customers try and buy from you, you are well on your way to creating customers who REPEAT and REFER – these are your very best loyal ambassadors!

– Randy

ACTION STEP: Watch this complimentary video archive of John Jantsch’s webinar on the “7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success.