Fact: Having a solid marketing strategy is your “first-class ticket” to sustained business success. More than anything else, a Master Marketing Strategy is what distinguishes the most successful businesses – in terms of growth, revenues, profits, brand awareness, and staying power.
Why? Because very, very few businesses have a marketing strategy AT ALL, let alone know what one is or how to use it.
No Marketing Strategy = No Real “Sustainable” Success
YOU can gain a competitive advantage. But only if you are astute enough to take advantage and start the process of immediately engineering your own marketing strategy.
But before we get started, I’d like to give you one simple idea which I remind my colleagues of, but sometimes even they don’t understand the simplicity of it –
“In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.”
In other words, if you have a solid, proven marketing strategy (or even a mediocre or average one), and implement it – Compared to everyone else, you will massively dominate your market.
Your Strategic Marketing Success Starts Here…
Before you start on anything related to implementing a marketing programme, you need to know two critically important facts:
- Who your target audience is
- What your target audience wants, needs and desires
In marketing, there are three major components to success. 1. There’s the list/database/audience of defined prospects. 2. There’s the offer you are making to them. 3. And there’s the marketing message – or copywriting shall we say.
Everything else is secondary.
Do you understand your target market?
If you don’t know your target audience, then you cannot effectively market to them. Because if you do not understand exactly what they want, you aren’t able to communicate benefits in terms they understand and respond to.
The first and primary thing that any business owner must know is their target audience. They must be clear. They must be precise.
If you don’t get this right, nothing else matters! However, many companies may argue their sales have been temporarily boosted by launching a new product or service – without ever truly identifying their target audience. Their success will always be vulnerable and fleeting.
You risk losing your clients to your competitors because they understand them better than you do. Or – your product or service will become obsolete because you didn’t know what they wanted in the first place. Or -you’ll make the wrong technical innovations, or remain static, when you should have improved your product from their perspective.
Again, clearly knowing your target audience is the first ingredient in creating your marketing strategy.
Step 1: Market Research
Conducting market research will help shape the future success of your company. Amongst other things, it will help you understand more about your customers, how you are perceived in the marketplace and any areas for improvement.
But who should you speak to? There are three main groups of customers that hold the information you need to move your company forward. 1) Existing customers. 2) Lapsed customers. 3) And business not realized.
Each of these groups is equally important. And applying their answers and insights to everything you do will remove the guesswork entirely from your marketing.
Case Study: FedEx
Before conducting market research, FedEx was selling OK, but very ineffectively. They were particularly interested in reducing the time and money wasted whilst seeking new business.
Market research helped FedEx determine that the secretary or PA was the person who made the decision whether to mail the important letter or send the letter with an overnight shipping company that costs thirty times the postage. So secretaries / PAs needed to become the target audience.
Then they made their business case by testing themselves against their main competitor, Airborne. In this test, they came out only a couple percent better than Airborne. But based upon this test, FedEx was able to demonstrate to the world that they were the company to use.
So from then on, they successfully marketed to the secretary/PA that if he/she wanted reliable overnight shipping, then FedEx was the solution.
So to recap: Step 1 in engineering your Master Marketing Strategy is:
1) Know who your target audience is and where they are
2) Know what your target audience wants, needs and desires
N.B. Creating your own Customer Avatar can be a really helpful process to force you to think about your ideal prospects, clearly and thoroughly. Here’s a quick set of questions to help you come up with your best Customer Avatar:
Start with the basics – what is their…
Profession / Job title:
Now probe deeper:
- What they are secretly saying to themselves, and what’s on their mind?
- How are they feeling? What is bugging them or frustrating their progress?
- What are their dreams and desires; what do they aspire to?
- What public figures do they like or dislike?
- What conversations are they having around their kitchen table?
- What do they read?
- Which social media channels they hang out on?
- How do they relax?
- How do they make their decisions?
Explain exactly HOW your product or service solves the problems they are facing:
What is the process your service delivery follows, or the way that your product is used or operates:
OK, in my next post, I’ll tell you how to create and test your ‘market hypothesis’ i.e. your offer, and then test it in the court of last resort!