Your Strategic Marketing Success Starts With Two Key Steps…
(Illustrated by Four Case Studies)
Before you start implementing your marketing programme, you need to know two critically important facts:
1) Who your target audience is
2) What your target audience wants, needs and desires
I sometimes refer to a fellow marketer who raises an interesting question:
If you and I were going to compete in the restaurant business, all other
things equal, what would be the ONE SINGLE ADVANTAGE you would
want in your restaurant?
When he asks this question to his students, they respond with… A great location… A great bartender… The best chicken recipe…
What’s the advantage he would want? He would want… A STARVING CROWD!
Do you get it?
That stated, the only way you can determine who that starving crowd is— is to know those prospects:
1) Know who they are, and where they are
2) Know what they want, need and desire
Stated differently, in marketing, there are three major components to success.
1) There’s the “list” 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.
If you don’t know your target audience and you don’t know what they want, then you cannot effectively market to them. Because if you don’t understand what they want, you aren’t able to articulate the 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 one down, nothing else matters!
Now, many companies have been temporarily boosted by launching a new product or service— without ever identifying their target audience. Unfortunately, their success will always be fleeting.
Because you won’t be as effective as you could be. Your competitors will soon be at your doorstep, taking away your clients 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.
Start By Doing Your Upfront Research
What you need to do first is make some general assumptions of who your ideal target audience is. Then go out and talk, interview or survey people and see what they really do, and what they really need/want. And between those two things, you can establish your “draft” marketing target and working marketing strategy.
You may ask “How do I do that?”. You can identify the group that you want through targeting. You can look at any number of attributes. You can look at 10% of the clients that give you 90% of the sales… Or you can look at the people who use your products the most… Or you can look at your competitors and the clients they bring in their doors. The possibilities are really infinite.
Case Study #1: The Copier Salesman
For instance, when one client was working for a copier company, he was selling successfully, but very ineffectively. If you are selling copiers and you try to sell to every business, you can waste a lot of time and effort.
And that’s what he was doing.
He wasn’t targeting the highest and best users. He was targeting everyone equally. So what I had him do was to get the statistics on who the best target audience was. This happened to be legal companies as well as other similar industries. And then once he found that out, he then found out what they needed and wanted in their copier programme.
Using this information, he was able to tailor his presentations to these markets
effectively. Because they, as groups, have specific needs. They don’t care too much about the cost of the paper or the machine, as much as they care about the machine’s reliability.
As a part of his research in the legal field, my client discovered THE two critical issues:
1) If you have a client that’s sitting in your office waiting for their documents to be copied, your client would be very irritated if you aren’t able to make those
copies. If you have to tell them the machine is broken, they may never use your
services again because they think you’re an idiot.
2) In the legal field, document copying is an important profit center. So the paper or copy machine’s hard costs are factored into the client service fee.
So all other things being equal, the main thing to the legal profession is machine reliability and the quality of the maintenance program. If you’ll selling copiers to legal firms, you want to frame your copier’s benefits in that specific way for the best chance to sell them.
My client’s overall strategy was to: a) Identify the best prospects, b) Determine what their needs were, and c) Then target those people with specific ustomised marketing implementation program.
He was able to develop targeted scripts… He was able to develop insightful letters… He was able to locate legal firms using directries… And most importantly— he was able to generate about four times as much revenue in about 70% of the normal time.
That’s an example of creating a marketing strategy that works. That’s doesn’t seem very sophisticated, but if you can get four times the revenues with 70% of the effort, being sophisticated isn’t necessarily the outcome you are going for, is it?
Case Study #2: FedEx
FedEx determined during their surveys that the secretary was the person who made the decision whether to post the letter, or send the letter with an overnight shipping company that costs thirty times the postage. So the secretaries were the target audience.
Then they made their business case by having a national test where they were tested against the other overnight company, called 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 marketed to the secretary that if he/she wanted to be right, 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
Next, you Need to Establish a Hypothesis…
What you have to do next is to establish a hypothesis, just as in science. Your hypothesis says you make an assumption and then you go out and find out what’s really happening. There’s a lot of ways to do this. Here’s an example.
Case Study #3: Domino’s Pizza
Domino’s Pizza had a very unusual experience before they became a major player and they developed their own Master Marketing Strategy.
What Tom Monahan did for two years was survey their target audience of real customers using questionnaires. Their pizza business was so dismal that Tom’s brother/partner actually left the business. Tom discovered that what his customers really wanted was Pizza delivered to them— fast.
Previously, you had big name players like Pizza Hut who had big storefronts and very pricey locations, with lots of employees and lots of overhead. If you, as a customer, wanted to get the pizza, you had to call in to pick it up, or you had to go eat it there. That obviously was very time consuming for the individual customers.
But what Tom realized from the people that had filled out surveys, was what they really wanted was to have home delivery. That was the basic assumption. He checked it out and found it was true.
When he realized that was the case, he knew that you don’t need a fancy location and all that overhead. All you really need are an oven, a phone, and hole in the wall location. That’s all you need. So then his marketing strategy was not to try to sell to everyone, it was only to sell to the people who wanted their pizza delivered fast, hot and fresh— in 30 minutes or less.
He was able to eliminate this tremendous overhead and expense and sell the same pizza at the very same price— which was almost all profit. (You may not know this, but there is very little expense in a pizza. Dough, tomato sauce, and some toppings. So it isn’t a real expensive creation.)
And also because they were able to lease a “hole in the wall” locations with just an oven and phone, they could expand as fast as they wanted to. The company became very profitable, very quickly. They created lots of millionaires in the process because there was so little overhead and such an intense profit.
The actual marketing strategy they used was to move into a location then to blanket advertise to the people in a certain mile radius. They were able to leapfrog anywhere they wanted to go and put in their pizza outlets. They soon became the largest pizza delivery company in a matter of just a few years.
That’s a prime example of a master strategy with an integrated implementation strategy.
But if they hadn’t had the right Master Marketing Strategy that they got from their customers, they wouldn’t have known that. Again, what Tom did has he had customers fill out questionnaires. Once he read the questionnaires, then he had to put together a hypothesis. That hypothesis was that they didn’t need to come in and sit down to eat pizza. They just wanted the pizza delivered to their house. And he was proven right.
You can do the same kind thing:
1) Know who your target audience is and where they are
2) Know your target audience’s wants, needs, and desires
3) Establish a hypothesis on what you want to do
4) Go ahead and implement it to see if it works
That’s the way you develop Master Marketing Strategies and the associated
command/field marketing strategies.
If you don’t know your target audience, you are driving blind. You might as well be driving down a major freeway with your windshield blacked out. You may have a good result or you may not. But the odds aren’t very good that you will.
Case Study #4: Accounting Practice Brokerage
Here’s another example: I worked with a man who brokered the sale of accounting and income tax practices.
He came to me to help him with what he was doing really well already. I said, “Why don’t we develop a letter as a test?” It was a very powerful letter (actually two letters) and we sent that letter out to all the accounting, tax and CPA companies in California. We offered to BUY income tax preparation companies. We then sent a different letter offering to SELL income tax preparation companies, BUT eliminated those that previously responded yes to the first offer. Then we just matched the two groups together.
It was a matter of creating an efficient marketplace and allowing the most effective process to take place. This is what I call my “two-way valve” strategy. We did this simple test and it worked like gangbusters. Rather than being haphazard, we did the whole thing all at one time— Year after year.
So the hypothesis was that rather than to chase practices individually, we solicited them all at one time, both buying and selling. He made millions of dollars using this very simple master strategy.
OK, next time I’ll give you FOUR more interesting case studies so that you can create your own Marketing Strategy success story!