As a business owner you’ve likely had plenty of those “wake up in the middle of the night” anxiety attacks. With all of the “hats” you have to wear, it’s no doubt that antacids or possibly even scotch can be found in the medicine cabinet. There you are, tossing and turning, trying to figure out how to generate more revenue, or worse, simply keep the lights on at your business. There’s probably only one other thing more
frustrating and that’s trying to figure out how your competitor(s) is doing so well. Arghhhhh!
So now you end up asking yourself, “why does so-in-so do well while I continue to struggle?”. Or, “what does he/she know that I don’t?”. You’re not alone out there! Struggling to gain or keep market share is everyone’s problem, especially those companies that started out on the basis of a great idea but lacked a great plan. I have seen it all to often where a business will launch themselves into the market off the momentum of a great idea only to discover that without a plan, that idea is only as good as the napkin it was sketched on. It’s the old, “if I build it they will come” mentality. Unfortunately, this approach has lead many high potential businesses down the path of extinction.
Like any successful endeavor, planning should be at the forefront, and planning requires homework! To help you think about the type of homework you may need to apply, I have listed a few ideas which may shed a little light into your bedroom at 3am.
1. There’s No Common Recipe For Success
Each business has it’s own DNA. One should not assume that by implementing a common set of marketing functions that a deluge of sales will follow. Building demand for one company and it’s unique audience/target market is not the same for all. Even a company that provides a similar product/services as your own can demonstrate differentiation. Know your audience and how to reach them. Once you reach them, be certain you are telling them something they want to hear!
2. Marketing Means Planning
Marketing is a discipline, requiring research, planning and deployment specifically suited for an individual company. Many people think that advertising is marketing when in fact, it is actually a component of a marketing plan, as is Branding, development of a value proposition, image, product positioning, etc.
In order for one to develop an effective marketing plan, they should begin with their business plan. It is key to align your marketing plan around the objectives set forth in the business plan, specifically with the short and long term goals. With this approach, you will ultimately develop a marketing blueprint – basically a roadmap called an integrated marketing plan. It’s not an easy task, but the rewards can be bountiful.
- You are here
- Your Objective
- Where you are and where you would like to be
Discovering the most direct route improves:
3. Getting Your Message Out
Once you have developed an integrated marketing plan, you will have multiple opportunities within that plan to “get your message out”. This is soooo important to get right. It’s like the old adage, “measure twice, cut once”. When you take your business outbound through marketing, make absolutely sure:
- Your message is believable
- Your content is factual
- You accentuate your strengths and value
- You are prepared to respond to doubts.
4. Sanity Check & Review
- Is your marketing plan in direct correlation to your business objectives? Does marketing support your goals?
- Who is your ideal target audience? What are your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities associated with engaging and doing business with this audience?
- How do you want to be perceived in the marketplace? How do you create and sustain that perception?
- Are you effective in articulating your message and value in a consistent manner throughout your marketing activities, eg. collateral materials, web and promotions?
- Does your website function as as a sales tool, generating interest and leads, or is it merely a repository for displaying your company information?
- Are your marketing choices based on research, budget or blind faith? Are you getting an effective return on your investment?
In closing, I’d like to mention that Insty-Prints Marketing Services is a single source Marketing agency. Our team of professionals can help you not only develop or renew a marketing plan, but provide the tools and capabilities in rolling that plan out to your market place. If you would like a brief orientation to our capabilities, I would be happy to sit down with you at your convenience.