With businesses everywhere scrambling to maintain their customer base, some basics can occasionally be forgotten amidst panic and uncertainty. So let’s get back to basics.
Some studies estimate that the typical American is subjected to more than 30,000 marketing hits a year, or more than 80 hits a day. Depending on where one lives, that estimate could be much higher. With that kind of clutter, how can businesses make their message heard? By asking yourself a few simple questions about your business.
1. Are we passionate about our product or service? Without the real belief and passion that your product is superior, how can you convince others that it is? Your passion and commitment—or the lack thereof—will come through, and your customers will notice.
2. Are we consistent with marketing and promotions? Successful marketing requires consistency. Fresh, memorable advertising; newsletters that run like clockwork; regular direct marketing and follow-up. Do these things haphazardly at your peril.
3. Do we have a clear benefit? Marketing 101, but sometimes this basic idea is forgotten. You have to sell something your customers want. Find out what they want through research. Should your company introduce a new product or service:
- Because it’s easy to make?
- To use up old inventory?
- Because your customers want it?
The best answer should be clear.
4. Are we communicating our benefits? Getting excited about your product’s latest super-cool features often overshadows the most important thing: telling the customer why those features are so cool. Why do those features matter?
5. What is our position in the market? Unless you invent a unique new paradigm for products and services, your market is already crowded with competitors. How does your company compare? Don’t tug on Superman’s cape, and don’t face off against your biggest competitor on its own turf. Find your niche, and exploit it shamelessly. If your competitor is selling the same benefits for half the price, you’re still doomed.
6. How many more marketing techniques can we employ? Creative marketing strategies are limited only by the imagination. Basics such as the Yellow Pages, print, pay-per-click ads, direct mail, etc. are all designed to put you in front of your customer’s eyes and make a sale. Going beyond the basics, however, can be effective and lucrative. How many other strategies can you conceive? Social media, viral marketing, other new technologies bring new possible avenues to spread your message.
7. Do our marketing materials make the most powerful possible appeal? Cheap, cobbled-together marketing materials are the kiss of death. Everything you put in customers’ hands—brochure, direct mail package, web site—says volumes about your company. Strong visuals and clean, compelling copy are worth the cost.